Last week I was catching up with a good friend from my pro soccer days. In the past year she has moved cross country and in the past month relocated again to a new city. While reminiscing and catching up she informed me that she’s been struggling to keep a consistent training program since retirement and asked how I’ve continued to train post-soccer.
Whether you’re a current active athlete, a retired wash-upped athlete like myself, returning from injury, or haven’t seen a pair of weights since 2010 it can and will be challenging to maintain consistency in your training. To help my friend and to share some tips that have worked for me, here are four ways you can create the support and foundation you will need to stay consistent, focused and have fun.
Some questions to ponder while you read through this post: What are you training for these days? Are you enjoying your training? Are you getting the results you set out to achieve?
Find A Community
We all need direction, support, and accountability and that’s exactly what a community (ie. training environment) provides.
I can’t tell you how many people have become thriving and active members at Ambitious after years of struggling to make it on their own. Training with like-minded individuals makes training more fun and provides support that ultimately leads to the results you’re after.
Find a place that provides a supportive structure where you can thrive – not everyone will have the same goals but training in an environment where you feel welcome and can make progress is key.
Don’t have a gym that provides this type of support near you? Hire a coach or create a community within your network of friends, or buddy up with a friend who is also in search of accountably and is goal oriented – the both of you that will help keep each other on track and help one another obtain the results you’re looking for.
Train For Performance
Obviously I’m a little biased when it comes to this because I have been training for performance my entire life. However, I am a big believer that everyone should train like an athlete whether or not you’ve ever stepped foot on a field or court in your life. Our bodies are meant to squat, hinge, push, pull and move explosively – so why not train that way? If you’ve been slaving away on a spin bike or using the same weight for as long as you can remember – now is the time to find your inner athlete. Bottom line – get moving.
And when I speak about performance goals, I’m not talking about making a run at Rio 2016. I’m talking about things like increase your total amount of push-ups by 5, or your pull-ups by 3, or increase the weight of your kettlebell swing, or goblet squat, or deadlift by ten pounds, or shave of a few seconds from your sprint workout. Choose something that you know you can achieve if you were to put in 15-35 minutes of work at per day.
Which leads us in to, goals.
Have A Goal
Ask yourself – Does my training have a purpose? There’s a difference between “working out” and “training”. Working out means going to the gym without a plan. Training is about having a goal and a purpose behind that goal. It gives your training meaning. Plus, it’s more fun to have something you’re working towards than mindlessly jumping around from work out to work out.
This goes hand in hand with the community you’re in. Being in an environment with like-minded individuals helps to create new goals. Just the other day we had a client chat with us about reassessing her goals. Now that she has been a part of the Ambitious community for one month she has gone from wanting to “work out” to “I want to get stronger and move better.” While it’s our job as a coach to help her get more specific with that goal – it is the community and training environment that has her feeling more confident to take on said challenges. Write it down, tell a friend – make it real.
Enjoy The Process
I know some people will role their eyes at this one – yeah, yeah, yeah – everyone says to enjoy the process. As mentioned above we help our members set goals for themselves, help to inspire them to be the best version of themselves inside and outside of the gym. Unfortunately, as much as we all wished it was, the path to success isn’t linear. Injuries happen, goals change, and circumstances create roadblocks, but that doesn’t mean you give up or stop working towards your goal. No, you alter your daily/weekly habits to attain the goal that works for you now.
For example, one of our members was at the dog park and got tripped up by another dog. She dislocated her shoulder and wound up with an “out of commission” arm for nearly four months. This didn’t stop her – while there were many exercises she couldn’t perform there were also many that she could. While her situation was less than ideal she realized what is most important is her training and setting smaller milestones to get her back to her injured-free training abilities.
Another member had a very specific body composition goal. She had been dialed in with her nutrition and training and while she had made significant progress; the timeliness of the progress has taken longer than she anticipated. Rather than getting upset and throwing all of her hard work out the door, she enjoyed getting to know her body and how it reacts to certain foods and what is most sustainable for the life she wants to live. The goal is still the goal; she learned to enjoy the process to achieve the results she was ultimately looking for.
You may or may not be able to relate to the above examples per their situation, but I’m sure you’ve encountered roadblocks of some sort. Begin acknowledging roadblocks as learning blocks that you can build upon.
Plus, it’s not like life stops when you reach your goals so you might as well be having fun doing it. On your way to that goal you will learn more about yourself which will further entice other goals. What is the point of training if you aren’t enjoying it…so you can eat dessert at the end of a meal? Hmm, that kind of goal only lasts as long as the taste.
What goals are you shooting for? What’s holding you back from achieving them, if anything? And how can I help?
Want to lift with Lori this summer? Ambitious Athletics is planning a seminar in August – be on the look out for more details.