Going to Catholic school, you have some interesting experiences. Like a nun named Sister Romula who tells you, in no uncertain terms, that you have crossed the Rubicon.
Because you’re in 5th grade, you don’t understand what the hell she just said. (And because you’re…not in 5th grade anymore, you feel a little bit bad for just typing the word ‘hell.’) Anyhow, I will save you the history lesson and summarize: you’re past the point of no return; a decision has been made, and there is no turning back. If we want to traffic in Latin names a bit further, this is like saying ‘Yes Regis, that is my final answer.’
Why am I talking about this at 9:15 on a Monday morning? Because when you tell me that you want to improve x, y, or z in the gym, you have crossed the Rubicon my friends. You now have a goal, and you now need to understand certain things about goal-oriented training. Here’s a quick list to get you started, divined from the last 7 years of training with specific outcomes in mind:
- You will benefit from attention to your diet. For broad-based goals, this can be, and often is, pretty simple: eat more protein, less crap (you know what crap is), and drink more water. For specific goals, we drill down further. There is no wiggle room on the topic–it matters, sometimes to an alarming degree. Putting blinders on when it comes to feeding and watering yourself is like driving with the emergency brake on. We are always happy to set up sessions or plans for folks looking to shore up this area–performance nutrition is an absolute game changer.
- You will benefit from having a prehab/rehab provider or, at the very least, a routine. Chasing performance often leads to imbalances. For some reason we don’t want to countenance in a gym what might make perfect sense otherwise: if you sit on your wallet for two years, one hip will be higher than the other and you will need to address that; if you squat, push, pull, and carry with an eye on performance (i.e., some reps won’t be perfect), you will, similarly, build up a movement and recovery debt. Having a bodywork practitioner or mobility and flexibility routine on call is incredibly important here. Again this need rises proportionally–if you are looking to gently nudge your strength and conditioning up over time (I think this is a pretty common goal for our membership), you probably do not need to have a chiropractor on speed dial, but instead would benefit from a gentle stretching routine twice or three times weekly. If you are charging hard, however, you are going to want to find your person and/or routine and make this a priority in your training, logged just as surely as sets and reps are.
- You will benefit from disengagement. My friend and mentor Dave has a great mantra: disengage from the outcome and just do the work. This is simple but hard but incredibly simple: just do the work. If you want to squat 250 or run a six minute mile or whatever, and you are following a cogent, purposive training plan, you are going to have days where that endgame feels ten million miles away. This is life, and this is one of the reasons we are nudging you all away from percentage-based training; 90% will feel like 75% on a perfect day after ten hours of sleep and some high quality protein and frozen fruit in your pre-workout, but 70% will feel like swamp ass on your first day of training after a two-week vacation. Again, this is life and outlying days do not tell you very much about how near or far you may be to your goal. Disengage from the outcome and particularly whatever negative things you believe it is telling you about yourself and just do the work. Over time you will come to understand that you are equal parts athlete and project manager–good GCs with good plans don’t fret when an early frost takes them off the brushes for a day; they head inside and do some plasterwork a day earlier than planned.
There is more, but that’s a good start. Take a look at the list above and figure out which item resonates most, then tackle it! And ask for help if you need it–we are always happy to book a session to get after this stuff.