• Consistency is the most critical parameter to training success.
• You can dramatically improve your training consistency by imposing accountability, better internal decision-making, and flexible programming strategies.
• More often than not, it's not about discipline, it's about creating an optimal environment for success.
Consistency is the "true north" indicator of any successful athletes. All forms of learning and personal development depend on regular repetition, and resistance training is no exception. Even the world's most perfect program – if there were such a thing – would utterly fail without sufficient consistency. Likewise, consistent application to a sub-par program will deliver the results in spades.
This makes great training consistency a secret weapon that helps you level the playing field between you and your more gifted peers. In fact, it's the best kind of secret there is – it's so obvious that no one pays attention to it.
Here are nine very powerful strategies that will make you as consistent as clockwork. These nine strategies fit into three categories, based upon their mechanism of action. The first three are fueled by accountability. The second three tips involve your internal climate. Finally, the third category highlights three ways that you can tweak your programming for maximum adherence.
Section (1): Be Accountable to an External Influence
1. Be Accountable to a Program:
Before worrying about which program is best, just start doing one. No matter which one you pick, doing it consistently will work dramatically better than doing what you're doing now with no consistency.
The beauty in doing a training program (as opposed to training "instinctively") is that you're accountable to its pre-formatted schedule. If the program calls for you to squat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, then on Thursday night you know what you'll be doing tomorrow. Programs – even the worst ones – make demands on you. "Instinctive training" doesn't.
2. Be Accountable to a Training Partner or Coach:
If you're already accountable to a training program, adding this next component will improve your consistency even more. One of the main reasons people hire coaches is to keep them accountable. And one of the main reasons people don't hire coaches is that they think they don't need one.
Incidentally, coaches and training partners can be on site or remote. Sure, face-to-face interaction is ideal, but if we're mostly focused on accountability, remote support works just fine.e
3. Be Accountable to a Competition, Challenge or Commitment Date: Most sportsmen and sports women you admire are competitive athletes; otherwise you'd never know who they were in the first place. So why not you?
Perhaps you don't think you're good enough? You may be right of course, and assuming that's true, I have a secret for you – competing is how you get good enough. When you compete and set goals to improve you get better, this happens when you set parameters.
Section (2): Optimize Your Internal Software:
4. Act As If: Even if you're accountable to a program, a coach, or both, you might still find yourself struggling to the gym on occasion. Here's how to fix that.
You'll get up out of bed and make breakfast. Then you'll take a shower and put your gym clothes on. Next, you'll walk out to the car, bus or train, and head toward the gym. You still may have no intention of training, and that's fine. You'll get to the gym/school, walk into the gym, and....
Chances are, at this point, you'll probably do something resembling a workout, right? If not, my guess is that you skipped the workout for a good reason, not a lame one.
5. Cut Yourself Some Slack: Look, even half hearted workouts are far better than skipping them altogether, so don't be so absolutist in your thinking. It's inevitable that about a third of your workouts will pretty much suck. Another third will be okay, and the remaining third will be Facebook worthy.
Again, our goal is consistency, not necessarily gym heroism. Your goal is to show up and do what you can. That way, you give success a fighting chance.
6. Base Goals Around Behaviors, Not Outcomes: This is simple but game changing. It's based on control. More specifically, control what you can, and don't sweat the rest. Outcomes are multi-factorial, and therefore, often beyond your attempts to control them.
Behaviors, on the other hand, are largely within your control. So what you must do is identify behaviors that will likely lead to desired outcomes, and then frame your goals around these behaviors. Some examples might be to complete at least 7 hours of physical activity in a week or to not eat take away for a month. Anyone can do both of those things, and if you do, chances are you'll be closer to your goals in 30 days.
Other examples might be drinking enough fluids, improving your sleep, and signing up for a outdoor recreation competition such as Tough Mudder, or joining a sports team. The key is to find your poorest habit patterns and then replace them with more productive ones.
Section (3): Encourage Consistency:
7. Use Complementary Training: Are you busting yourself trying to be good at something, when the truth is, you might be far more capable in a different but related discipline or sport?
If you're struggling at something that's not panning out for you despite your best efforts, it might be that your ladder is up against the wrong wall. Keep your options open and keep exploring until you discover your greatness. An example could be you are not the best at running but you are good at swimming (but you like to run) so you pick up doing 1/2 triathlons.
8. Employ a Semi-Flexible Training Schedule: It's important to have a schedule but it should ideally be a flexible one. For example Tuesdays and Thursdays you may do your BIGHILL training and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, you do open gym or sports for a club outside of school.
Using this type of arrangement, Monday's session can be done on Wednesday without negatively affecting the program. The same goes for the Wednesday session, which can be done on Friday without any negative repercussions.
Also, if you find yourself in a crunch where you know you'll miss a workout, find a creative solution. Perhaps you can tack the most important exercise of the session you'll miss to a neighboring workout instead of skipping the session altogether?
9. Use Compulsory/Optional Exercise Categories: If you have a long exercise menu for a given workout, you'll dread the prospect of doing it, which will make you more prone to skip it altogether. What we really need is a challenging but friendly workout.
The way to do this is to have both compulsory and optional exercises in each workout. A gym session might look like this:
Bench Press 5 x 5
Pull-up 5 x max
Back Squat 5 x 5
Barbell Bicep Curl 3 x 10
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension 3 x 10
Here, all you've got on your mind is completing the compulsory exercises. Once you've finished with those, you can make a decision about the optional drills. More often than not, you'll do those too (if time permits at lunch and if it doesn't don't worry). It's just a simple little mind trick, but little things add up fast in this game.
It's Not About Discipline! The nine strategies really aren't about discipline – they're ways to stay on track when discipline inevitably wanes. Most importantly, they're all methods of optimising our environment and our habits so that we have the best chance of success.
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Lifting Complex - Dead Bugs - Suicide Runs - Inch Worms - Mobility
10min EMOM alt minutes.
a. Hand Stand Walks - Wall Walks - Handstand Hold
b. 2 Snatch - 2 C&J
5 x 5 max effort Pull Ups
1 x 5 Deadlift
3 x 5 Strict Press
15 DB Turkish Get Ups (Right Arm)
50 DU's or 150 Single Skips
15 DB Turkish Get Ups (Left Arm)
50 DU's or 150 Single Skips
15 SOTTS Press
50 DU's or 150 Single Skips