Consistency of effort is the path to success. I believe in these words. The tortoise did win the race after all, didn’t he? The tortoise is the poster boy for why consistency trumps intensity. He kept plugging away, never stopped and he won! I talk a lot about consistency with my students and the people I train. Remaining consistent over time is not an easy task though. This is probably the biggest issue that most people have in terms of not achieving their goals. Effort is often applied unevenly in spurts, and not long enough at one time to see a result of form a habit. This can apply to diet, exercise, dental flossing, or whatever unicorn you may be chasing. Over the past two weeks consistency has been my struggle.
At the end of my last blog I talked about ‘next week’ posting videos of some of my favourite exercises from my current training cycle. That was three weeks ago! So what the hell happened to derail me from this plan? I was fortunate to be able to sit in on the 5 Day Agatsu movement and mobility certification, which was amazing. If you ever get a chance to take this course, do the intensive, it’s an amazing experience and you won’t ever want it to end. I knew that maintaining my training would be challenging during this five day period as on top of trying to attend as much of the course as I could, I was still training clients and teaching classes at the start and end of the days. In terms of getting my training in, I wasn’t that worried as I knew that I would be moving my body for five days straight, working both my flexibility and strength. Although I wouldn’t be following my training program, there would be a good degree of carry over into what I am working on. I forgot though the degree of neurological fatigue that I would experience coming out of the course. Five days of moving, listening, learning and sharing left me wiped. I talked it over with Sara and we decided to make it the deload week and that we would come back the next week with a bang. The course ran Friday to Tuesday able to get in a decent workout in the Thursday after the course finished. Not much but it was something.
My overall consistency had been great since the start of the New Year and I didn’t see this coming.Another second obstacle that I allowed to derail me was getting tattooed. I have been working on a back piece every two weeks on Fridays. The third sitting had been the Friday of my deload week. I was able to remain very consistent after the other sittings, having worked very hard in the days leading up to it then taking a couple of days off after the tattoo. I figured the third time around wouldn’t be any different, miss a couple of days and I am back with a vengeance. What I thought would have been the easiest part of the tattoo turned into the hardest thus far and my usual extra day or two or rest turned into 6!!! 6 days no exercise!!!! Makes me want to pull my hair out writing this. Crazy was also how I was feeling after not moving my body for 6 days. Truthfully moving with quite painful and the pain lasted longer then expected. I was not able to stretch and move my body much again after the needling. After years of working in this field and exercising regularly you get used to the amazing effects of exercise. If I don’t exercise and use my body, I just don’t feel right.
Luckily the 6 day losing streak was ended with a bang with a day spent at Vic Park with some other trainers doing high intensity intervals on the versa climber, assault bike and sled. Nothing like a good kick in the pants to get you back on track. I was able to get a decent workout in last Friday but my motivation was still lagging behind and it has taken me a extra days to get the beast mode back. I would go to push and it it just wasn’t there when I wanted it to me. Once again, a very weird feeling to have when you are used to crushing it and giving your all. Motivation and drive, like a muscle, need to be trained and used though. In the end my deload week got stretched into two weeks and my consistency needed to get back on track. This is a feeling that we can all relate to. This is why new years resolutions are an industry! We all lose out way from time to time. You need to get the momentum started again with one good push, which is often the hardest. I like to equate it to getting your car stuck in the mud. Think back to the famous scene in My Cousin Vinny. You try to spin your wheels but you aren’t getting anywhere. Getting stuck in the snow may be more relatable for us Canadians but the same thing applies, slowly push they pedal down and ease out of it. If you don’t remember the scene below where Joe Pesci goes flying it worth a watch (after you train of course…)
As I got my car back onto the road this week I realized that my break in consistency was probably also a result of mental and neurological fatigue from the training and working my training program too long. After the deload week I was not looking forward to working the same program again. We had planned an initial 6 week cycle but I am figuring out that I function better on 3-4 week cycles. This is the first major cycle so it is still a learning process between coach and disciple and figuring or what works best for my body. What works for me may not also work for you so some experimentation may be needed here to find what it right for you. I discussed it with Sara-Clare and she gave me the OK to just play around and have some fun in the gym this past week to give my nervous system a chance to reset. This gave my body a break and working some different exercises greatly boosted my efforts and motivation! Together with Sara-Clare we tested everything again yesterday and happily I didn’t regress at all due to my two week deload lapse and to the contrary I have made some good gains and in flexibility and strength! I was a bit worried that my lapse would have erased my hard work but I am still on track for June.
I start my next cycle next week and will keep you all updated and I get both my training and the blog posts back on track. I am told it will be strongman training for Kettlebell sport with a lot of emphasis on concentrics! My veins are popping just thinking about it.I hope that your training is going strong and that consistency has not been a struggle in your life! If it has, I hope this post was of some help and that you are back on course!
Some thoughts to recap the week
– Be the tortoise, value consistent effort above intensity.
– Consistency is tough to maintain. Do your best and be understanding with yourself if you have a lapse. Guilt is not a motivator.
– Identify what set you off course and take steps to correct/prevent it in the future.
– Talk to your trainer, coach, partner or even a friend about the challenges you are facing. Use your support network. Find a solution.
– There is nothing like a swift kick in the pants to get you back on course. Sometimes you just need jump in the deep end and get at it once again to get that momentum rolling.