“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi
Training for fatigue is simple. Any fool can beat themselves up and revel in the pain. I hear people boast about the “beasting” they inflict upon themselves (or others) as they struggle to walk upright, put on their shoes or raise their hands above their head. If you can put as much effort into recovery your progress and ultimately your performance will improve exponentially. Look at the continuum – practice provides the foundation, , progressfollows, hard wiring the basics and as the process matures we are on our way to the holy grail – performance.
Training is Trauma
Every time we train we expose the body to some degree of trauma. This is where training for recovery comes in. If I base practice on my ability to maintain a high degree of efficiency, relative intensity and focused technique, laying the foundations for progress, rather than letting my ego get the better of me, I can monitor my progress, self correct and adapt. I become the driver rather than the driven.
Adapt or Compensate
We have all done it, struggled at the end of a session with a weight or a move that is beyond our capability at that point. It’s not pretty, it’s not clever and it’s potentially dangerous. We need to leave room for adaptation. If we don’t, if we constantly push the envelope of our abilities the body will simply compensate. If it can’t find a way to safely deliver what’s requested it will limit access to those patterns or movements. This protective response is designed to spread the load, literally. Suddenly your beleaguered shoulders remove themselves from the equation and shift the stress elsewhere on the body. Rather than adapt, the body compensates. Those compensations in turn impact on everything you do.
All of this without even mentioning the accompanying stress that impacts sleep patterns, suppresses the immune system and undermines all the benefits of regular practice.
So, we practice and this in turn allows progress. Performance is another creature. If you are consistent and scale your training relative to your recovery, you will build a formidable reserve for performance. And when called upon you can tap into that reserve and push yourself harder.
You’ll find plenty who will argue that you do not know what you are capable of until you are pushed. I agree. But choose those battles wisely. There are more than enough walking wounded weekend warriors out there.
Using sessions of varying intensity (Goldilocks anyone?), regularly employing sub-maximal workouts (100 Reps) that re-inforce good habits, focusing on solid movement, backing off when we are fatigued physically or mentally, these are simple, effective, durable tools. And perhaps of equal importance, we should confidently choose challenges and battles that require focus, determination and energy and apply ourselves in the knowledge that we have the ammunition. There is nothing quite like confidence built on a sense of capability.
We have to temper ourselves, to acknowledge that the mind is first to retreat when the body is still capable but to know when to put the kettlebell down and live to fight another day. That is the art.
I’ll be back soon with the recovery strategies I use including training strategies, rest, Qi Gong, mobility drills, supplementation and input from the people I turn to for advice and help to stay RESILIENT.