Anyone who is familiar with Cross Fit, is also familiar with it’s ‘Balls to the Walls’ mentality, hahaha!!! You know, just do it, who cares if your arm feels like it’s going to fall off, your leg has just given out, or your heart feels as though it will burst through your chest at any given moment…… JUST DO IT!!!!
In this particular class, there was a Navy leader who really liked to single me out, scream at me, and try his best to intimidate me. Nothing like that happening with the entire class looking on, right? I had plenty to do and repeat over and over again, in front of the class. I’m quite sure they were all thinking they were glad it wasn’t them. After two days of his incessant ‘knawing’ the festivities came to a close. I was taking pictures with teammates, and thought it would be good to get a picture of this man as a reminder of the weekend, what I had learned from him, and vice versa. As I approached him, it was as though I knew him my whole life; I had no ill feelings toward him. His scowl disappeared, he spoke at a normal tone, and a large smile emerged as he greeted me with a what I termed, ‘an endurement hug’, a hug signifying that I had endured all his bullshit, and still had a smile on my face. You know the type of BS where your form is dead on and the leader says something to the effect of “Because Jill still doesn’t have it right, everyone has 50 more reps”, or “Because Jill needs more practice we’ll all gather in a circle around her and watch her do 25 more”, of whatever. Real funny.
Yes, my legs were sore for three days, so much so, that I was taking stairs one a time, and so forth.
Long story short: There are times to go ‘to the wall’, the key is knowing when, how to manage the times you do, and know why you’re doing it. For some athlete’s the line becomes blurred, and ‘Athletes Syndrome’ sets in.
One would very well expect the same mentality in the military, and so forth, however, I find it a growing ‘trend’, of common folk athlete’s, competitors, and fitness models, to develop the ‘Athlete Syndrome’.
Athlete Syndrome is what I’ve come to term the condition of one’s state of mind as such that they no longer realize what is working for them and what is not, in regards to their training, gains, losses, appetite, and so forth, and just keep pushing themselves ‘Balls to the Walls’.
With this condition, in regards to training, be it cardio or weight training, the athlete is continually going ‘All Out’ every session, everyday. They wonder what’s wrong with them when they hit a wall three or four months later, when they just can’t seem to get up on their own in the morning, drag themselves into the gym, yawn, and putt around half-heartedly lifting (or doing cardio), with a blank expression on their face. They wonder why they don’t have interest in their cardio, or training and lack motivation. This is where many people who start a program fall off the wagon within months and do not attempt again, until the next ‘New Year’, only to repeat the same mistake.
The same happens from the dieting end, as well. Following strict plans for a ‘purpose’, makes sense. One is competing, going to do a photo shoot, a family reunion, vacation in Maui, getting married, and so forth, however, staying on the same plan after the event for months at a time, leads to what I term:
Food Burn-out. An individual gets tired of food all together. Then, inevitably begins eating junk, pharmafood, empty nutrient foods, etc., looking for something to spark their taste buds again.
This is the ‘Athlete Syndrome’. The athlete has lost touch with their objectives, goals, and end results, and are instead training and eating on auto-pilot.
I know several competitors, and many people who do not want to compete, but want to look like they compete, 365 days a year…… as always, I tell them, “Good Luck!”
Good luck, because when a competitor is on stage, they are at their PEAK my friends. Competing IS depleting. Do you want to keep your body in a depleted state 365 days a year? I think not, and this is why it won’t last. Also, keep in mind, as I said, this is the athlete’s PEAK moment, on stage.
Think of it this way, you are climbing a very high mountain, you have packed, prepared, and worked daily to traverse your way up the various landscapes of the mountain, endured the weather, unfamiliar sleeping grounds, and finally……. reached the PEAK!!!!!!!
You stand there and take in the view in all it’s glory, you reflect on your trip up, you hold gratitude in your heart for having made it, and for having this time at the PEAK. You wish that your loved ones could see what you are seeing, feel what you are feeling, and you determine to hold this feeling sacred in your heart, forever.
What does the hiker do next? Does he decide he will stay there? Live at the PEAK? Of course not!!!! Have you ever reached the peak of a huge mountain and found someone living there????
A PEAK is a PEAK, is a PEAK, my friends. It is called a PEAK because it is the farthest one can go on the path, the only place from there is to descend, or grow wings and fly.
TIGHTS TRAINING AND MEAL PLAN ‘CYCLING’
TIGHT athlete’s who are following intense programs, following their plans consistently know how to cycle:
Weight Training: Hit it hard for seven weeks and take the eighth week off completely, with the exception of steady state cardio.
Cardiovascular or Metabolic Training: Ditto, except if you are hitting both training and cardio at the same time with high intensity, you will then do HIIT for the seven weeks and leave it out completely on the eighth, but time it as such that your week off from training is 3-4 weeks apart from your week off cardio.
This is a generality. Those doing this know their training is unique to them and I specify their plans and ‘Deload’ weeks accordingly. So, again know this is an outline only to give you an idea of what you can do to improve your training, conditioning, mental attitude, and feel refreshed and on top of your game.
I use the term ‘Deload’ to simply imply you are NOT loading the muscles with intensity, and you are NOT loading the cardiovascular system with intensity.
(Military, Elite and Warrior Athletes: Again, you are working with me on an individual basis to determine the best outline for you at this time, do not go by the above, but rather that which we have discussed on a one on one basis.)
Just as an elite athlete takes time to recover after a month of events, a spec op takes time to recover after a demanding assignment, you, as an athlete must learn to take time off to allow your body to fully recover from intense training. This is no joke.
When an athlete feels unmotivated, chances are great they have not allowed themselves to fully recover; be it mentally, physically, nutritionally, and/or a mixture of all or some of the three.
I can promise you:
YOU WILL NOT SHRIVEL UP AND BE A WEAK TWIG IF YOU TAKE TIME OFF.
Given you take the appropriate amount of time off, with the proper state of mind, and engage in appropriate activities. Just as I spoke last week of women who have had surgery yet still ‘see’ the same ‘flaws’ afterwards….. an athlete can take time off training and be so damn worried about what’s going to happen in that process, they lose the benefits of it.
DITTO MEAL PLANS
Yes, your mind needs to ‘Deload’ from meal plans just as your body needs a deload from intense training. Take a week off, and do NOT prep a thing. Listen to your body, feel like a piece of fruit? Have it! A hamburger, enjoy it! Now, I’m not saying let’s make this a ‘Free-for-All’, I’m saying, eat what you feel your body is asking for, and really listen. Eat some foods you enjoy but are not typically on your plan, pizza? Ok, have a slice, eat plenty of veggies with it. Do you need to be careful with this? YES!!!!!! NOT WHAT I MEAN
Some people can handle it just fine, have enough self-control to restrict themselves from going overboard, and others do not. To those who do not have the self-control, I create a meal plan based on what they want, that’s right, they give me a list of things they want to eat, I make a plan that keeps them within the zone, and they enjoy!!!!!
I recommend a deload on meal plans twice a year: June and December seems to work well for most people.
If you are one of those people who eat the same foods day after day, week after week, year after year with little to no variation for whatever reason, realize this will only take you so far. Remember my newsletter on Biochemical Functions? You need nutritional balance or else!
Take time off as you need it. Life happens. Illness happens. Injuries happen. Events happen. Intense training takes it toll.
Just as everything else in our lives have their peaks and valleys, so does our fitness, mentality, line of work, creativity, and so forth. Know when to jump in, and when to back off. Work with a qualified coach if you’re not sure what to do.
I’m happy to be of help if you need assistance.
As you learn to allow your body/mind to recharge you will find a new momentum each time you head back into the game.
Have a wonderful week!