Athletes have this amazing way of making very advanced physical movements look effortless. Whether you are watching an Olympic weight lifter, professional boxer or trained dancer they all make the practice of their crafts look like something anyone could do, they make it look easy. And that is the idea with athletics. One must master an intricate skill set to the point where they go on autopilot and perform flawlessly and effortlessly.
It’s normal for all of us to watch athletes and dream to do what they do. We may even choose to embark on an exercise program that is based on a particular sport we enjoy watching. You know…get a little taste of being an athlete in training camp. This is all great, but there is a bit of a problem with this pursuit if we aren’t careful.
Well maybe it’s more than a small problem…lol. First, most of us aren’t professional athletes. We don’t have the time to be. We have jobs, school, families, kids and other obligations. We don’t have the resources and team of professionals needed to keep us healthy and strong as we beat our bodies into submission. Second, we haven’t put in the YEARS of practice these specimens have. We only see the end product not the countless hours of monotonous skill work they log year after year.
So what is my point? My point is we need to get real when it comes to our exercise/training programs. We are training for wellness, health, and enjoyment. Athletes are training for championships and money. It’s their only responsibility; it’s their job!
As a coach, I often see people doing 2 things: 1) overtraining, 2) jumping ahead. People believe they need to train at the frequency and volume of an athlete and don’t realize this is not good for them. People forget they haven’t yet earned the right to be at the skill level of the advanced athlete.
My goal today is to get you to see the purpose of earning things, the importance of not jumping ahead. There are no shortcuts to success, your goals or any achievement. You must log the hours and put in work. Rarely do we truly see what people would call an over night success (in sport or career). It’s all about time, focused effort and repetition.
You don’t just get to learn the left hook because you want to. If your jab and cross aren’t up to par, you must first master those. You don’t get to go deadlift 200lbs, you must first conquer the bar and every weight in-between that and your goal. You have to earn it. You have to log your practice hours. And just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. You have to build up gradually. You have to work for each bit of progress. It’s that idea of you get out of it what you put into it. Keep your expectations in check. Professional athletes practice for a living, you don’t. Your gains, progress, development might be slow and that is okay when you understand why.
You must figure out what you are committed to, how much time you can realistically devote to it and your current abilities. Once you understand those three things you can embark on an exercise/sport training program with realistic goals and a realistic time frame. Yes I encourage my students/clients to train like athletes, meaning stay focused, committed, determined, give your full effort and focus on performance because that IS what we can take from our idolized athletes. I want my Knockouts to realize the importance of earning more weight on that bar or that new skill in boxing. With that comes a sense of accomplishment and pride that is priceless. In my opinion we’d benefit more if we trained like athletes mentally vs. physically. And at the end of the day isn’t that what sports are really about, learning something about yourself?!
Check out this awesome article on why we shouldn’t physically try to train like an athlete!