This Christmas, like many men across the globe, I received some new razor blades in my stocking. These are always a welcome gift because I generally prefer to use a blade over my electric razor. My razor of choice has 5 blades. I’ve been using this kind for the past 18 months or so. Before that I used a blade by the same company that had only 4 blades. At the time this was the latest and greatest. But when the 5 blade variation came out I gave it a shot and liked the performance. It seemed (possibly due to my preconceived expectations?) that it provided a closer shave. So when I received a 4 blade disposable razor for Christmas my first thought was:
Man! A four blade razor…who uses that? That type of blade is 3 years old! Shouldn’t they just stop selling these and come out with a 6 or 7 blade razor?
Well thankfully rational thought quickly took over and I found that the blade worked just fine. In fact, there was no significant performance drop-off from my preferred 5 blade razor. This experience gave me a chance to make a parallel thought on training (because of course we all think of training theory when the topics of razor blades comes up). I had expected that less blades was going to mean lesser performance. And by extension that more blades was going to be better. The reality is that there’s always a middle ground in practically everything (food, training, sleep, etc) that is best for performance, health, well being, and of course, shaving. And it’s more likely a range rather than some exact figure.
As I experienced there wasn’t much difference between 4 blades and 5. This is the ‘just right’ zone. On the rare occasions I’ve had to use an el cheapo 2 blade disposable I can always tell the difference. This is the ‘too little’ zone. But what if Gillette came out with a 20 blade razor? Clearly that would be a case of overkill and you probably couldn’t even use the thing. That’s the ‘too much’ zone. Often times we lose sight of the fact that there are optimal volumes, intensities, densities, etc for training. There’s an expectation that more will always mean more. In reality, it’s just as easy to do too much as it is to do too little…8 x 30m with 3 minutes rest is a great acceleration session and for most athletes would fall in to the ‘just right’ zone. But attempting 15 x 30m at the same intensity is likely way too much and has the potential to push the athlete in to an acute overtrained state. If you’re anything like me, make sure you temper your expectations with the reality of getting things ‘just right’ rather than falling in to the ‘can’t have too much of a good thing’ mentality.