A few thoughts on training.
By Paul Britt
1. Are the actions you are taking making you better?
Why are you training? What is your goal? If your goal is to lose weight, be stronger, play better, is it working? If it is not, you must re-evaluate your training and see what is keeping you from reaching your goal. Are you injured? Are you tired or sick? If so how did it occur and how do you change it? Why do something that does not make a positive difference in your life? You exercise for a reason; it could be improved performance, fat loss or even as a stress relief.
Do not just go through it on autopilot; keep the goal the goal. Keep the goal in the forefront of your thoughts. You must have your goals and visions in your daily operating system so that it is always there. This will allow you to adjust your plan because when you are doing something that does not fit, you know it. If what you are doing doesn’t make you better and move towards your goal there is no real point in doing it. If you know what you are striving for, everything should lead you to that goal.
You need to take a look at your plan, evaluate where you are and ask yourself if it is working. If not, don’t despair, just look for alternatives in diet and exercise. No plan, pill or tool is going to be the magic answer. Try something, evaluate it and repeat until you find what puts you a step closer to your goals. Remember that “Better is better.” A tiny improvement is an improvement and it is a start.
2. Do not train in pain.
This is just a faster way to the Dark Side! The only outcome that you can expect when you train in pain is injury, compensation and failure to reach your goals. Unless you are peaking for a specific purpose, i.e. Olympic Gold Medal, do not go here. What benefit will be gained from injury? If there is pain, stay away from what causes it, see your doctor. Stop training until released by your medical professional.
3. Have Fun!
I push myself pretty hard all of the time. But I always have fun with it. If you are not happy when training, you are missing all of the benefits. If you are not happy or having fun, it is “just another thing I have to do.” It should be a positive experience that you look forward to. I try to make my training fun and enjoyable. If it is something you dread you will not get any real benefit from your time and effort. It should be time away from work and stress. Live in the moment and do not think on the stress from the day/life for an hour.
4. Take a break.
It is okay to take a break. You can push fairly hard for 4-5 weeks before your body says “Enough”. Put your plan together so that you have time to relax and recover. You need to schedule down time every 3-4 weeks in your training cycle or you will break. The down time can be just a change in activity, hiking instead of running, playing at the park instead of being in a gym, change is good and speeds up recovery. It also takes the drudgery out of training.
Breaks are good for you, even if you do not think they will help you reach your goals. You cannot drive a Ferrari at 190mph all day, every day without some wear and tear. You have to pull into the pit and take a few minutes/days to recover before hitting the road again.
5. Training does not have to be your life.
Exercise should be something that makes you feel better, move better and be stronger. It should not be something you dread, causes pain or injury. If it does any of those things, evaluate what you are doing and make sure it is in alignment with your goals. Spend the minimum amount of time needed to make the changes to reach your goals.
Paul Britt is owner and Chief Trainer at Britts Training Systems in Rockwall.