October 6, 2014

Are You Scoring a Training Own Goal?

Written by:
Marc Keys

Health and fitness is full of numbers and targets.  By my wedding in 12 months I want to lose 14 lbs in weight, in 4 weeks I want to put 20 kg on my bench press so I can finally press 140 kg and join the 3 wheel club.  Everyone has aspirations that they are striving for but few people know the way to achieve those goals or targets.               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8nTfxwByY Saying you want to achieve something is a good start.  It is great to have a destination in mind but if you're fixated on the end product it can quite often be all too easy to just go through the motions. When your target is looming, you can end up wondering where it all went wrong and why after spending so much time in the gym or in work you haven’t reached your goal.

To be extrinsically motivated to only desire the outcome of the task is one of the most sure fire ways to either end up disillusioned with what you are doing or to become bored and fall by the wayside.  If you are not captivated in the processes and methods that will lead to your goal or end destination, your chances of success are much less.

To say you want to become more flexible so you can reach a good bottom position in a snatch is one thing, but to spend upwards of 6 hours a week foam rolling and stretching to reach that goal is quite another.  The person who becomes interested in the methods of stretching and flexibility who starts to study and understand the reasons these training methods work and how they are best applied, the person who gets caught up in the process of stretching as a topic is much more likely to get to the end goal of being flexible enough to hit the bottom of a snatch.

Understanding the process...

While chasing after a goal you never really get a chance to truly understand what you are doing or get to know it inside out.  If you are instilled in the journey instead of being fixated on the destination you will begin to understand why you are doing things the way you are.  Why certain things work better than others if you become process based instead of objective based you will understand the nuts and bolts of what is happening and when things go awry you will be in a much better place to rectify them.

If you are the sort of person who just programmes jumps trying to get the results you need then you will never understand why reps and sets are set the way they are, why you are lifting at 75% this week and 80% the next.  If you don’t take the time to dedicate yourself to one approach then you will never appreciate how it works so when things stop working you will be lost looking for the next programme to jump into.

Engaging with the process

Once you have undertaken a path or laid out a plan for the future, the difference between engaging in a process and going through the motions to reach your end goal are night in day both in their results and presentation.  Someone who is engaging with the process will not just come in and perform the workout they will make sure they are giving the programme the best chance of success.

Someone who is engaging in the process will constantly be keeping in check their

  • Mobility and flexibility
  • Sleep and nutrition
  • Technique
  • Make sure they have all the equipment they need
  • Seek out a conducive environment for performance
  • Engage in extras that can help to utilise their time

Someone who is going through the motions will show up to the gym and perform their workout and leave.  The same is true in work as it is in the gym. If you are the sort of person who comes to your job with the intention of doing the minimum amount of work not to get fired, you are not engaging in the process.  If you are solely there with the goal of receiving a pay check every month then you are severely limiting yourself and ultimately your reward.  If you are at work because you love it and want to be the best you can at it, your rewards will be much larger both financially and in satisfaction.

Utilitarian approach to the problem

You want to get stronger or leaner, what are the important things that you need to take care of when you are striving towards your goal?

Always ask two things:

  • Is the activity I am currently engaging in moving me closer towards my goal?
  • Can I do the activity I am currently engaging in a better and more efficient manner?

If you are constantly being critical of your own thinking and behaviours you will find that the things that remain in your repertoire are useful and when they are refined they become powerful.  Distilling down the fundamentals of a process or problem are how you become truly proficient, and if you are truly proficient then you will never have to worry about achieving your goals because you will far surpass them.

Written by Marc Keys of Cast Iron Strength Marc is a full time strength and conditioning coach based in Edinburgh Scotland. Working in the field for 6 years he has accrued a wealth of experience working with professional & international rugby and cricket teams, Elite athletes from over 20 sports including Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic medallists.Marc also spends his spare time working with non-elite and recreational athletes trying to help them improve as optimally as possible. He keeps a blog and website www.castironstrength.com where he is trying to develop a strength and power training education tool and community for athletes and coaches.Marc offers his services to anyone who has programming or training based problems he can be emailed via the following address speedpowerperformance@gmail.com with any queries.

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