3 Ways to Make 2018 Your Best Training Year
1. TAKE YOUR WARM-UP SERIOUSLY
The warm-up sets the tone of your workout. This is the time where you leave any distractions at the door and transition into your objectives for the day. A properly structured warm-up should increase body temperature, demand mental focus, and prime movement patterns that will be visited later in the workout. Too often, warm-ups look like AMRAPs of texting, foam-rolling, and unwarranted hamstring stretching.
Not feeling comfortable in the bottom of a squat? Let’s find a way to comfortably spend time there. Not “feeling” your hamstrings in an RDL or deadlift? The warm-up is DEFINITELY a good time to address this. Working in heels all day? Get your shoes off and dance. Give your feet what they are craving. Whatever you need to work on, let’s dedicate 10 minutes of deliberate practice while also priming our body for the day’s work.
Manipulating tempo, or adding pauses at certain positions during foundational movements such as the squat, hinge, press, or hollow body can also be helpful in refining patterns that need practice. Speed often masks weakness, so instead of rushing through your next set of goblet squats or band walks, try slowing down and becoming conscious of your foot gripping the ground, or how your hip effects your ankle position. Addressing these subtleties over the course of the year is how you make long-term significant change in your movement and performance. For example, consider the following scenario:
10 minutes of deliberate movement x 4 days/week = 40 minutes/week
40 minutes of deliberate movement x 52 weeks = 2,080 minutes/year of refining specific movements/addressing weaknesses/ being CONSCIOUS and feeling your body.
That’s 35 hours of better understanding how your body operates. 35 hours of refining movement. 35 hours of making the conscious decision to FEEL your body instead of being numb to your external environment. 35 hours of improvement.
If you feel you need to be directed into a more individualized warm-up, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to discuss your program.
2. HAVE CLEARLY DEFINED GOALS
Training should maximize all areas of your life. If your actions and behaviors in the gym do not carry over and supplement your professional work, relationships, hobbies, or ability to handle life’s stressors, I think you may be missing the true value of training. If your actions and behaviors in the gym are leaving you in physical pain, or leaving you with unnecessary stress, it’s time to re-evaluate your training goals. It’s VERY easy to get lost in the excitement of joining a gym without remembering what led you to join in the first place.
Understanding WHY you train will direct your actions and ultimately serve as the guiding light when establishing personal goals. Without a clearly defined WHY, this process will be daunting. I challenge you to take five minutes and revisit the moment that you decided to join CrossFit Love. I also challenge you to WRITE your answer to the following question:
“Why do you train?”
Once you have done this, set three physical goals for yourself. Whether it’s weight loss, a back-squat PR that you plan on reaching, or nailing your first strict pull-up, GET IT DOWN ON PAPER. Hang it on your fridge, desk, bathroom mirror, or wherever else that you deem appropriate.
There will never be an “end” to your training, only a shift in why. Whatever you do, be present, and enjoy every moment.
3. WORK HARD, RECOVER HARDER
One Hour. Most of us dedicate one hour of our day to fitness. A lot can happen in that one hour. We can introduce a stimulus that demands our body to grow stronger in efforts to adapt to the stressors placed upon it. With appropriate programming, we can manipulate our body into a state that demands the heart and lungs to become more efficient in their ability to transport oxygen and eliminate CO2. The adaptations that occur from training are the things that keep us coming back for more (fat loss, new PRs, increased endurance). While the workout initiates the adaptation process, the other 23 hours of the day will ultimately play a vital role in whether our body responds positively to the work that was done.
So how do we ensure that we’re making positive adaptations? The answer is simple, but not always easy.
- Sleep: Adequate sleep is one of the most important things that we can do to help guide recovery. While 6-8 hours is a great goal, quality of sleep should also be considered. A few tips for quality sleep include limiting screen time up to an hour before bed, using an app like f.lux to ease eye-strain while working on the computer, setting your bedroom temperature to a cool temperature, and eliminating all light from your bedroom.
- Nutrition: I’ve always been skeptical of any “diet” that’s too extreme. The most successful plan is the one that allows you to be consistent and happy. Nutrition or dieting should not be synonymous with hating yourself. In it’s simplest terms, your nutrition should support your training goals. If you’re on a mission to lose fifty pounds this year, and have never heard of a macro before, let’s touch base! If you’re looking to put fifty pounds on your back squat this year, lets make sure your nutrition plan reflects that. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds while putting 50 pounds on your back squat, lets DEFINITELY touch base! Our LoveHealth team is ready to help. Having a target number of protein, carbohydrates, and fat based on your height, weight, daily activity, goals, and other various factors is crucial in guiding your recovery. (P.S. Food is your friend. Carbs are not the enemy.)
- Stress Management: Unfortunately, your body has a tough time differentiating the stress from work, from the physical stress created during your workout. Adapting stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, writing, or other mindfulness techniques can be a great way to start forming healthier habits, influence positive behavior change, increase quality of sleep, and help in imagery for performance.
Effort is assumed during your one hour of exercise.
What does your effort look like during the other 23 hours of the day?