It took awhile to get back to it, but like anything in life, through time and experience we learn those life lessons. From the time I was old enough to compete in sports or any form of athletic activity I did it. Long story short, I found running was my thing. I excelled in sprinting through my school track days and then as I got older went in to more distance running. Why? Same reason most women do. FOR THE WEIGHT LOSS! I stayed skinny, but mentally became obsessed about running. I would be driving down the road and see someone run and wish it was me, even though I already ran that morning. I would ride my bike 12 miles to the globo-gym, run on the treadmill for 6 miles and then bike home again. First thing I thought about when I woke up was when I was going to get me run in.
Flash forward several years and I was introduced to strength training. WOW! What a difference in my physique. I no longer thought about running for miles or hours at a time as I couldn’t!!!! To sore to move, at first. With anything new, our bodies have to adapt to the new stimulus. Mine loved strength training. Along with the new program, I learned about proper nutrition. I went thru a complete body transformation and before long was on stage competing in bodybuilding shows.
Didn’t take me long to get over competing in bodybuilding shows, as the dieting SUCKS! Thought I would try more endurance work. Need stimulated in a different way. Started training for a duathlon. Had no desire to do a triathlon as I would probably drown, so a sprint duathlon would work. Run, bike, run. And that’s where the life lesson began again.
All I wanted to do was work capacity and endurance, and that’s all I did. I pushed myself as hard as I could every time. Sure I got
faster and a little stronger. Then I started to notice a few things, I was getting hurt all the time. I was always tired. Even though I
was doing a ton of “cardio” I was getting fatter. It didn’t click in my mind, so instead of revamping my training, I just pushed myself harder. If it called for 3 rounds I did 6. Why couldn’t I stack two work capacity sessions in a day. If I just worked harder it would all come together.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was over training and had been for a long time. I attacked my training so hard that it was destroying me. I just wasn’t allowing my CNS (central nervous system) enough rest. Although I didn’t know it, I wasn’t
training at all, I was just working out. There was no method to my madness, I was just going as hard and as fast as I could every time.
Even though I was “fit” I was becoming weaker. I couldn’t hit my strength standards, and I came to realize that a lifetime of working out was just that, working out.
When I’m strong, I’m confident, I move better and I’m faster. I was also getting leaner and overall a much healthier, better athlete.
Strength is the great equalizer. It is the single best thing we can do for our athletes. It is the only attribute that improves everything else. With physical strength comes mental and emotional strength. These are the things that make us complete athletes. This is why we are able to push harder, and farther, day in and day out.
From a coaches point of view strength is important because it protects our athletes. It gives them the armor that keeps them injury proof. It also allows us to monitor form and actually coach an athlete through a proper range of movement, so that when work capacity and stamina come around we know that the athlete can do that movement correctly and not get injured. It gives our athletes confidence, both in the weight room and in themselves. It knocks down the fear of one rep maxing or doing the Olympic lifts.
Strength is also how we keep our athletes from over training and burning out. You can’t always race, it just becomes too much for the body, and the mind.
I’m not saying that running and metabolic conditioning aren’t important. They are extremely important, but there has to be
moderation in all things, doing work capacity’s and LSD training with no rhyme or reason really serves no point. It’s not training, it’s not making you a better athlete, and if its doing anything its making you more susceptible to injury.
If someone has a shitty squat, get stronger.
Bad back: get stronger.
It all comes back to the belief of training in the gym to perform outside of it. The most transferable aspect of that is physical and mental strength.
Another huge aspect of our focus on strength, is increasing mobility and movement. A lot of athletes that have spent a lifetime outside the gym can’t do a single bodyweight squat with their heels on the ground without falling over. Being aware of how your body moves and how to properly control it comes hand and hand with getting stronger. As the athlete gets stronger, movement improves and injuries are less frequent.
I hear from our athletes all the time (females especially) that they don’t want to do strength, because they don’t want to get any bigger. I’m not going to say that you won’t get a little more muscular with our training, but without proper diet, our strength training won’t get you any bigger at all. To think that you are going to do this and come out looking like a body builder is both an insult to the body builders that make that a way of life and to us.
If you are gaining unwanted weight, you should examine your personal diet and see what you can fix there first.
If you find yourself drinking alcohol, sodas and processed foods on a daily basis, the problem might not be the strength training, but all the empty extra calories your consuming.
The biggest key to getting stronger is lifting weight. If you think lifting weight is scary, then try being weak, that’s really scary.
Strength is our gift to our athletes.