This is becoming somewhat of a regular thing isn’t it? Diving in:
1. Coaching real people (not theoretical ones). The adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is 100% true. And not just about what’s going on in their personal lives (Did you win your game last night? How is your mom? That kind of thing.) but what’s happening during their training session. For example, do they feel the deadlift in their lower back or in their glutes? It can look perfect, but unless I ask, I have NO IDEA if they’re feeling it in the right places and using the right muscles. Or, we have a handful of pretty tough athletes and unless I specifically ask about problem joints (shoulder, knee etc) they won’t tell me if an exercise hurts. I know this can be labeled as “they’re own fault” but I understand their mentality of not showing weakness and they won’t unless you ask. Thankfully, I’m a Jedi and can tell when they’re lying.
But still, the point is, I’ve learned I need to continually check in with clients to a) make sure they’re using the right muscles and are pain-free and b) demonstrate that I care about them and their individual needs as a trainee.
2. Sleep dramatically effects one’s ability to handle stress. There’s a bunch of articles out there about the importance of sleep. (just google it, I’m too lazy to find links for you. Sorry. It’s Friday.) For almost three years now, I’ve struggled with getting enough sleep both quality and quantity. Without boring you with details, the problem started as a quantity issue, I just wasn’t able to sleep enough (no, I was staying up to play on facebook. I had to get up at 4AM for my job). Then, once I started working at SAPT, thank goodness, my quantity increased but the quality took a nose dive (for various reasons). Through most of this time period, I just powered through my workouts (’cause that’s what I do. Nothing stands in the way of my workout, not even me).
Stubbornly and stupidly I trained hard. I never connected the dots between the stress of my life (workouts, work and poor sleep) with the reciprocal recovery aspect (sleep, which I wasn’t getting) and I was continually beat down, all. The. Time. Finally, about a year ago I made the “aha” connection and started to taper my workouts to fit my sleep. I had to scale back, much to my annoyance, but I was able to cope with my daily stress much more effectively. Currently, I’m slowly increasing the intensity of my workouts again, acutely aware of my sleep the night before. Bad night, less intense workout. Good night, intense workout. Key point of this rather long story is: don’t be an idiot; listen to your body. If you’re dead tired, it’s ok to have an easier workout.
3. Along those same lines, my pride gets the better of me sometimes (read: all the time). In my head, this is what I look like:
And I expect to be able to train like someone who looks like that. In reality, I’m 5′ 1″, and about 115 pounds. My body can’t train as if I’m the Hulk. I used to lift really heavy things at a high volume, because I have ICD syndrome (I Can Do It). That’s how I injured my back and hips. My pride pushed me to push the prowler with as much weight as I could handle for as many trips as my legs would allow… and wound up with stress fractures in both feet (I have tiny feet). I refused to accept that my muscles (and my stubbornness) are stronger than my frame can handle. There are many other examples of injuries I’ve sustained because I don’t want to admit that I can’t do it. Took about 4 years, but I finally realized that I can still pick up heavy things, I just need to remember that I have limits. Which leads me to point number…
4. I love picking up heavy things. But that gets hindered when I don’t listen to my body and push it to the point of injury. With a lot of help from my awesome husband, I can tell my pride to shut up and I’m able to train intelligently now. I can still be the Hulk, I’m just a little Hulk.
Does anyone else struggle with this? The feeling like you ALWAYS have to go all out, every workout? It’s a lie. Take it from me, training hard doesn’t mean laying on the floor gasping for air after pummeling yourself with 100 burpees… Train smart, leave one in the tank and walk out of the gym feeling better than when you walked in. You’ll get stronger much faster than you think.
5. Last one, I promise, that people read this site. Seriously, I’m so humbled that people actually read what I say (despite the copious Harry Potter, Star Wars and LOTR references). Thank you to all who continue to come back and support SGW!!! I truly appreciate it! Let me know if there’s anything you specifically want to know in the comment section.
Thank you for reading my musings! Have a great weekend everyone!