Ever had an occassion where you only wake up in the morning or just before you leave the house, you pack your bag and after leaving, realise that you forgot something? This is just a small example. It could be your exams and you only started studying the night before, or your assignment and you only started working on it three days before. Unless you are a genius, not all of us are able to handle a big task or situation in our lives without being prepared for it.
Where you are an athlete entering a competition, or simply a gym junkie wanting to head to gym after work the next day, preparation for your tasks are always important. This brings me to the point of my post today:
"Proper Preparation Prevents Pissed Poor Performance."
- also known as the 6 'P's as dished down to me by one of my PT clients.
Preparation is simply defined as the act of getting something ready or making ready for something. When you cook, you have to prepare your ingredients before putting them together to create a perfect dish. When you study, you work out the chapters that you need to go through and prioritise accordingly before you start memorising. So what does preparation actually mean? it means having an idea in mind, planning the process of execution before taking the necessary steps to execute and achieve the goal.
So how do we relate this to training? Firstly, let's look at how we can do this.
1. Have a goal. Goal setting allows you to work towards something and put in the steps to achieve this goal. This could simply be getting stronger, or running long distances, or everyone's favourite "I want to lose weight".
2. Decide on how you intend to achieve this goal. For example, how many workouts you are going to complete this week, or how many kilometres you intend to clock this month, or even how much weight you want to lift in total for a single session.
3. Put it down in your schedule! By having it fixed, you will do your best to commit to it. One prime example I would give is my parents. I told them to fix it in to walk every evening when they get back from work after dinner and soon enough, they are doing it every weekday evening.
4. Come up with a program. Having structure to your training allows you to reap the benefits of exercise and be more efficient and become less fatigued as you allow for recovery
Other tips on preparation in training:
1. If you are not able to fix a day to train, always make your gym bag readily available. This would not then allow you to use the excuse of "Oh! I did not prepare anything to work out in.". Pack it the night before or even when you get home from your previous workout. It also allows for you to squeeze in an impromptu workout which could be good at times for stress relief if you need to get your mind off certain things.
2. On the other hand, let's say you have been following a program with structure. So you have an idea of what your workout the next day is. A simple thing I enjoy doing myself is to prepare myself for that workout. So if I know I am going to snatch tomorrow, I will do some mobility work on my shoulders and hips. This allows me to loosen up my joints and get them ready for a good session the next day.
I actually adopted this practice from one of the leading Crossfitters, Chris Spealler. He trains everyday but he adds in some form of stretching or mobilisation in order for him to go again the next day, making his body really efficient and allowing his training to be effective. If you need ideas on what you need to do, a good website I would recommend is the Mobility Wod by Kelly Starrett. He talks about how to get a normal range of motion in your joints for you to be more efficient in your movements and more effective in your training.
3. Periodization is also another tool you could use in training. It allows you to plan your training over a duration of time. This allows you to recover properly and achieve fitness gains as you train. An example would be an athlete aiming to peak in 10 weeks. the first three weeks would involve increasing training loads/volumes till the end of the third week before dropping it in the 4th week to allow for recovery. This is then repeated over another cycle of 4 weeks. The last 1 or 2 weeks would then be a tampering phase where the athlete is allowed to recover fully before the competition. Even for recreational athletes or gym-goers, this is a good way to allow your body to recover so that you can consistently attain fitness through training. More information about this will be given in later posts.
A simple periodisation plan by Super Sports Systems LLC for swimming training. As you can see, the yellow bits are the periods of recovery given.
4. Incorporate exercises/drills to make your movement more efficient. This would refer to speed/agility drills related to your sport, or movement drills that make you more effective in a certain sport skill. Take running for example. You could perform all the running drills to make your technique sharper which translates to a better running posture. Weightlifters do different movements to be more efficient in each pull; football players do passing drills to sharpen up their on-field coordination. Think about what you can do to make you more efficient in your training. Intending to bench press 100kg? Look at shoulder stabilisation and pressing at different angles. It's about breaking it down and analysing what you can do for each factor, make it better which then becomes a better movement as a whole.
Therefore, to conclude, if you want to perform and do well, you need to get yourself ready for it. The amount of preparation you do for any given task is proportional to how successful you will be in completing or achieving it.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving,
The Training Geek.