#422 How To Work Out Less And Get Fitter, The Secrets of Sustainable Fitness, What We Can All Learn From The World’s Best Athletes & Understanding The Stress Load of Exercise with Professor Stephen Seiler

Whether your fitness goal is completing an Ironman race, jogging a 5K, or simply tackling the stairs without getting out of breath, today’s guest has some surprising news on how you can get there quicker, by putting in less – yes, less – effort.


World-renowned sports scientist Professor Stephen Seiler joins us all the way from Norway, where he’s a professor in Sports Science at the University of Agder. Stephen specialises in studying elite-level sports performance. He’s spent years taking a 360-degree look at how top cyclists, rowers, cross-country skiers, orienteers, and distance runners, perform at such a high level without getting sick or injured.


As well as 100 peer reviewed publications, he regularly shares his findings on his YouTube channel and his X (formerly known as Twitter) feed. And, as his research cascades down to people like you and me, it’s becoming increasingly clear that what’s tried and tested in the elite, is equally if not more meaningful for us.


During this conversation, you’ll learn the 80:20 rule that Stephen has observed to be the most effective for performance and health. He explains why hard workouts are a stressor on the body, putting us in fight-or-flight mode – so they’ll increase your risk of burnout if the rest of your life is stressful too.


There are various ways to measure intensity, including lab-based tests. But Stephen explains his simple traffic light method – green, yellow and red – and what it feels like to be in each zone. He also explains his model of frequency, duration and intensity as a way of scaling your fitness up or down, whatever your starting point.


There are all sorts of health, wellbeing, metabolic and performance benefits to be had from staying in the green zone more. It’s something I’m discovering for myself over the past few years and I’ve got to say that I’m feeling fantastic as a result. I absolutely love Stephen’s work and I really hope this fascinating conversation helps get the message out that you can achieve a lot more by doing a little less. 

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