Friday Nov 27/09

Black Friday. Come on by and pick up something heavy…

4″ riser deadlift

George and Christine performing overhead squats.

“Winner’s Attitude”

by Jeff Edwards

      I want to talk about something that’s not often discussed that has as much impact on the success of your training as nutrition or the programming. Attitude. Often overlooked, or not adequately addressed, attitude is one of the most important tools in your belt. Think about it. How do you approach your training? Do you attack each workout like you would if a gold medal were up for grabs? Do you push yourself past the point the little voice inside your head says “Can’t go any further, gotta stop”?Or do you put in enough effort to get through it, giving about 85%?

     Ultimately the goal of your training is for you to successfully achieve your goals. You know, those goals you set for yourself in your success journal… Alright. Open up the journal and actually right down your goals. Seriously. Ok, moving on. You must have goals to judge success. Success is personal. Not everyone wants a sub 3 minute Fran or a 700lb deadlift. That’s ok. But you can’t have a goal to “get in better shape”. How about improved body composition? Better flexibility? The more specific the better, such as shaving 1 minute off your Baseline time, doing all ten real pull ups, or losing 10lbs. These are goals you can achieve, regardless of how long it takes you can see progress or lack thereof.

     Now, we’ve got goals. Great! What do you do now? ATTACK THEM! Figure out what it will take to reach these goals. Fancy that, here’s the universal answer! Nutrition, training, rest, and attitude. That’s it. Well lets assume you’ve got the first three down by now. Your diet is impeccable (reread paleo information and go grocery shopping!),you train at least 3 days a week, and sleep 8 hours uninterrupted. Great! Now we gotta hit that third part. Attitude. Alright, egos aside for this one…

     When I talk about attitude I’m not thinking of whether you show up everyday smiling (though that does make life a lot more fun:). I’m talking about the mental aspect of training. I’m going to break it up into little chunks. Attitude is persistence, effort, and ambition. Can it really be that simple? Yup.  was cheating, I had the answer already.

     Persistence. Training is hard, at least effective training is hard. You’re going to find things you just plain suck at. Everyone does. I suck at double unders, have for a long time. How do I fix that? More double unders. Every day. A couple of times a day even. Double unders past the point where I no longer just hate them, I despise them, loath the thought of them. But guess what, I’m better at them now. Persistence is pursuing headlong the things that are hardest for you, the things you suck at. Don’t get frustrated and give up, be persistent! Some peoples shoulder flexibility sucks. Guess what. Stretch! Every day! Several times a day. Get the picture?

     Effort. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Training is hard. Ok you knew that already, but this you probably didn’t know, your body only adapts to stresses that disrupt homeostasis. Guess what that means. Half assed won’t get you anywhere. Even worse, 80% won’t get you anywhere. Yup, you heard that right. The only reason I push you to go harder, or to give your best is because you MUST give your best to make improvement. I’d be perfectly happy with giving 60% if that was going to make you better. It’s not. That sucks, but it’s the truth whether we like it or not. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Go deeper in your squats and push ups, pull harder on the erg, don’t rest during the last 9 reps of deadlifts in Diane.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

     That quote has been on the website since day 1, and there’s a reason for that. You’ve got to give 100% to make any progress. Here’s another little secret. What you think is your 100% is really your 90%. You can almost always give a little more, you can always do 1 more rep before you rest, you can always run just a little bit faster even just for a second. I’ll bet on that every day of the week.

     Ambition. This one should be obvious. You have to always want more. Lift heavier, go faster, rest less. If you don’t passionately pursue progress (the alliteration ends there folks) you will not make progress. You will get stuck in the comfortable, boring, sameness of where you are now. I didn’t want to deadlift 355 for the rest of my life, so I buckled down, ate better, worked on weaknesses, chalked up and pulled a PR. Want your first pull up? If you don’t have one you should be chomping at the bit to get it. Working on your kip every day, using bands, eating better, getting plenty of rest (dreaming of finally pulling your chin over that bar, obviously, what else is there to dream about), and pursuing it with a passion! You’ve got to want to be in the best shape of your life, everyday, and work hard so that you are more fit today than yesterday.

     All you have to do is have a winner’s attitude, eat well, sleep well, and train hard. After that, nothing is impossible.

Jeff Edwards

- National Coach USA Weightlifting - Crossfit Coach of individual and team competitors - Outdoorsy nerd - Owner and Head Coach at BR Fit Club