The Point of Diminishing Returns

The Point of Diminishing Returns

Earlier today I exchanged e-mails with a highly motivated young man who has one of the finest natural physiques I’ve ever seen. I had already answered a few of his questions, but then he asked: “John, a lot of people who train go through phases where they are bulking or cutting and so on. Is this necessary? Is it necessary to train separate qualities, such as strength, speed, and power, in different months and for long periods or can they be developed together at the same time? And if so, what is the best way to do it?

Here is how I answered this question. I grew up following the advice of my grandfather, uncles, and Charles Atlas. I was taught that all of the qualities mentioned cab be developed simultaneously through Charles Atlas's methods, which are the basis of my own Transformetrics Training System, with the exception that I have expanded upon them and included other exercises such as pull-ups, DVR, Isometrics, and so forth. Which brings up another point. The many methods that are taught and promoted nowadays as the latest and greatest and most revolutionary in strength and fitness are oftentimes not new at all, but are only new in that they have been renamed. King Solomon was right: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

There is, however, one other thing I need to mention to you. I believe there is an ideal body weight for every person that is perfectly matched to their own bone structure and somatotype. I believe there is a point at which they will have achieved their own best balance of all-around strength, speed, flexibility, balance, coordination, endurance, and physical aesthetic appeal. This, in my opinion, is the point of diminishing returns. Once the individual has achieved a level where his or her strength-to-body-weight ratio has been maximized, where their endurance is off the charts, and their body has a beautiful, Greek god/goddess type of development, that is the point at which they can back off somewhat and maintain super strength and fitness for life.

In fact, at that point a person can work extremely hard to gain extra muscle mass, but in terms of true all-around strength, fitness, and aesthetic development, they may actually be going backward.

So then the question becomes: How does one know when they have reached that point of development—the point of diminishing returns? The answer is by daily documentation through the use of a strength and fitness journal. Believe me, by doing so you will literally see specific patterns develop, and you will come to know what exercises and methods, how much fuel, and how much rest work best for you. Anyway, it’s something worthy of your consideration before adding additional muscle mass to your already outstanding development.

—John Peterson

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