I remember the best baseball coach I ever had (and I've had a LOT over the years) used to always tell the team to have a purpose every single time we threw a ball and took a swing. Yeah coach (said in a sarcastic voice), I'm 16 years old, out on the field with my buddies, playing a game a love; there's a damn good chance I'll be throwing about 20 "fosch balls" just to see what the hell happens! Then I'll spend about 15 minutes before BP imitating as many major leaguers as I can!
But in all honesty, his message actually sunk in after that first season with him and I distinctly remember how much my game changed. It hit me that with such a high-skill game as baseball, if you take every single movement just as seriously as you would in the highest pressure game situation, you will be a WAY better player. You create perfect habits because you train rep after rep to perfection. Right? It's not "practice makes perfect", it's "perfect practice makes perfect".
Now that I've moved on from baseball and am focusing on other things, I find that the same theory holds true. The best Olympic Weightlifters don't walk in the gym and sloppily throw the barbell around for 20 minutes before their practice starts. Pro basketball and football players don't head out to the field and goof off like children for a bit before taking their serious reps. In fact, look all the way down the lines of any sport and you'll find the best athletes are the ones who take their reps seriously at ALL times. The athletes who generally don't make it are the ones who spend a lot of their time goofing off, not following the program seriously (or at all), and then when it comes time to perform, come up sub-par.
I know a lot of my blog followers play sports, but most of them are athletes who train "recreationally". So why would this theory apply to you guys? Why would you need to take your reps and movements so seriously if you are just training to "tone up" and have some fun? Well, easy: you will tone up WAY faster, and have WAY more fun if you take what you are doing more seriously. I am not saying that you have to get a crazy intense face on you and tell whoever wants to say hi to you to go kill themselves and not have fun in the gym. I'm just saying that every time you grab the bar, the KB, get ready to do a squat in warm ups, anything, you take that movement seriously.
I can't tell you how many times I have a group of guys in squatting and one guy decides to say something and then the dude with the bar on his back thinks it's a good idea to turn, with the bar on his back to communicate with the first guy. Quick way to get yourself yelled at. I have a couple rules when we begin working: do not talk to someone about to lift, or who is lifting; and, do NOT talk or pay attention to anyone while you are lifting. The goal of the gym in my mind is to get better. If you spend your time goofing off and socializing the entire time, and not putting 100% effort into every single rep, you are simply waisting your time.
But in the end it all comes back to what you want out of your training. As the old saying goes: "you get back what you put in", and if you half-ass it in the gym, or on the playing field, you probably won't see any dramatic results. The problem I have is not those who don't want to put in the effort each rep, it's those that don't put the effort in and then complain about not getting better. The athletes who don't take their training seriously, don't pay attention, make excuses, and jokes, and then bitch and moan about not seeing any improvements.
To get better at things is actually pretty simple. Take every single rep as seriously as you possibly can and positive change will occur. Now get out there and do big things!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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