How to get the most out of your training.
You know training is important to anything if you want to get better; you have to practice playing the guitar to get better, you have to study to pass your exams, you have to workout to improve athleticism. There is however, a large difference between “getting the work done” and training with intent. There are certainly times where doing something is better than nothing, although, if you want to take your game to the next level you have to attack most sessions with the intent to get better. Each rep, whether it’s in the gym, on the track, in the pool, or on the field, needs to be completing with the intent of near perfect form. Not every rep’s going be perfect, and you’re allowed to make mistakes but think about it like this – would 10 perfect reps, be better than 100 poor reps? You may of heard the saying ‘practice makes perfect’, well that’s not quite true, instead it should be ‘perfect practice makes perfect’. It may not seem like much on the day, but if you’re doing poor reps every single session, every single week, every single month, over every single year, the results are going to be poor.
Mental vs Physical
Getting the most out of your training requires more mental strength rather than being purely physical. The brain tells the body what to do, if you have the right mentality the physical will come. You need to work towards making this mentaily you default setting. This best way to do this is through habit practice, start small and build your habits towards an automatic ‘beast mode’. Start with consistency, making a simple habit of being consistent, just going to the gym, or going to training on a very regular basis. Once you have mastered this by not missing any sessions you can progress to focus on quality – “I’m not going to just go and train, I’m going to perform my absolute best at every single training session”. This doesn’t necessarily always mean going 100 miles an hour, rather it means that you want to get the absolute most out of each session. Think about a typical gym session, you might 100 total reps, over many exercises. Let’s say you accomplish 80 of those reps with as best form you possibly can, that’s 80% effective. That sounds pretty good, right? Although, there’s still 20 reps that weren’t quite spot on, weren’t quite perfect. For this one session, it doesn’t seem like much, but if you accumulate this over a week that’s 60 reps in a week (3 training sessions/week). If you do that from week to week over a month, that is 240 reps over a month and if you do that over six months, that’s 1,560 reps that aren’t making you better. If you want to get better at this gamify your sessions, look at how many reps you have to do in the session and see how many you can complete with ‘perfect’ form. You can also take this out onto the sporting track, challenge yourself to hit every target, shot, kick, throw or pass.
The good news is that you can train your mind like you train your body through mental skills training. Kobe Bryant was a master of mind training, he had that killer instinct, that idea of going into everything that you do with the intent of dominanting. A simple example of this within the gym, is before every training session look at what exercises you have to complete. For each exercise ask yourself these questions – What am I trying to achieve by doing this exercise? How is this going to help me with my sport? How can I execute this exercises with the best intent? By asking yourself these questions you are flicking the switch and taking responsibility to make the most out of the session. Music is a great addition to help you flick that switch, set up a playlist that gets you into that mindset. Post-session, reflect and critic how you went. How do you think you performed? Did you achieve the objectives you set out to do at the start of the session? What did you do well? What didn’t you do well? How can you get better? What are you going to do in the next session to get better?
Anotherway to get the most out of your training is with a Personal Coach. Elite sporting teams and athletes have coaches, so why shouldn’t you? We all need coaching at some point, beginners typically need coaches to teach them how to perform certain skills, or certain exercises in the gym. Over time, we develop a little bit of autonomy, we learn enough to think we can do it by ourselves. This is the intermediate athlete stage, where you might go out and train by yourself and be success for period of time. Although, if you want to go to the next level, you need a coach. Someone who can guide you through the process, someone that you can rely on to help you when you’re not really feeling it on certain days. If you can come in to the gym, or on the training track, and have someone there that is willing to get you into that mindset and hold you accountable to that mindset, is such a mental relief for you. It’s not as stressful knowing that you have someone that is there to support you. Experienced athletes may not need skill or technique critiquing (when do we every really master a skill though), but a coach can still offer really great value through perspective, knowledge, experience and support. Just knowing that there is someone else there that can help you through your journey and is just as invested in achieve your goals as you are is invaluable.