Sport has long recognised ‘Muri’ – wasted effort through overburdening people, equipment or systems. An unrelenting schedule of high-intensity training is counter-productive. Eustress, the beneficial stress of additional effort that leads to improved performance, is more than offset by injury and exhaustion, or distress. Athletes burn out, physically and mentally.
The answer they’ve found is simple: build in short periods of recovery between longer periods of intensity. That doesn’t mean the athletes do nothing, simply that they are training at a lower level that prevents distress. These short recovery periods allow bodies and minds to recover, but are not long enough to allow a slide back to the previous performance level.
The result is a series of systematic, and predictable step-wise improvements in performance, that can be planned to coincide with major targets, such as a local, national or international competition, or the Olympics.
It seems to me that businesses could learn a lot from this approach.