When a meet is approaching there are three questions that you will always be asked. The first question is are you ready for the meet? The second question is how did your training go this cycle? The final question is what is your goal for the meet? I’m sure that there are more questions that people get asked on a regular basis but these are the three that seem to always be present. The answer to these questions is usually pretty simple and glossed over; however the true answer would require more time and a lot more explanation than a simple I think I’m ready because this has been a good cycle. The true answer is that I have been working on this meet from the day that I decided to start lifting. For me that means that training for this meet began in the ninth grade when I decided that I needed extra work to help me make the soccer team. I’ve made many mistakes along this almost 15 year journey, so I want share with you four keys that I have found to help you expedite the process of reaching your fitness goals.
Get a Coach
When you look for a coach or a trainer you need to look for few specific things to ensure that you are getting the attention and knowledge that you deserve as a beginner. Your coach should first and foremost have incredible passion for the sport you are pursuing. When you ask this potential trainer about the sport their eyes should get wide and they should be able to talk your ear off for seemingly hours. Secondly, your coach should be experienced in the field that you want to go in. They need to have competed in the events that you want to compete in. I wouldn’t recommend that you go to a powerlifter that hasn’t done more than steady state cardio in months and ask them to write you a swimming regimen for the 400 meter individual medley. Look for someone that has gone through the ups and downs of a training cycle and has experienced the highs and lows that you will invariably experience. Lastly, find a coach that has true training in that field. A weekend seminar is good enough to get certified and to place letters behind your name but it doesn’t make you a great coach. Experience and training makes you a great coach. All of our coaches at NBS have gone through a guided program to ensure that we are the best trainers around. When it comes down to it, you need to have a great trainer in your corner!
Address Your Weaknesses Early
This is another reason to have a great trainer. They will be able to see what your weak spots are and address them early before they become a problem. You will be thankful for this when you avoid the hip pain that has plagued me for almost two years. Establishing a solid foundation with a strength coach will not only help you reach your goals quicker but it will also help you to avoid injury in the long run. Discovering these weaknesses isn’t always easy because our bodies are incredible at adapting and compensating movements to accomplish a task or a lift. You need to have a trained eye and a working knowledge of the motions of the body in order to recognize these compensatory movements and then to develop a training protocol to address these problems. Trust me when I say that these weak spots are going to be the most frustrating things to work on, but they will be even more frustrating if they cost you in a competition because you never took the time to address them.
You are not a true powerlifter, triathlete, or body builder until you get on stage or compete! Don’t claim to be a bodybuilder if you’ve never set foot on stage. That’s like saying I’m an accountant but I don’t do taxes. You need to find ways to push yourself to be better. Competition is always a good thing. At Westside Barbell they use competition to drive the athletes on almost a daily basis. If you have a good training partner look them in the eye and tell them they’re weak and see how they respond. One of the greatest benefits of working in a group is that you will eventually learn to push each other to new heights. This doesn’t mean to go find the biggest baddest lifter in your gym and challenge them to a pull off; I mean challenge yourself to stretch. You also need to practice your craft. If you want to be better at powerlifting enter into competitions to hone your skills. In a meet you will learn all sorts of great information about your body and how it responds to the unexpected.
I think the most important thing on this list is to not wait for an invitation to change. If you always wait to start you will end up never getting where you want to be. I think of waiting like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t have to be New Years for you to begin changing your life. Just remember that your body is terminal and if you’re not getting stronger, then you are definitely getting weaker and closer to death. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a powerlifter when I was 15 years old, but I laid a solid foundation of work so that when I made the decision to start powerlifting I was more prepared to make the jump. The longer you procrastinate changing the more difficult it will be to do anything. Look back on your life were you able to do more and work harder when you were 18 or 30. The answer is simple, you have to start and start now!
Utilize these four keys in your life to get what you want out of your fitness career sooner rather than later. In order to accelerate your growth you need to find a coach that is passionate and knowledgeable in the field that you are choosing. Learn what your weaknesses and get help fixing them. You cannot survive forever with glaring weaknesses, and you will go much further if you can develop your weaknesses into strengths. Find a team or group to challenge and compete against. Find competitions to take part in so that you can develop greater confidence in yourself and your ability to compete in your chosen craft. And finally choose to change now. Your body isn’t going to wait for you to make a decision. Don’t wait for an invitation to become the best you possible!