Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.
–Dr. Steve Maraboli
Whether your journey is strength, athletics, weight loss, rehab, or general health; we all have one thing in common and that is that there is very little (if any) immediate reward in your hard work. Think of it as the classic “rat hits the button and gets a food pellet” experiment, which would be an immediate reward system. Your reward system is more of a “hit the button…then hit it again… then keep hitting the button…then when your just about done you hit it one last time and finally get that food pellet and it starts all over again.”
You cannot start this journey with the mindset that it will be easy or that it will be fast. It is the accumulation of time and training sessions (not just a session here or there) that produce the small steps toward your goal. It is the combination of your warm-up, selective training program, cool-down, nutrition and mobility plan that keep you on a steady pace in the right direction with no plateaus. If you are weak in one or more of these areas, it can tend to add up over time and result in lower performance or injury.
Even a small leak can sink a boat
From the moment you step foot in the gym, your entire focus needs to be there. While I am a big fan of caffeine (hence having our own coffee blend) and agree that it can do a lot for attention and focus, if you are not mentally in the game, it does not matter how much caffeine you intake, you are going to have a very mediocre training session.
The idea of a great warm-up routine is to get you both physically and mentally prepared in order to maximize gain during your training session. This means that just relaxed foam rolling is not going to cut it (this is borderline mindless and does very little to get your CNS on fire). Things like: Lunges, Inch Worms, empty bar or PVC pipe work, jump rope, rower, bike, etc.. These are the things, in combo with you favorite pre-workout beverage of choice, that will lead to a very awake and alert athlete who is ready to crush PR’s on the daily!
The video below is a short video demoing some our preferred warm-up methods:
You can have a hand full of aces, but if you don’t know how to play it, you’ll still lose the match. A proper training program is key to continued growth and success. Have you plateaued for months on end? Is everyone in the gym doing the exact same program? (Each individual athlete has strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed, so a “one-size fits all program” never works). Do you have a constant, reoccurring injury, and just don’t understand why it keeps coming back? All of these issues can be addressed by proper programming.
All too often, individuals tend to incorporate preconceived ideas of cardio and strength into their program because they think that is the only way to get it in, but you have to make sure and train for your sport. Would you run 3 miles for cardio if you wanted to be the best power athlete in the world? Probably not. Instead, cardio would better consist of sled sprints, lunges, farmer carries, etc..
Basically you need to make sure:
- Your program is keeping you progressing without pain and injury
- Your program is specific to your goals
- Your program improves your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths
- Your program is appropriately designed with linear and undulating periodization (essentially make sure there is a rhyme to your reason).
If all of these things check out, then keep doing what you are doing. If you read that and think “I am not sure”, shoot us an email and we can talk.
Cool-down, nutrition, and mobility
In my opinion and experience, this is where people tend to have that small leak that leads to a Titanic-sized sink. I have said it before, but I will say it again:
YOU HAVE TO MOBILIZE AND EAT RIGHT
The unfortunate truth is that you don’t just get to do the things you enjoy (lift, run, swim, bike, wrestle, etc..). You have to spend time outside your structured program to do things such as meal prep, yoga or mobility, recovery, etc..
This can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes post workout. The time spent here is a great way to help increase Range of Motion in areas that need it in order to better perform in our sport of choice. Below is a little video we whipped up to showcase how simple a cool-down can be (don’t mind the unhappy dog barking in the background, he is not a fan of the outdoors):
Bottom line: Fuel for performance, not for fun.
I don’t mean for you to develop a negative relationship with food, nor do I mean for you to tell yourself you cannot have certain items. What I mean to say, is that with programming macros, you are able to eat anything you desire as long as it fits into your daily plan. In my mind, this is the most efficient way of developing proper nutrition and eating habits and can result in a very positive, life long process!
As far as gaining or losing weight, the basics are this simple:
To lose weight you must have a negative calorie balance and to gain you must have the opposite (positive energy balance). This is the basis that all macro programs are based on. After that, it comes down to:
- Training sessions per week
- Off, light, and heavy training days
- Food timing
- Whole foods vs. supplementation
Remember, diet challenges and one-size-fits all nutrition WILL NOT work, as every person is different, and needs minor tweeks to make major changes in body composition. If you have any questions on nutritional programming or need advice on a place to start, send an email our way and we can get you started!
This one is simple, but is one of the most overlooked. Follow a couple of simple steps for recovery, and I can guarantee you will see an improvement in your training.
- Sleep well and sleep often
- Make sure you are allowing yourself enough sleep. The more intense your training session is, the more recovery you will need in order to perform the next day!
- As I said above, make sure and fuel for your performance. Let go of the preconceived notions that less food equals more weight loss and start thinking about eating enough food to fuel your body and your performance!
- Mobility, salt soaks, and massage
- The more you dive into the world of elite level training, the more recovery you will need. You will have to start soaking multiple times a week in order to alleviate aches and pains you accumulate over the week.
- Mobility MUST be done every single day. You have to make time to put your joints through full ranges of motion and alleviate tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
- When your own therapy just is not cutting it, go find a professional that can really get in there. Deep tissue massages are a great way to help trigger point areas that might be impeding your performance!
Don’t let a small leak sink your boat, make sure and do everything you can to keep your performance constantly improving. If you need help with any of the points above, make sure and contact us and we can get you set up or point your in the right direction!