TN50 #58, Revisiting the Minimum Effective Dose, 07 Feb 2022

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #58.  As I titled this entry, I realized that some of you may not be familiar or at least need a refresher on the definition of Minimum Effective Dose (MED).  I first came across the idea from Tim Ferriss in The 4 Hour Body and his definition is simply, “the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome (‘this is also known as the minimum effective load’)”.  As you embark on any improvement program, especially around improving how you Eat, Sleep, Move and Think, keeping the MEN principle in mind is important.  I know a lot of people who didn’t follow the MED principle when they decided to get back into working out.  They cranked it up at a CrossFit gym or Orange Theory on day 1 and then spent a week not being able to move.  Now you laugh, and so do I, because we have all done it ourselves at some point in the past, right?  Another example might be my method of improving my understanding and implementation of Stoicism. I am not reading the unabridged classics, I am reading The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday.  It’s a tiny bit sized nugget of stoic wisdom daily and I am going through the book for the second time now.

So at this point you should have a basic understanding of the MED principle and you can probably think of many times when you used MED principle even though you didn’t know someone had taken the time to name the concept MED.

Now let’s flip the switch, can you think of a few situations where you may not want MED to be the standard?  Here’s a few from the FS Blog:

Consider a bridge used to take vehicles from one side of a river to another. The maximum anticipated load is 100 tons. So, in theory, it would be over-engineering to make sure it can withstand 101 tons.

Another example, think about the person that wants to make a sports team. Do they want to do barely enough work, so they are 0.01 percent better than the other person to make the team? No of course not.

Do you want a Dr. performing surgery on you that did the bare minimum to pass tests in medical school?”

All of those make sense, right?  I don’t want the doctor who applied the MED principle to their studies operating on my wife or kids.

Ok, Last thing, check out this picture, some of you may remember this, it’s CrossFit’s Definition of Fitness #2.

As you look at it, please think about the last couple years of COVID-19.  Now, where do you want to top out on the scale? If applying MED to your personal performance is getting you to “Wellness” is that where you want to be?  That’s like the bridge example to me, no thanks!  I want to be over on the “Fitness” side of the continuum, when I get covid, or trip in the yard or get blindsided by my 13-and-9-year-old boys at the same time.

So what’s it going to be? MED to “Wellness” or MED to get things started with ever increasing dose rates on the way to “Fitness”

As always, please share your thoughts and share this with your team or anyone who might find it useful.

Have a good one, Alex

2022 Murph Count: 32

PS. In the military we used the MED principle in training and we called it, Crawl, Walk, Run.  My drill sergeant didn’t hand me a loaded M16 and tell me to go figure it out, he made me do Dime and Washer Drills for what seemed like hours of dry firing, this would be the crawl phase, which was followed by years of the Walk phase of weapons training as well.  Eventually I even got to the Run phase