The Process Never Ends
I visit a lot of gyms all over the country for various reasons. Some I visit to observe, some I visit to help out with coaching, and some I visit just because I happen to be in town and want to do a workout. It’s so interesting that each gym has its own vibe, it’s own culture, even it’s own smell. At any gym I visit, I always make a point of taking a class. The hardest part of jumping into a new gym is that I forget that most people in the gym have been there for a long time and they have been doing these workouts for a long time. This means they have had a chance to understand and work on the movements, the positions, the levels of intensity, and everything else that goes without saying when you have been to a gym several times and understand the language and the culture of that gym.
I see this happen in our gym all the time. It’s the classic case of the new person who comes in and sees everyone swinging kettlebells, doing massive amounts of burpees, sprinting at 10% inclines, or loading super heavy squats. Typically, that person wants to jump right in, but they forget that the people they are watching have been working on this process for months and, in most cases, years. Everyone who you see training in any gym had a first day, a first week, and a first month. What we see is that our clients who end up seeing the most change in body composition, lifestyle, and performance, are the ones who see the experience as a process. They have an understanding that it doesn’t happen overnight and that this process takes, not only time, but understanding and a uptake of knowledge.
This process has a couple key components that we should understand. These basic tenants serve as guidelines for any beginner, but they also serve as a reminder for those that have been training for a while. The tenants not only give us the necessary stepping stones to go through the process, they also help us stay safe and are the biggest drivers of performance!
Position Before Intensity: The key is to understand that you must have a good grasp on the mechanics of movement and know the right positions before you add too heavy a dose of intensity.
Root Language: What is the conversation going on in your head before you swing a kettlebell or squat a heavy load? It’s probably something like, “This is gonna suck. I’m tired. My legs are burning.” What I’m saying is that, once you have this common root language that any good coach will give you, the conversation in your head sounds more like, “Ok. I’m gonna squat. I know my toes should be forward, midline engaged. Now I’m ready.”
I’m not saying don’t train hard and I’m not saying treat your movement practice like a physical therapy visit… I’m saying train hard, get out of breath, and lift heavy things, but do it all under the umbrella of moving well first. Have an understanding of the language around how to move well and get into good positions.