By Leo Shveyd, Co-Owner of Advanced Wellness
Your season just ended. You might be happy with how it went. Or, you might not be. The number one reason that most athletes come to train with us at Advanced Wellness is because they are not satisfied with their current levels of performance. In fact, they aspire to take a substantial step forward through their offseason training and want to produce serious performance results!
SET THE RIGHT GOALS
One important part of achieving success in any area of your life is setting the right performance expectations and specific goals. When it comes to athletic training, these goals need to be progressive, to not only be customized to each athlete’s individual history, fitness levels and sport but also, importantly, to evolve over time.
CHANGE YOUR WORKOUT
With new and improved goals in sight, most athletes are able to then quickly focus on applying new techniques for the upcoming season with the result – getting BETTER! But new goals by themselves won’t do much if you do the same old workout (bench and curl) to try to achieve them. Doing the same thing you have always done for your workout is likely to produce the same results that you have achieved in the past. So, what should you do instead?
A CASE EXAMPLE: FOOTBALL POST-SEASON WORKOUT
It’s December, so football season is drawing to a close. Let’s consider what a football player might consider doing in the off season. First, take two weeks off. Don’t do anything…except work on breathing and gentle movement (hike, walk, ride your bike, swim, yoga, etc.) Sports, school, life, etc. are stressful. The season wears you down. Going into an intense training program immediately after the season, may sound like a good idea to you, but you will achieve greater gains later if you rest your body initially.
Breathing is not only a gentle way to begin working on your aerobic foundation it can be done with minimal stress levels to your joints and body. Breathing muscles typically need to be trained independent of conditioning work, as they tire later (as they are made for endurance and keeping you alive). Therefore, doing some accessory breath work has many benefits, one of them being bringing up the “strength” levels of muscles that typically need to be strengthened in most athletes. (More on breathing coming soon in another blog post.)
ANALYZE AND EVALUATE
Up next: analyze your seasonal performance. What went well? Where do you need to improve? Improving is easier if you have a clear roadmap to get there. Much of getting BETTER is about learning new skills as well as maintaining the skills you already own. In my experience, turning your weaknesses into strengths is what elicits the most impactful and timely positive changes.
Here is how to do it:
The Advanced Wellness Approach to Workout Success
Collaborate; get with your coach, parent, or someone you trust. You don’t own a monopoly on good ideas. Ask for input; remember a hand-up is NOT a hand-out; so, don’t let your pride stand in the way. Identify your weakness(es), create a strategy, execute and measure. Do it with the help of other trusted individuals who will help you, and you will get better, faster results (as opposed to aimlessly searching for the right strategy).
FOCUS MORE TIME ON YOUR WEAKEST SKILLS: LEITNER BOX
In the book Make it Stick (a book on learning theory), Peter C. Brown discusses the Leitner Box, a system of spacing out and allocating the appropriate effort to your practice aimed at improving multiple skills/traits while maintaining current competencies. In short, the Leitner Box identifies the primary skill for improvement. Practice that skill twice as much as your next most important level skill, while practicing tasks that your already own even less frequently. (i.e. 60% of your effort goes to task 1, 30% to task 2 and 10% to maintaining tasks you have achieved a requisite level of competency). Sometimes eliminating a current strategy or changing its dosage will yield better results. Execute the strategy for a period of time (2-4 weeks). Measure it. Am I improving? If so, keep going or progress the current strategy. If not, try a different one.
START – STOP – KEEP LISTS
Once you have completed this entire self-improvement process, ask yourself: what should I stop doing, start doing and keep doing to be even better? Make three (start, stop and keep) lists. Trying a new strategy, eliminating negative inputs and increasing the dosage of things that you already know are working has yielded tremendous successes for many of our clients over the years.
The Advanced Wellness Self Improvement Formula, with the right level of emphasis on your weaknesses may not sound like “bigger, stronger, faster”, but it will lead to these traits if you have a solid strategy around execution. And if you successfully turned a weakness into a strength, identify a new opportunity to focus on. If your strategy didn’t elicit the gains you had hoped for, just re-evaluate your strategy or try a new one. Don’t stop. The answer is out there. It is your job to find it.
To you and BETTER!