What Is A Minimum Effective Dose?

What does the term, ‘Minimum Effective Dose’ mean? A minimum effective dose is the smallest required dose to get to a desired outcome. For example going to the gym. When getting into the gym or setting out your fitness plan there are a few big questions that you need to ask yourself. The key ones are:

Where Do I Want To End Up?

The biggest mistake we make with Where Do I Want To End Up? is not quantifying where we end up and aiming to “just lose some weight”, “tone up” or “get as strong as possible.”

When we don’t quantify where we want to end up it either leads to lack of motivation or for us to be insatiable. Below are a few goals/benchmarks that have been quantified to help get you started:

  • To be able to squat 80kg for 5 reps
  • Run 5km in under 25 mins
  • Lose 5kg in the next 3 months
  • These are all outcome goals. An outcome goal refers to an end point, or benchmark, where you know you have reached your goal. Once reached, you can celebrate your win and reassess where you want to be next.

How Am I Going To Get There?

The question “How Am I Going To Get There?” leaves a lot of us with unattainable plans where we may have started out being a little bit too keen. That’s where minimum effective dose comes in.

When going to the gym, if you are looking to get stronger, a common program is training each group of muscles once per week over 4-5 days. This process is not only time consuming but leads to major second day soreness. When it comes to strength, the key exercises are usually done first with each exercise following usually considered to be less difficult. A leg day would usually start with a squat/ deadlift and end with a leg extension. An upper body day would consist of a press and perhaps end with an arm exercise.

If you used a whole body program not only will you be able to get your exercises done quicker you will also be able to hit the big exercises more often(frequency is king). Plus you would only have to train 2-3x per week to see the benefits, 3 ideally. I know what I’d rather be doing.

How Can I Use This To Get The Most Out Of Myself?

Using the minimum effective dose will not only save you time while getting a significant improvement in your health, it will also help to set out a process to ensure you are on track to hit your benchmarks. A great way to help to stay on track is to set Process Goals. Process goals are smaller goals that ensure you can reach your big goals and involve a process rather than an outcome. Use these ideas below to help you out:

Outcome Goals:

  • To be able to squat 80kg for 5 reps
  • Run 5km in under 25 mins
  • Lose 5kg in the next 3 months

Process Goals:

  • Go to the gym for 45 mins 3 times per week
  • To stretch for 10 mins prior to lifting weights each time in the gym.

So there you have it. Keep your outcome goals specific and attainable and use process goals to help keep you on track towards your ideal fitness and health level.

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