Being Strong Helps… A Lot!

I am writing this entry with a huge grin on my face, as I am truly proud of our athletes! The progress made, as indicated by all the personal records this week couldn’t make me more proud. Numbers don’t lie. Our athletes’ consistency and dedication as started to bare fruit!

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This was a tough stretch of strength focused training! However, everyone who saw it all the way through, reaped the benefits in some not obvious areas. Why is getting stronger awesome? Here’s a handful of reasons:

1- The Obvious: Being strong is just plain awesome! There is probably no greater satisfaction than being able to press, pull, squat, clean, snatch more than ever before. No one ever said, “I need to scale back. I’m getting too strong.”

2 – Motor Unit Recruitment: Most of our athletes are making huge gains and not necessarily having to drop major coin on a new wardrobe. This let’s me know that the adaptations occurring are at the neuromuscular level. They are increasing their ability to awaken and utilize as many muscle fibers as possible as FAST as possible to accomplish these newfound feats of strength. In addition, the order in which these fibers are activated is becoming more and more efficient.

3 – Movement Quality: For many, a major hurdle to be overcome was simply range of motion. Especially with regards to Olympic lifting, coordination and stabilization were key factors that needed to be worked out. Keeping the load over your center of gravity, while sitting back in your hips, while keeping your elbows high can be a daunting task for the novice lifter. However, though lots of repetition, you run out of ways to mess things up over time. Our athletes have been afforded the TIME to develop the proper movement patterns that increase range of motion, makes movements as efficient as possible!

4 – Increased Capacity: Now that you’re stronger, you’re  able do more at a submaximal level! 30 Clean & Jerks for time at 135 pounds isn’t as bad when your max goes up from 185 to 225. Now you have the ability to kick your own ass that much faster! As your strength increases, so does your ceiling. Assuming that you’re still conditioning, when strength goes up, so does performance at submaximal intensities. When speed is introduced to the equation, this is where power is developed and the stronger athlete will typically move lighter loads faster than the competition who is bumping up against their 1 rep max.

5 – Confidence: There is nothing more boosting than walking in on test day, CRUSHING AN OLD PERSONAL RECORD, and walking out with a sense of accomplishment. Heads are high! You put in the grind. You suffered alongside everyone else. Now you get to reap the benefits. I love it when I hear our athletes say something like, “I’ve never done that before.” And then they DO IT!

6 – Motivation: Above all else, this is the most important on the list. As you progress as athletes, its these milestones that keep you going. You may not see progress in our physical-selves day to day or necessarily feel like we are getting better daily. That’s perfectly normal, especially since you tend to be your own worst critic. The proof is in the pudding as they say. You put in the work, and you crushed it when it came time to test. Now it’s time to see how much further you can go. You have documented proof that the process is effective. There is no doubt that it works. What’s next? Where do we go from here? What new challenge can I set my sites on?

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – TRUST THE PROCESS – HAVE FAITH IN YOUR COACHES  – RAISE YOUR STANDARD

Copyright © 2014 Next Level Performance and Fitness Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Training and Mt Everest

 

Training is a lot like climbing Mt Everest. The process can be long, and you spend way more time below the summit than you actually do at the peak. But you’ve reached the summit, none of that other stuff matters.

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For those of you not familiar with my analogy, when you look at the way you train and your expectations of setting Personal Records and accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself, there a few factors that come into play that get you where you want to go. Just like when tackling the highest mountain in the world, first and foremost, you must continually put one foot in front of the other and BE CONSISTENT in your efforts.

Secondly, as you ascent towards the summit, you’ll spend a bit of time in the beginning acclimatizing at base camp. This is where you establish your FOUNDATION OF FUNDAMENTALS and give your body a taste of what you’re about to put it through. Now you are consciously conscious of where you are and how much further you have to go, as well as an idea how much work its going to take to get there.

Once you’ve been accustomed to the lack of oxygen and the extra effort required to accomplish things that were simple at sea level, now set off on your trek. At this stage of the game, you’ve exposed yourself to all the things wrong with movement patterns and started consciously working on the little nuances of IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY of these movements. Right about now, is where you’ll start attempting max lifts and recording workouts for time and volume so you have a GAUGE OF YOUR PROGRESS along the way.

Are ready for the biggest kick in the nuts? After making all that progress up to “Stage 1”, you get make your way back down to Base Camp. Then you’ll head back up to “Stage 1” for a bit before you press on to “Stage 2”. Then, guess what? Once you get there you get to come back down to “Stage 1”. And so the process goes, until you get the peak, look down at the trail you’ve blazed and get your first look at the world you left behind on your way to the glory of accomplishment. The same principle of ADAPTATION AND ACCOMMODATION applies to your training. As you improve and achieve benchmarks, you’ll scale your intensity (volume, duration, loads, speed, etc…) to let your body and nervous system adjust to their newfound capacity for work and output. After a while, even though the challenge hasn’t disappeared, you’ll become consistent in your performance and you will need to up the intensity to stimulate improvement.

However, let’s not forget good old mother nature. You need to be prepared for the occasional gust of wind, or storm, or worst case an avalanche and have the patience to weather through it on the way up the mountain. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Blah blah blah! Life doesn’t work like that. SHIT HAPPENS. We get sick, we have kids, we get injured, we move and switch gyms. The variables are endless. Whatever yours are, hopefully you’ve experienced enough gratification in your progress to this point, that when life temporarily gets in the way, it won’t completely derail you. If nothing else, it will just force you to alter your course a bit. You sprain your ankle, well Olympic lifting and most things ballistic are out, so take that time and be productive! Become really efficient with your gymnastics, or more solid with you squats. Then once you’ve healed, you’ve weathered the storm, pick up where you left off and keep going! At the end of the day, ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU CONTINUE TO MOVE FORWARD.

Before you know it, after all the bad weather, the setbacks, the inherent ups and downs of the climb, now you’re at top. You spent so much time looking up at your goal along the way, turn around and witness the journey that you just finished. Take pride in the struggle. No one ever made it to the top of the mountain and said it wasn’t worth it. Enjoy the view, you’ve earned it! You were CONSISTENT. You were PATIENT. You were SMART. You HAD A PLAN. You BUSTED YOUR ASS! This is your reward! Enjoy the view, you EARNED IT!

Copyright © 2014 Next Level Performance and Fitness Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.