Apart from this guy keeping me up later than intended last night, I LOVE the Olympics.
I got some serious giggles on looking at this dude and couldn’t sleep for laughing!
I hope he got paid overtime for having to do it three times.
The thing is, you get engaged in some of the most boring sports possible that you know you won’t watch again until the next Olympics in 2020.
I mean…making a horse dance even though it just looks like your Uncle Dave walking across hot tiles to get to the pool bar on his summer holiday.
Anyway, there are ten top quality lessons to be learned from the stars of Rio 2016.
WE ALL HAVE BAD DAYS
One of the things that frustrates me most when it comes to coaching people is that so many don’t get anywhere because they hate on themselves so much and so either never get started or don’t keep going long enough when things aren’t going well.
The most successful generals in history know how to succeed during war time, not just when all is peaceful.
Social media has f*cked us up.
It has led us to believe that everything in life should be a nice, perfect straight line where progress is consistent.
When it isn’t, and you haven’t experienced the natural highs and lows of training for running, strength, swimming or anything else that requires pushing your body, the natural reaction is to blame something.
You’re too old.
You’re too fat.
You’re too busy.
Your coach sucks.
When you push yourself, even if you have a high quality training program, you will have good days and bad days.
Some you will be able to explain, some will just be a random, frustrating occurrence with no reason other than “Sh*t happens”
You can do everything right (in this case for 4 years for the world champ who landed on his face) and you will screw up.
What we’ve lost is the ability to look at the big picture and see what the TRENDS are in our results, not the exceptions.
This works both ways.
How many people could look back at 5 years of gym membership and realise they just got fatter, yet continue to pay for it!
We certainly shouldn’t take the ‘highlight’ reel that is Instagram and Facebook to try to find the ‘secrets’ to someone’s results.
One salad doesn’t make for 10% body fat.
One burger doesn’t make you fat.
One bad gym session where your lifts aren’t their best, doesn’t mean you have a paddy, throw your toys out the pram and give up.
Stay dialled in!
LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS IN YOUR HANDS
I am a HUGE believer in taking responsibility for everything that happens in your life.
Every reaction to your life are YOURS to own.
The moment is a moment but your reaction can drag you down for months, years…forever!
When you take ownership, you can own the victories and work out how to move past the defeats.
However, when you do big things, they are often affected by a lot of outside influences.
If you think you can live a life and not be affected by the personal experiences of 7 billion other people trying to get on themselves, you will either struggle to get anywhere or trip yourself many, many times.
As we saw last night, the cyclists prepared for the Keirin race had to start the race THREE times due a combination of inconsistencies by the clown on the pacing bike and other riders changing the situation and what the race plan was.
In your case, you need to have a rock solid, meaningful goal in your life, hire someone to give you the ideal program and then get to it.
The key is to accept that there will be situations and people along the way who will deliberately and accidentally try to throw you off and mess up your charge towards that goal.
Expectation of problems actually helps because you don’t panic and fall off the wagon.
Just because there are roadworks, doesn’t stop you because you know where you are trying to get to.
How many times have you ‘committed’ to a goal but been pulled off course WAY to easily because the dog had to go to the vet and you couldn’t have that one salad?
Soon you haven’t eaten a healthy meal in 3 weeks, all because of one random event.
This will not happen if you choose goals that mean the world to you for whatever reason.
“Lose 5 lbs because Jill at work lost 4lbs” is NOT that goal.
IF IT’S WORTH IT, WAIT OUT THE OBSTACLES
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark took gold in the sailing for Britain.
Not only did Saskia say “I feel like we’ve been training forever for this gold (See Work Hard…) but she paid tribute to Hannah for waiting for her while she was injured and struggling.
Too many goals are made on New Year’s Eve in a drunken attempt to make life less miserable and unfulfilling.
They never work because they mean f*ck all to the person spewing them out.
If something means a lot, wait out the obstacles.
Accept injuries may happen.
Accept that life will also happen, seemingly to throw you off course, particularly if you’re not a well-paid professional with little else to worry about.
If you are always falling off the wagon or jumping off the train, I GUARANTEE that goal is not the one you are meant to chase in life.
DO ONE THING
How many athletes have you heard in their gold medal interview say…
“I’m so pleased to get the Pummel Horse gold. You know, after I took 2 months out to clear the garden and then did that half marathon and try out CrossFit, it was great to get back into the gymnastics and get this medal”?
Sure some take time out.
But their mind and their focus is on ONE thing.
When they train, EVERY minute has a purpose.
They are not trying out extra stuff they saw on Stevie SixPack’s Instagram video.
Social media again screws you up. Now we can see what everyone is doing all the time and it always seems like their goal is better than ours, especially on those bad days.
If you want to achieve big things, the first step is to STRIP AWAY everything that doesn’t contribute to your goal, not to add more.
You want to pack on muscle?
Quit the running.
Quit the boxing classes.
Quit trying to be a UFC world champ.
Quit being concerned about eating too much protein and your Aunty’s concerns about how eating a cow sending you to eternal damnation in hell.
PACK. ON. MUSCLE.
Success leaves clues.
Olympians often cry.
Winning can be emotional but often it’s the relief that all the hard work, sacrifice, injury comebacks, early mornings, late nights and doubts were actually worth it.
4 years of “Doing one thing” and NOTHING else, was worth it.
You don’t need to go to those extremes just to be in really good shape, but you need to understand that NOBODY is going to come up with an easy way to get amazing results.
Just not happening.
Sometimes I wish this wasn’t true but actually, it’s great.
It means that those who have drive and ambition can really stand out in life.
Do the work.
Over and over and over again.
4 days a week on your diet isn’t enough.
21 days to a great body just won’t happen.
Taking rest days can be replaced with ‘recovery days’ where you work on mobility or technique.
There are tricks that can be used to complete the illusion of results but if you want to do stuff that makes you want to burst with pride and the buzz of a personal victory, you need to work HARD for a very long time.
THE BEST AREN’T THAT MUCH DIFFERENT
I’ve met a lot of people who have done some amazing things in fitness / sport.
The more I meet, the more I realise that bar some favourable genetics, they are no different.
They doubt themselves, they come from worse places than you or I probably have, they’ve had money worries, they have family issues, they cry, they put up with people ‘hating’…
The difference is, they just kept going.
They didn’t get distracted even when the Olympics were 4, 8, 12 years away.
We like to blame anything and everything OUTSIDE of our own head.
Then we hear stories of the Robson Conceicao who became the first Brazilian boxer to win gold.
Robson used to fake injury so he could go to hospital where he would steal bandages to make into boxing wraps for under his gloves.
But you haven’t been to the gym because your iPod was broken.
Own your excuses, forgive yourself for them, then get to work.
YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF THE TRAINER
Wayne Van Kierkerk not only won the 400m but smashed Michael Johnson’s seemingly unbeatable record.
The South African is trained by a 74 year old great grandmother.
I doubt she’s ever been on late night informercials with a $19,95 program including free t-shirt.
I doubt she has got her ass out in a selfie on Instagram.
We tend to shortcut to thinking those in the media are the ones with the best knowledge.
We ignore local knowledge.
We search the interwebs for the magic secret found in other countries when there is a very good coach living next door.
You can often find greener grass if you learn to spot those who are truly dedicated to strength and conditioning and have been for many years instead of falling for those who qualified 5 minutes ago but have big boobs that gain them 2 million Instagram followers.
(This is not the same as just listening to fat Doris who sits next to you and has done every diet going).
IF YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE THEM, TRAIN LIKE THEM
So many girls want to look like a beach volleyball player or a tennis hottie (mainly power based sport), but run half marathons to lose fat.
So many guys want to look like a 100m sprinter, but lift lightweights and play 5 a side football twice a week.
GENERALLY speaking, if you want to look like someone, you should do the kind of training they do.
It’s at least a very good place to start.
However, this tip comes with some if’s and but’s including…
Are they taking drugs?
This changes the volume of training that can be done and results to be expected.
Do they do other training in the background?
Sprinters don’t just sprint down a track for 100m and get ripped.
They lift heavy, fast and often but you don’t see that on the Olympics highlight show.
Funnily enough, volleyball players do a lot of similar training.
If you don’t want to look like a stick thin, emaciated marathon runner, why are you constantly doing running challenges and covering 30+ miles a week on the road?
IF YOU WANT TO STAND OUT, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THICK SKIN
I was disgusted to see the french pole vaulter, Renaud Lavillenie crying after being booed during the competition and on the podium.
When you do great things, even if not at Olympic level, you will 1) make people feel uncomfortable about their own lack of progress and 2) make people think you are some kind of robot without feelings.
In this case the Brazilian crowd seemed to think supporting their own man meant treating an elite athlete like a piece of dog terd.
Results bring haters.
People often find social connection in tearing down a person/club/country.
This happens at every level, even when you lose 2 stone and unsettle the other fat guys at work who can’t be bothered to make the changes themselves.
I once had a cage fight to tick it off my personal bucket list.
This brought challenges for fights and more personal slurs on Facebook.
It will happen and happens to the very best so be prepared.
THE BETTER YOU GET, THE FEWER TIMES YOU WILL BE AT YOUR BEST
In some ways, this takes us full circle.
Everyone wants to be Superman and to be able to show off their powers every minute of every day.
Strength and conditioning, modelling and sports performance just don’t work like that.
It is harder to stay at your peak and elite cyclists call it ‘The Edge’.
You have often pushed so hard up to a competition that you are on the edge of both immortal glory and collapse at the same time.
As such, whilst the trend should certainly show progress and improvement, you will not be at your best every time you step in the gym, every time you run/swim/cycle and every time you take a selfie if aesthetics is your game.
Understanding this, helps you to not collapse on such days but to see it as part of a cycle.
We saw Britain winning more cycling golds last night having lost to the same teams and individuals at the World Championships in some cases.
If they had lost the world champs and thrown in the towel, those moments of glory and fun for us watching would never have been.
The thing is, success is often a lonely game.
People have no interest in watching your ups and downs along the way but will be there to applaud the ‘overnight success’ when you do really well.
That’s just the way it is.
You have to go through the lonely times when progress seems to stall in the gym and when nobody is there to give you any recognition and there are no medals being handed out.
The key is to understand you are human and to only worry about progress if you are treading water for three or four weeks getting nowhere.
In that case, something is likely up with training, nutrition, stress, sleep and so on.
Don’t sweat the exceptions and don’t expect to be at your best every single time you try.
Whatever you do, just start.
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