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Maximum vs marginal gains - how to smash your training this year

These days everyone is looking for the new wonder diet or magic training technique that will take their training to a new level. And we’ve all heard about the importance of the Team Sky/ Ineos approach to marginal gains and how a 1% improvement has helped them dominate road cycling in recent years.

But before we waste a lot of time and effort researching or trying to implement these strategies, have we made sure that we’ve first implemented the big wins that will give us maximum gains?

First a quick reminder on a key principle of training that underpins everything that follows: You don’t get fitter from training. You get fitter from recovery from training.

When you train you break down your body (e.g. little micro tears in your muscle), when you recover your body rebuilds itself stronger, so it’s more able to withstand the next bought of training you throw at it. If you don’t recover enough, rather than getting fitter, your body breaks down a little bit more, leaving you more vulnerable to illness and injury.

Ok, so now onto some absolute basics that will help you improve your training and recovery and, as a result, your performance.

Click through to read more on each:

Sleep - If I told you that there was a magic pill that would not only improve your training and performance, but also make you feel better, make you more productive at work, probably even improve your relationships, and it is absolutely free, you’d jump at it. The only problem is it takes a bit of discipline to make it work.

Consistency - It's very obvious and not nearly as sexy as new aero kit. Yet mastering it is one of the things that can make the most impact in terms of our training.

Diet - It's the one that everyone wants to talk about. But probably also the one where we get most distracted by searching for magic pills that throw us off track from getting the basics right.

Recovery - the final instalment, and on the face of it, one of the easiest to implement, but often one of the most forgotten. Make time for recovery in your training plan!

You may have let out a little groan when reading these summaries. We usually know they're the right thing to do but they're hard to actually implement. Don't worry, don't try and do everything, just look for small improvements where you can. But more importantly don't let the search for the magic pill send you off track and procrastinate from focusing on the big wins.


Would you rather just get on with the training rather than spending your valuable time looking into these sort things? Why not leave that bit to me? All my coaching plans include regular coaching calls to where I answer your questions and we decide the best course of action for you. Plus access to my client-only resources area with more resources if you want to delve in further.

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