When it comes to training, I have slowly but surely discovered that consistency built with purpose breeds longevity. It doesn’t help that nowadays society has been programmed to expect results quickly. Technology has made information so readily available. Our actions and reactions move faster than even our brains. And often, we are left dissatisfied rather than satisfied when things don’ go to plan, quickly! However, sometimes it’s good to strip back to the bare basics, sit down with nothing else around you, start searching for answers and know your why.
This is a phrase I learned from my coach who has been an incredible mentor for me in not only my training progression, but how I tackle my goals, in fitness and life. Perception and understanding are fundamental factors to discovering what you are training for and why, but also allow you to fully buy into your chosen philosophy and subsequent training programme. I guess ‘knowing your why’ can be applied to almost any context in your life. Finding purpose is often going to create contentment. It’s when we aimlessly do things that causes concern for a lack of consistency and therefore happiness.
Compound Movements & CrossFit
When I sat down with Jamie six months ago, I had clear goals in mind, which was to build structural strength through my midline, increase muscle endurance, and improve mobility. I wanted to be a more complete athlete. Not your regular goals some might say, i.e. Improve 1RM or better my 2k row time. However, a deeper thought process in finding my why allowed both Jamie and myself to create more defined long-term targets which would get me to where I wanted to be – which in more lemans terms, increase strength through major compound movements which would transfer over to clean/snatch/jerk, and thus moving moderately heavy weights consistently.
I came into CrossFit a very fit athlete but not the biggest, and whilst I was able to blast through a 30 minute metcon, when anything remotely heavy came up, the alarm bells started ringing. Whilst I was still progressing thanks to the training methodology of CrossFit, it was still mostly damage limitation in a lot of areas. I was getting left behind (or at least not catching up).
However, it reached a time where I just wanted move. Training for me is a chance to express myself and find out what kind of person I am and want to be. To some that might sound incredibly cheesy, but for me, a lot of things start from good health, and the mentality you have when you’re inside the gym and about to give up on a workout that is crushing you, but you just keep on going. I love the feeling and endorphins that working out gives me, but also the mental application too. If you don’t know what I am talking about, sit down on a rower, plug 2k into the machine and go as hard and fast as you can. I guarantee you’ll find out some things about yourself!
But going back to what I said earlier, I was at a point where I could continue plodding on and going through the motions, or just do more. And I did want more. To me, it doesn’t matter if you are not a professional athlete. We are still all athletes, competitive in our own right, and want to push ourselves to our limitations. As a result, I got serious, found out my why and the rest was pretty much history.
Training with purpose
Training with a purpose can often be quite a daunting task to tackle for a lot of people. If you simply want to enjoy exercise and use working out as a tool to keep fit, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The more people who exercise, the better. But if you, like me do want more, it’s important to find a purpose and settle in for the long-run. Seeing true results in your training requires an incredible amount of patience, like most meaningful things.
With a quarter of the year already done, and the CrossFit Open behind us, I’m looking to really knuckle down and just keep to the grind which will hopefully get me to a stronger, more mobile and all round better athlete than I was last year. I haven’t really put any ‘numbers’ on my training goals, however since November my Deadlift is already up 10kg. So, to put myself out there for some public accountability (I might regret this down the line!) I’m going to set myself a target for this blog, to hit these numbers by the end of the year:
- Back Squat: 150kg
- Deadlift: 200kg
- Strict Press: 65kg
- Clean & Jerk: 105kg
- Snatch: 80kg
I’m currently also due to compete at the European Inferno in Cardiff in August, which is a pairs competition. However, I’d like to put myself under some pressure and sign up for an individual one too, so watch this space.
MY TOP 5 TIPS
Apart from that, I’m going to summarise with 5 tips on how to find and know your why. I hope you get as geeky as I do with your training, and get at it with a purpose.
- Talk to people – confide in people you trust, ask questions, listen, and seek out what is right for you
- Follow the six-month rule – I always like to ask myself, am I still going to be doing this in six months? If the answer is no, these goals are probably not right for you. I’m not talking about doing a 4-week summer shred now, I’m talking about long-term goals. Remember, consistency = longevity! This is also a great thing to ask yourself for any nutrition principles you might follow too
- Have fun – I see so many people not enjoying their training. And if you’re not, you haven’t found the right why! It should be the best part of your day, so make the most of it.
- Accept failure – Like anything, plan A might not always work. If you need to change something down the line for the benefit of the long term, then that is cool. Don’t get mad if certain things don’t work out. They’re only going to lead you onto the right path
- Get a mentor – Find that someone you can lean on. Build a relationship with them and know you are in it together.