What the hell is that meant to mean? I hear you say. Well we’ve all heard the Einstein saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing a thousand times and expecting a different result. Well that about sums it up. If you want something to change. You MUST do something DIFFERENT!
Now don’t get me wrong. It is completely different than working towards a goal and the current outcome is part of the process. This means being honest in your self-assessment and making changes when you have clearly either stopped progressing or have not improved.
For instance, with myself and my Ironman racing I have been writing all the programs for myself since I got back into the sport in Early 2017. I told myself I am a qualified coach. I have all the tools to coach me. I don’t need to pay for a program or someone to tell me what to do. I know enough. Well after Ironman Bussleton in 2017 I learnt a lot about myself and what I was lacking and changes that I needed to make to my training program. Big problem was that I didn’t really make any changes. I did the same training for Port Macquarie Ironman 5 months later as I did for Bussleton. I had a much better race but I believe most of that was due to more favourable weather conditions and just sheer time being training in the sport by that stage.
Fast forward to the end of last year for Western Sydney ½ Ironman a race that I stated was a major race goal for the year, still nothing in my training was any different to the previous races. The result was an uninspiring swim, an ok bike and a nasty injury in the run to bring the end of 2018 to an insipid lacklustre finish. It was then I sat down and decided to at least get on to a program that I hadn’t written and something that I would commit to following from start to finish, no excuses.
Fast forward 14 of the 16 weeks. My swim which I always thought of as my strength is substantially better, my endurance on the bike is to the point at the end of 5 hours I feel better than I used to at the end of 3 and my running has progressed to where my easy running is nearly as quick as my fast efforts were 6 months ago.
Now I thought I trained hard and smart last year for both my Ironman and the ½ Ironman’s I competed in. I set lofty goals and wanted great improvements at each of them. But through it all when I look back over my training during those times not much changed.
I had to look at what I was doing, what I was saying and ask was it working? The short answer. Not really. I was training to complete the events. Which is an awesome feet in itself. But I wanted to be a competitor and the training I was doing didn’t line up with that. So the ego had to get left at the door and I purchased a generic 16 week Ironman program from a well know Triathlon coach. Many would say you should get a coach if you want to do it right and I would agree with you. But at this stage in my life that is unfortunately not a viable option so the generic program was the way I went.
Now will I get the goal time and result I crave? It is possible. But maybe not. What I do know though is that the changes that I made, made significant changes to my fitness levels and if I hadn’t made them, I would be going into my next event like it was Ground Hog Day. The changes that I have made will continue to grow my fitness base and I feel I will get faster again over the next program, because that is a part of the progression of fitness and the way this program builds on itself.
So, what does this mean for you? The everyday person that trains 3 - 5 hours a week most weeks and says you want to get stronger, drop body fat, run a marathon lift more than your body weight of the ground? It means how long have you been saying that? How long have you been talking about making the changes you need to make to achieve your goals? It means are you being totally honest with yourself about why you haven’t reached your goals? It is a hard thing to do. It often bruises your ego, it often means staring the fact that you have been kidding yourself about just how hard you have been trying, I know I had to. I’ll give you an example. In the 12 weeks leading up to Port Macquarie Ironman in 2018 I averaged 12 hours a week of training. Sounds ok right. But it was a hodge podge of mix and match training with no consistency, some 20-hour weeks and some 8-hour weeks with no actual reason behind it. Now in 2019 in the 12 weeks leading up to Cairns Ironman, I have averaged a tad over 17 hours a week of training and when I look over the weekly hour distribution, they are nice and steady and only have drop offs in easy weeks after the races I have done during the preparation. Again, this doesn’t guarantee a successful day, but I am going into the race knowing that I made significant changes and I have done all I can to give me a shot of achieving my goals.
So, if you want to get stronger, put on some muscle. Lift heavy weights and eat a healthy diet with good quality protein and do it minimum 3 days a week more often than not. If you want to lose body fat then eat a healthy diet and train 4 – 5 times a week and stop making excuses as to why you aren’t losing the body fat.
If you want to change the way you are. You have to change what you do and act. No if, buts or maybes. If you keep doing what you have been doing to get you in the shape you aren’t happy with, you will either stay the same or even progressively get even worse as you age and your body starts to slow down. Start being honest with yourself, start being consistent with your training and start changing the input to your body.
People that think exercise is either a punishment for being bad or eating rubbish invariably never get where they want to go because the relationship with exercise has started as a negative. Nobody likes to be punished for very long. Hence why they quit more often sooner rather than later. Start by appreciating the process and learning why you are doing what you are doing. You may not love it to start with. But as you begin to understand it is easier to buy in and commit to the journey that is health and fitness.
As always if you have any questions about this article or any others that I have written don’t hesitate to contact me here at Total Performance Centre. I truly believe our strength program and our fitness training program will help you achieve just about any goal you have on the horizon.
Remember Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment.