Why Are Gymnastics Important…

I originally wrote this for my home gym website…but the information is relevant and worth sharing!

 

It happens almost every week…Thursday rolls around and some people get excited and others dread it. You would think that magically Thursday became another Monday in the week. That’s right, it is gymnastics centric training day. Why is this day important? Why even have it? Why can’t we all just lift heavy things every day?

The answer is simple…gymnastics is about mastery of skill!

The beauty of gymnastics is that it is a day to focus on the perfection of movement. It is about mastering the skills necessary to do anything and everything else. It is not about max reps or even max effort, it is about self mastery and being able to maintain a standard of movement. It is the “perfectionist” component of training.

Most people grumble at gymnastics because they are not good at it. Many others because it is not nearly as sexy as picking up a weight with a couple 0’s on the end of it. BUT gymnastics is a key component to being better at your lifts and with your life in general. It promotes body awareness and understanding where you are in space at all times.

It is about developing the skills that you need to be a better all-around athlete. CrossFit was originally built around a gymnastic mindset. Somewhere that mindset tried to remain, but the focus has moved to lifting and getting stronger. Again, though, you cannot be a great lifter without great body awareness. That does not mean that everyone needs to be able to perform the perfect ring routine or even walk on their hands, but you need to know what an activated shoulder feels like or what it means to have a solid squat with no or minimal load. You need to be able to be aware of why you are pitching forward or falling backward under load.

Gymnastics work at the gym is about gaining this awareness. It engages the Central Nervous System (CNS) so that you can get into better positions over time. So that even as your muscles grow stronger, you are becoming a better lifter and your maxes continue to rise.

The other reason that we do them. They help to promote recovery and developing a better range of motion. This is critical as we all get older. No matter how much we do not want to admit it, there is a need to be able to move fluidly as we grow. Gymnastics promotes this ability.

So the short answer about why you need gymnastics and why we devote a day a week to them is that it helps to develop a mindset for your training, helps you with your lifting and forces you to take a little break from the barbell and still grow!

 

Regrets

Some times we have to step back and look at where we started and how we ended up where we are now.  We have success stories and we have regrets.  We can only hope that from those regrets we have learned something.  We have a lesson that moved us to be better.

So here is my biggest regret in my training journey:

I failed to embrace the beauty of the simple things.

That’s it.  I was a person that was fascinated with the large volume, crazy long, crazy intense workouts. I did not know how to embrace and enjoy the beauty of each and every movement.  As I have grown, this has notion of living in the moment, embracing the lift has become more of a standard for me.

It is why I call myself the barbell poet.  For me, hitting a lift with solid technique is poetry in motion.  I have watched as athletes hit their first clean and said “so that’s how it’s supposed to feel!”  It is an epiphany moment.  It is a feeling that they chase after from that day forward.  It is their first step of being able to know what is on and what is off as they grow in their own individual training journey.  This lift, like poetry, causes an emotional response within.  We are stirred to try and capture that emotion again.

For me, in the here in now, I have embraced the notion of simplicity in training.  My workout has moved from being an epic poem, to a haiku.  It is designed around impact with the least amount of words possible. As I approach the workout, I attack each piece, each individual rep as if it is the most important part of my training artwork.  It allows me to craft a better, more complete picture.  It is not built out of the frenzy of the chaos.

There is beauty in a single bolt of lightning, not the chaos of the storm”

I have started to see how much I actually enjoy training.  It allows me to appreciate the perfection of movement that is required to do a perfect pull-up or a perfect pushup.  It allows me to appreciate each piece of the clean, or the snatch.  It allows me to grow and progress with a better appreciation for the journey.

Do I still bring intensity to my workouts, yes!  Do I still give 100% with each and every workout…of course!  I just have learned to see the beauty in the simple pieces.

How do you approach your workouts?  Are you all about the volume or do you appreciate each piece?

 

Too Much Noise!

how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-desktop-wallpaper

The Grinch said it best…”The one thing I hate is all the Noise! Noise! Noise!”  We are inundated with noise and chaos.  This very blog post can be considered noise, and I accept that.  But it is there, hitting us over the head.  It follows us.

Our FaceBook feeds are full of training programs and training protocols!  Get a bigger squat, 10 ways to find your abs, Conjugate Training, 5/3/1.  We are bombarded with all the noise that there possibly could be on a topic and we let it carry us away.

We find ourself caught up in the noise.  We lose the experience that is actually lifting.  We jump from program to program or method to method gaining little practical experience.  We spend all of our time trying new things that we are unable to figure out what is and what isn’t working.  Some times that best way for us to learn and to grow is to simply pick up the barbell.

After technique sessions with my athletes, I can see at times their heads are spinning and they are trying to figure out each piece of information as they perform their lift.  At times, I simply have to say…stop, clear the mind.  When I say go, you are going to pick the bar up and get it from the ground to your shoulders as quickly as you can.  Trust what you have practiced…trust what we have drilled.  3-2-1-GO!  And a miracle occurs.  They get away from all the noise, noise, noise, that they read and hear and are inundated with.

They quit trying to process and they get to experience.

Here’s to hoping you can cut through the noise the the joy of the moment!

 

Because it’s hard – Lifting and Business

 

I quit!

I give up!

I can’t do it!

I’m done!

It’s Hard…and finally the truth comes out.  It’s hard is the real truth to all of the lies told above.  At least for 99% of the problems that we face in lifting and in business (and a lot in life as well).  It is just hard.  We could easily take all the statements above and turn them from being false, to true like this:

I quit because it’s hard!

I give up because it’s hard!

I can’t do it because it’s hard!

I’m done because it’s hard!

I am not here to argue with you about these statements of make you feel bad because you have quit on something, but be honest with yourself.  You probably walked away or gave up because somewhere you were tested and it was hard.  Putting more weight on the bar than you did the last time, is hard.  It is a mental game that you have to be ready for.  Pushing on when things are not the best and brightest in your business is hard work.  It often seems easier to shut the doors, walk away and be done with it.

But why are you really doing it?  To find out how good you are at easy things?  To run away from challenges?  Why do you train?  Why do you eat clean?  Why do you fight for your business, your kids, or your marriage?

Because success is worth it.  Because you made a commitment to being better today than you were yesterday.   That is it.

Be better today than you were yesterday.  Learn something new today that propels you into tomorrow.  Do not look too far into the future and do not dwell too long on past mistakes.  And yes, it is hard.  Success in the gym or in the board room does not happen overnight.

But growth is worth it.  Getting better is worth it.  I know you can remember the first time you had to pick up a barbell to find a max…how did it feel?  What about when you had to put that load on your back and squat with it and you did not want to get up.  But you fought, and you stood up.  Can you remember that first time…how does that weight feel today?

The physical weight on the bar has not changed…65 pounds is still 65 pounds.  95 is still 95 and 315 is still 315.  But somehow we grow with success and we learn to handle the loads with ease.  What once was our first Personal Best is now a warm-up weight.  What once terrified us, we do with ease and almost boredom.  We have grown…we are stronger and we did not quit because hard is worth it.

Hard is where we find our strength and we push forward.  Hard is the path that allows us to find and make our own way.

Hard is nothing…when we don’t quit!

giving up

Results

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We all want results.  That is why we show up to the gym.  That is why we do our best to avoid the sweets and eat well.  We want to find those sometimes elusive things we call results and progress.  We are driven by what we see around us.  We are driven to not lose the ability to play with our kids or by the strong men and women we see competing at the higher levels.

Somewhere in that quest though, we quick focusing on our goal and started to focus on the person next to us.  We looked at their bar and the weight they are lifting.  We focused on their time on the board and were discouraged with ours.  Somewhere in the quest for our personal betterment, we lost sight of what we were really chasing.

Your results are not in their time on the whiteboard.  Your results are not in their barbell.  Your results are in your barbell.  Your results are in your time.  Your results can only come from within you.  Your results are hiding in the dark places of your soul where you have to go to get them out.

You results are not found in someone else’s barbell, but in the intensity with which you attack yours!

Please think about that.  Your results are never going to be found by focusing on anything that is not directly in front of you.  Your progress and growth is found in how hard you push yourself.   The results you want are not found in doing more, but are found in giving more to each and every workout.  It is not about more volume or doing more daily…it is about going as hard as possible for that workout on the board.  It is about giving 100% to eating the way that leads to the results you want.  It is not 6 workouts a day, but rather about 1 workout where you gave everything you had for that one day.  Then recovering smart.

Your results are found the one place so many of us do not want to look.  They are found within.  They are found by pushing past where the mind says stop and the heart takes over.  You might have the mind of a champion, but do you have that heart?  Results are found there!