With a physical practice, really, there are two main things that we need to get right:
1. How we train (strength, mobility, sets, reps, frequency... etc)
2. How we recover (everything else in life... adaption!)
We've written about recovery strategies, nutrition etc in the past and also about training strategies.
However, here we cover a few key points to remember with your training to make sure you are getting the results that you want!
Here are a few tips that we've found helpful:
- Find the "pro." Look, they don't need to be an actual professional (although it helps), but they need to be good and have expereince. They need to have shown up strongly in the area you want to improve in. They may or may not be "qualified" in the usual channels. This might be your coach, another member at the gym, a friend. Someone who you can get somewhat close to.
- Look for the "context." Yes find out about the "program," but also look at their recovery strategies and nutrition
- Avoid "super-sympathetic" - this is when ALL of your training sessions have hyped up music, you need to go all out and go until exhaustion. You wake up with anxiety about the workout. There are some circuit classes just like this. In simple terms, if you had found the pro above, you'd see they don't do this. The nervous system can't recover well from these types of repeated efforts. Repeated exposure will cause anxiety, stagnation, injury and plateaus. We are looking for the long term game here.
- Eat to win. A lot of people are skipping meals, especially before training in the morning. This is a case of "just because you can do it, doesn't mean it is optimal in the long term." For the long game, we want to down-regulate the nervous system quickly and recover. Food helps. More food often helps more.
- Use caffeine. If it works for you, use it. Caffeine is well known to help training (and event) performance. Just please, eat first.
- Calculate your effort and adjust accordingly. Ask the coach: "So what should this feel like? How hard should this feel?" Do they expect an all out effort? Or should you be more reserved. Use your top end effort sparingly.
- Find out how to get better behind the scenes. Mobility work or recovery walks for example, will help you when it comes to hitting it hard again in training.
While showing up is the most important thing, there are a lot of other factors that can help you excel.
Have something else that has worked for you? Let us know what it is!