The D.I. Factor

The next time you are engaging in an activity, think about it’s D.I. Factor: a measure of discipline and intensity. For my purposes, I define the two components in the following way:

Discipline is a measure of how often you do it and how meticulous you are about paying attention to the details.

Intensity is a measure of how hard you are working as well as how much effort you are compressing into a short period of time.

Most athletes spend a great deal of time engaging in activities that have a very low D.I. Factor. Some examples of this may include:

  • An occasional, easy 20 minute jog when you feel like lacing up your shoes and when the weather is nice
  • Doing the same aerobics class that claims to “get your heart rate up”, but never gets harder
  • Hitting the weights and taking lots of time between sets to catch your breath and check out the attractive members of the opposite sex
  • Most activities involving the Weekend Warrior
Whether or not you are training for a competitive team or improving your own personal best, there is no sense in “putting in time” when it comes to effort. There are 60 minutes in every hour for both the hard working and the not-so-hard working athlete. I encourage my teams and athletes to cram as much effort and hard work into the shortest time possible. For them, an hour of some of my designed workouts equals about a week of exercise for most people.
Any exercise can have a high D.I. factor, but you must ask yourself some tough questions:
  1. How often am I doing it?
  2. How long am I doing it each time?
  3. How hard am I working per minute based on my maximum capacity?
  4. How much time am I spending resting during the workout?
  5. Is it part of a program plan that is laid out over a long period of time?
  6. Do I have the proper amount of recovery time, so I can go as hard as possible next time?
  7. Have I mastered this activity and need to find a new challenge?
Someone who runs at a nice easy pace for 20 minutes every now and then can up the D.I. factor by making it part of a multi-week training program for a race. They would add sprints, fartleks, hill runs and other activities. They would monitor their heart rate and make sure they are exercising at the right intensity. They would work on improving their technique, so that every step makes them faster. And, they would measure their performance to make sure they are constantly improving.
Examples of high D.I. Factor activities:
  • Sprint training with your rest time equal to how long it takes to walk back to the start line
  • Circuit training with little to no rest between machines
  • Supersets, dropsets or escalating density training with weights
  • Plyometrics
  • Power/olympic style lifting (squat, deadlift, cleans, etc.)
  • Military style obstacle courses
All of the above activities will only work if you commit them to a schedule that is set in stone for you. If you have limitations on how many days a week you can train, then you need to up the intensity per session. Sorry, there are no shortcuts to this.
I know your hours are valuable. Most of us do not have time to waste. So, make sure you do the most with it. Turn the volume up to 11.