Why do I need 3x more training than my friend to achieve the same (physical) results?

1% better every day at 11:11am - DailyMax #075

I had a revelation. Or rather, a confirmation. The stars lined up in my mind, and it clicked! So it would have taken me 32 years to understand it. Yes, I started sport at age 3 (with BMX Racing to be precise - picture here). To understand what I am trying to explain to you, it has taken a combination of several things.

First of all, understanding how our body works in terms of energy (calorie IN, calorie OUT). Then to see the proof with my own eyes. My friend's transformation in 6 months is amazing. But the most amazing part is that he spends 4 hours a week on it (max!) and on an 80-90% effort


Sorry, I'm getting angry. But there's a lot to be said for it. Especially when you do 12 to 14 hours of training per week at 100-120% effort… like me !

How can he have the same physical results as me when he trains 3 times less? Or rather, why do I need 3 times more training than him to have the same physique? Let's start by defining what I mean by "the same results".

I'm not talking about physical performance, but about "the physique" (basically the appearance of the body). It’s obvious that he is far from having the same level as me in biking or running, but that is not the point. The point is that he has a perfectly designed body with a small 12% bodyfat.

To allow you to visualize, here is the evolution of my body since the beginning of the year. From left to right :

  • March 2020 > 81kgs / 13% bodyfat
    After the tour of the South Island of New Zealand by bike (1100km in 12 days). Clearly, way too skinny, I hadn't anticipated the calories burned on the bike : 60,000 calories burned in 12 days.

  • June 2020 > 87Kgs / 15,5% bodyfat
    Having no more competition (due to covid), I lost the motivation to continue my ironman preparation. I decided to use the lockdown to "put some muscle back" on my skinny body. A pull-up bar (300/400 repetitions per week) and lots of freeletics (4x / week) for 3 months.

  • July 2020 > 87kgs / 17,5% bodyfat
    Back to Paris, back to aperitifs and good wine. I stopped counting my calories and started eating whatever I wanted. Fortunately, my daily sports practice limited the damage. But still +2% bodyfat in 30 days...

  • September 2020 > 85kgs for 14% bodyfat
    After spending my holidays with my friend (which gave a good slap to my ego's face) and going “hardcore” on the training (12/14 hours per week). That’s the best shape of my life and still I am not yet "at his level".

I imagine that for many of you, you're going to say to yourselves "we don't see any difference in your photos bro". The difference is however important: +3.5% bodyfat in 4 months, then come back to 14% by adding +3kgs of muscle, it's a hell of a yo-yo.

Let's go back to the title of the newsletter. How does my friend manage to have “a sharper body” as me by spending "only" 4 hours training? Because he made two strategic choices.

  1. He only does bodytraining (freeletics), and no endurance sports (like Triathlon for exemple)

  2. Above all, his diet is flawless, on the verge of perfection.

No alcohol (or maybe one beer once a week), no (or little) sugar, no coffee (yes, he's doing it!), regular fasting and a total calorie intake just right. So he doesn't need a lot of sport to maintain his calorie deficit. Let's imagine that his caloric maintenance is at 2500 per day. As he is used to eating light and correctly, it is no problem for him to stay below (and maintain his 12% bodyfat).

I, on the other hand, chose a different track. I have considerably increased my caloric outake (+3900 on average per day in august). But my caloric intake at the same time…

"more sport" = "more hunger" = "more calories" = “more sport” …

This track has an obvious limit. You will not be able to do 20 hours of sport per week. You need day off, etc. You are therefore on a dangerous journey whose efforts to stay at the right pace (in terms of caloric deficit) are considerable.

Over the last 30 days, my maintenance went up to 3500 calories (to meet my energy needs), 1000 calories more than my friend! So I am used to eating a lot and all the time.

Result: in order to stay in calorie deficit I had to burn an average of 4000 calories per day (vs my 3600 daily intake). This gives a big instability on my caloric deficit, as you can see below. Yes, I make variations from +1764 to -1961, a delta of 3725.

In conclusion: Don't bet (only) on increasing your training volume to reach an ambitious goal (such as 12% bodyfat). This is a dangerous path where the slightest mistake can be deadly. Opt instead for an exemplary diet and "body training", all backed up by a good coach. (I can help you on this)

In 5 days, I'm going to do my half Ironman (finally, in Deauville). I will have to strongly readjust my diet because I won't be able to keep the same intake.

Need help to lose weight?

Bonus > Sports addiction: good or bad ?


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We are not many to like this kind of video. Personally, I'm addicted! It gives me chills every time. I often listen to these videos in the morning and at the end of my workouts.


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ONE RACE TO TRY (or not)

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A stunning 16-minute mini-documentary produced by Salomon. It would almost make you want to race...


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