Want to go for a ride?
My goal of this post is to help you get where you want, as quickly as you can. For you to do this, you’ll need to do two things: have a goal knowing what you want, and do the things that will get you there. Sounds simple but why do so few people achieve it? If it was simple everyone would be there. This post is more geared towards those who want specific performance based results, not someone who’s goal is to lose some pounds, or stay fit. Those are good goals that are easier to get to. If the latter two are your goals, you may find this post complicated but continue reading if you like.
As I have written before, having a goal can be a short term goal, something achievable in 6 months or less, or a long term goal (over 6 months to achieve) broken into short term goals.
Goals also need to be specific and should follow the SMART model: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. An example would be to run a marathon in 1 year. Let’s break it down using the SMART model:
- Specific: I want to run a marathon in 1 years time, and have a finish time no less than 5 hours
- Measurable: A marathon is a measurable distance of 26.2 miles, or 42.2 km’s.
- Attainable: 1 year of training should be enough time for the vast majority of people not taking into people specific things like lifestyle, work obligations, etc. I recently watched a series on youtube of a guy who in 90 days of training completed a triathlon while at the same time changed his diet to a 100% plant based diet.
- Realistic: If the goal isn’t realistic it may never be achievable. Goals should always be something you can achieve. It may take a lot of hard work, it should take a lot of hard work, but not be unreachable not matter the circumstance. If your goal is to run a marathon in 6 months of training, and under 3:30 hours, and you have never ran a distance greater than 5k, and live a somewhat sedentary lifestyle than this goal is far from being realistic. Goals that are not realistic only serve to demotivate you and end up doing a lot of harm. At our dojo, we only test students when they are ready or near ready to be graded. One of our goals is to motivate our students and if we graded students when they aren’t ready, they more than likely would fail the grading. Why would you do that? You now have a student that will be less motivated to train and maybe even less motivated to come out at all. Whereas when you test someone who is ready, or close to being ready the test becomes somewhat of a motivator to do better leading up to the test and becomes a sub goal of a larger goal of earning a black belt. You should treat your own goals the same. Keep them realistic. Training plays a big part of this and keep reading to find out more
- Timely: Always have a time frame for your goal. In this example, the time frame is 1 year. Time frames, as long as they are realistic, are a great way of helping you achieve the goal. Time frames also help you to setup the program to achieve the goal. If you have the goal of running a marathon in 1 year, then you can setup a schedule knowing that you should achieve running certain distances at the 3 month, 4 month, 5 month etc. time frame. If I create a goal of running a marathon in my lifetime, I’ll probably never do it as I have not committed to a time.
You have your goal and now the training starts. Good luck 😉
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the training you do. I’m not talking about just training, I’m talking about the specifics of training. Years ago I never knew about ‘tapering off’, the reduction of miles near the end of training for a marathon when training for distance. Many years ago, it wasn’t until certain people and certain countries were winning Olympic gold that coaches realized you don’t run just distance to become faster at running great distances. They learned this because the people winning gold were also doing high intense interval training, something brand new at the time, no one else was doing it. Everyone else was running distance, and distance, and more distance. Once coaches realized this, and saw it was effective, marathon training changed from that point forward thus including interval training.
The same goes for you. How many world class legit black belt karataka or ju jutsu athletes do you see that are jacked? I mean really big, muscle bound. Now having said that this is a complicated area. It can be quite controversial as you can find opinions that will say you need to focus largely on strength training just as you will find opinions that you need to work less on strength training. But, this is where having a goal comes into play. If your goal is to compete at your current weight in ju jutsu then yes, you need to be strong. If you goal is to jump up in weight than yes, focus more on training to add muscle. Regardless, you also need to be flexible, fast, explosive, and have great cardio. If you have ever grappled you know how cardio intensive it is and you probably also know how flexibility plays a key role. Or maybe you don’t? If your training is geared to your abilities instead of what you need to do to win then maybe you don’t. Sometimes when I teach class I’ll introduce a technique because, well because it’s awesome, and some people will have a hard time to execute it because as an example they aren’t able to execute a high guard. They see the technique and they agree that it’s awesome but can’t pull it off. I’ll use this as a way to try to motivate people to increase their flexibility.
If you wan’t to be fast, you need to exercise using exercises that engage fast twitch muscle fibers the majority of time. If you want endurance, you need to do the opposite, train your slow twitch muscle fibers. If you want both then good luck. It’s not always easy though, especially if you are an elite athlete and if you are competing in MMA as an example you may need to be ready to compete in a 5 round, 25 minute fight. That’s tough because you need to be explosively fast and also last 25 minutes without gassing out. If you have too much fast twitch muscle fiber than you may ‘gas out’ because of the oxygen demand to feed those fast twitch muscle fibers. If you don’t have enough fast twitch muscle fibers than you may not be explosive enough to stuff that take down attempt.
Know what you want. Thinking is not enough, you need to know. Then, you need to know how to get there. I cannot emphasize enough that you need to train smart, not only hard. Long gone should be the days of running our bodies into the ground too many times, over working our bodies and not realizing the results we want. Work hard, eat well, and rest well.
Your longevity, happiness and well being depend on it.
Shameless plug for personal trainers time: not sure how to get there? Hire a personal trainer. Done that already and not satisfied? Then try another one, maybe one recommended by friends or peers. A good personal trainer can do a lot for you in reaching your goal.
Yours in health,