Ahh “optimal”. A big time buzz word used by many in the fitness industry (including by yours truly) because it sounds sexy. Something about “optimizing” yourself just hits different than, let say, “improving” yourself.
But what does that really mean?
A large chunk of fitness influencers will have you believe that it is following this perfect program and lifestyle program to a “T’ (to maximize the gainz of course) because it worked for them and WILL work for you (spoiler: probably will not work for you because you are not them. It might not even have been that optimal for their life either- different conversation for a different day).
But that is not what “optimal” is.
The dictionary has optimal defined as “best or most favorable”. Let’s expand on that a bit.
Optimal is really:
Doing what you can with what you have to remain consistent. AKA getting the “best or most favorable outcome” within the framework of your life.
That is going to look and feel different for everyone.
That said, there are general principles of “optimal” that can be applied broadly.
In the context of training, optimal is going to really look like getting the most out of your time allotted each week, taking into account lifestyle factors. In practice, that is going to look like having a program that fits your life schedule while also allowing room for adjustment based on how “stressed” you are heading into a session (so you can recover and stay consistent). It is doing what you can, with the time and energy you have. The core principle here: have a program tailored to you, your lifestyle, and your goals because that is your optimal. (this is why having a coach is SO important- they make sure you are doing what is optimal for you).
Same sort of context can be applied to the domains of lifestyle and nutrition. Do the things you can, and do not stress about what you are not doing. Doing what you can is in fact optimal for you (no matter what influencers might have you believe).
Yeah, doing the full on thing with macros, 8 hours of consistent sleep, all of the steps in a day, and drinking water is great if you can manage all that. But that is not real life. So if all you can do is make sure you are drinking enough water in a day. GREAT. That is optimal for you. Do not stress about not doing all the other things. Just keep making sure you drink that water, because that is your optimal. You are doing what you can with what you have, allowing you to remain consistent (and hint hint: consistency is the key to long term success).
So the “to long did not read version” of this: optimal is completely person to person dependent. What is optimal for me and my life is not optimal for you and yours. Do what you can with what you have and remain consistent with that. The gainz and accomplished goals will come when you adopt this view of optimal.
Sick of the word “optimal” yet? Yeah me too, so that is that on that. Thank you for taking the time to read. As always please share with a friend if you found value in my words.