1) Sleep should be made a priority.
I know, It's very easy to fall behind on sleep with our busy schedules nowadays. However, if you aren't sleeping enough you are missing out on a free boost to your performance. Sleep deprivation interferes with memory, energy levels, mental abilities, and mood. It effects your performance at work, school, and in your particular sport.
According to Stanford researcher, Cheri Mah, sleep can have a major impact on athletic performance.
Cheri Mah recommends 7-8 hours a night for adults and 9+ hours for youth.
If you are interested in reading more check out the links below.
A lot of people think that crossfit invented the wheel in many cases. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "that's crossfit", in reference to one of my exercise choices. Yes, I do use Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and the occasional burpee, but that does not mean we're doing crossfit. These exercises have been around for years, and they are not the problem. The problem is in the programming. Crossfit's programming is flawed and frequently lends itself to injury. A performance coach's priority list should look something like this;
1) Do no harm
2) Decrease the potential for injury
3) Improve performance
My problem with crossfit is that the majority of crossfits seem to ignore these priorities.
Here are a few good article on why crossfit may not be good for you.
My athletes hear me say two phrases a lot;
1) Don't add strength to dysfunction
2) Quality over quantity.
Optimum performance training is about building a foundation before adding strength. It's about the quality of work over the quantity of work. It's about prescribing the minimal effect dose. It's about recovery. It's about progressive programming. It's not about running clients or athletes into the ground day after day. It's about following two basic rules;
1) Don't add strength to dysfunction
2) Think quality over quantity
Above you'll see Gray Cook's Performance Pyramid. This is how we should be training. In this pyramid we've developed a foundation of quality movement; full-range of motion, body control, and movement awareness. This movement supports our performance; power, strength, and endurance. Once we develop appropriate performance we can begin to add sport specific skills. The optimum performance pyramid is about knowing that our movement can handle the power we generate and the power generated can control our skills. It's about finding the appropriate balance.
The second picture illustrates what most people are doing when they train. They ignore movement and go straight to performance. Ignoring poor movement patterns and adding strength on-top of this dysfunction is only decreasing your performance and putting you at a greater risk for injury. A dysfunctional movement pattern can actually be why you aren't reaching your goals. It may not be that you haven't trained hard enough. It may not be because you aren't strong enough. It may just be because you don't move well. Each time you try to overcome movement restrictions valuable energy is being wasted.
Where some people get confused is they think that they need to only work on movement before they start working on performance. You can work on both at the same time, you just need to be safe and conscious about it. Work on your dysfunction and listen to your body. If you feel pain that's a sign that something needs to change.
Make sure you are incorporating movement into your workouts. The best way to do this depends on your situation but I've found that using a 15min warm-up and adding corrections to the workout have worked wonders. For the warm-up work on mobility first, then add stability to each dysfunctional movement pattern. The way we spend our warm-up is as follows; Mobility followed by Stability.
5mins Foam Roll (to change tissue density)
5mins Static Stretch (to change tissue length)
5mins Correctives/Dynamic (to cement the changes in length)
Recently I've been reading and learning from some of the best coaches in the world. Some of the books have included "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, "Insideout Coaching" by Joe Ehrmann and "Wooden" by the world famous coach, John Wooden. In terms of coaches who have influenced my definition of success the list includes, Mike Boyle, all the staff members at MBSC, and the Sports Performance Staff at Stanford. Over the past couple of months I had the opportunity to visit MBSC for a week-long mentorship, and Stanford for half a day. Although I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted at either venue I learned what some of the greats have in common. They understand the importance of relationships. They are truly genuine, and some of the nicest people you've ever met. They care about others and they jump at the opportunity to help anyone who is willing to learn.
How many times have we heard the quote, "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care"? Well guess what? There's a reason we've heard it so many times, because it's absolutely true. Why do people dread dealing with car salesmen? Most of the time the salesman clearly doesn't care about you or your wants and needs. The stereotypical salesmen only wants to make a sale. All too often we as human beings let ourselves become salesmen. We start to forget why we are here and become engrossed in the quest for money. We have let ourselves become salesmen.
I can tell you that all the men and women that I have learned from above are not salesmen. They are some of the most caring, intelligent, passionate, and successful people I have ever encountered. If you want to be successful in any business, or in life, care about others. Let others care about you, and have a passion for what you do.
Thank you to those who have helped me grow as a person and a coach.
I think there is a big problem with the way the vast majority of the world defines success. Take this famous quote from Vince Lombardi for example, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing". From this viewpoint If you don't win you are considered a failure and you should be disappointed with your efforts. So lets say that is your definition of success, winning at all costs. What happens when you lose and you did everything you possibly could to win, but you still ended up losing? You start to view yourself as a failure because someone else was better than you at putting points on the scoreboard or crossing the finish line. With this definition I think we are sending the wrong message to athletes and young people.
I personally subscribe to John Wooden's definition of success.
"Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. Only one person can ultimately judge the level of your success...you. I believe that is what true success is. Anything stemming from that success is simply a by-product, whether it be the score, the trophy, a national championship, fame, or fortune. They are all by-products of success rather than success itself, indicators that you perhaps succeeded in the more important contest. That real contest, of course, is striving to reach your personal best, and that is totally under your control. When you achieve that, you have achieved success. Period! You are a winner and only you fully know if you won" (Wooden 170).
Worry about the things you can control, not the things out of your control. Work hard and prepare to the best of your abilities. If the result is a win, consider that win a by-product of your hard-work. Be proud of your work and dedication, and by all means, enjoy the win. Just remember that winning isn't everything.
The above quote can be found in "Wooden" by Coach John Wooden
The following article is a great way to think about training and life. Next time you find yourself pushing through pain remember, you only get one body.
Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get one car, you can never get another. Never. No trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing.
Ask your self how would you maintain that car? My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil changes, proper fuel, etc. Now imagine if your parents also told you that none of the replacement parts for this car would ever work as well as the original parts. Not only that, the replacement parts would be expensive to install and cause you to have decreased use of your car for the rest of the cars useful life? In other words, the car would continue to run but, not at the same speed and with the efficiency you were used to.
Wow, now would we ever put a lot of time and effort into maintenance if that were the case.
After reading the above example ask yourself another question. Why is the human body different? Why do we act as if we don’t care about the one body we were given. Same deal. You only get one body. No returns or trade-ins. Sure, we can replace parts but boy it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff they put in never works as well as the original “factory” parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t give you the same feel and performance as the original part.
Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage? You set the maintenance plan?
No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs?
How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to various groups. One thing he tells every group is that you are going to spend time and money on your health. The truth is the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of a personal trainer, massage therapist and a gym membership or, it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.
Same goes for time. You can go to the gym or, to the doctors office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will spend time. Some people say things like “I hate to work out”. Try sitting in the emergency room for a few hours and then get back to me. Working out may not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. However, in so many ways the body is better than a car. With some good hard work you can turn back the odometer on the body. I wrote an article a while back ( Strength Training- The Fountain of Youth) that discussed a study done by McMaster University which showed that muscle tissue of older subjects actually changed at the cellular level and looked more like the younger control subjects after strength training.
Do me a favor, spend some time on preventative maintenance, it beats the heck out of the alternative. Just remember, you will spend both time and money.
The original article can be read at Mike Boyle's Blog;