And what if I went on to tell you that you could improve any of these traits without ever actually improving any of these traits. You’d just be tricking yourself into improving them?
Sound like some sort of fitness mumbo jumbo? Waiting on the infomercial-like pitch?
LOL – I can imagine. But it’s true.
See, there are two ways we can improve. Firstly, we can actually improve. By that I mean whatever it is we’re using to measure ourselves can be improved. You go from benching 230 pounds to benching 240 pounds. You go from running a mile in 7 minutes to running one in 6 minutes.
These are all objective measurements. They’re all black or white. Either you’re better or you’re not.
But there’s a lot of training you do that’s more subjective than objective. And that’s a matter of hard work.
Problem is that, many times, “hard work” is relative. What I think is hard, you might think is easy, and that guy over there is crazy to even attempt.
Usually, you see this as conditioning work, sparring, hitting the pads, or any other activity that takes longer sustained work. You have a certain pace, threshold, or level that you work at. You go until it’s “hard” and maintain that pace. Or whatever. (It’ll depend on what you’re doing.)
You can’t really apply this thought process to stuff that’s objectively measureable. If you can only bench 230 pounds, then that’s all you can bench. Doesn’t matter how hard it is or heavy it feels. If 235 buries you, then 235 buries you.
So we won’t worry about that. Let’s focus on the subjective.
Training that’s subject to how we feel is all based on personal association. That’s why it can seem hard to me and easy to you (given that we have the same physical capabilities, and we both have to expend roughly the same amount of effort).
If every time I go for a run, I only ever do very slow roadwork, anytime I try to run hard for an extended distance (say 400m tempo runs or running 2 miles as quickly as I can) is going to kick my ass. Why? Because I’m not used to running that hard for that long.
But let’s say that kind of running is all you do. It’s going to seem easier to you, as you’re used to it.
You’ve built up the mental toughness to endure that kind of training. I haven’t.
On the flip side, let’s say next week we go out and jog 8 miles. I might think it’s just another day at the office, while it might kick your ass, as you’re just simply not used to pounding the pavement for that many miles.
See what I mean?
Thing is that you can adjust this and train your brain pretty easily.
Every now and then, go out and just have one massively kickass workout. Do something you know is way above your normal workload, and maybe even above your capabilities (use your head, though – don’t do anything stupid). And just do it. Figure out a way to get it done.
What will happen is that you’ll “raise the bar” (so-to-speak) in your own mind. You were used to working out at a certain level before, but now that will seem much easier (even if you’re working the same as you ever were), simply because now you’ll have something much harder to associate it to.
Jogging 4 miles normally might seem like a hard workout. But it’ll seem like an easy day if you force yourself one day to go out and run 8 miles. Doing 75 burpees in a workout might seem tough. But it’ll seem like a short workout if you go out and do 150 one day. Doing 200 reps of ab work might seem like a tough way to finish a workout. But it’ll seem quick if you up it to 500 reps one day.
It’s all about training your mind – getting used to doing things you never do, so that the things you normally do now seem easy.
Now, don’t go out and do one of these “raise the bar” workouts all the time. Just a few times per year is all you need. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing the proper effect anyway.
So next time you think your (subjective) workout is tough, go out and “raise the bar.” I guarantee your next workout will be easy.
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Before you go to the gym again, you owe it to yourself to find out what kind of MMA workout pro fighters, boxers, recreational MMAists, or just the “regular guy” who wants to be in shape like his favorite fighter *should* be doing. (HINT – it’s not the crap you see in the magazines.) To discover the truth, hit up Wiggy at www.workingclassfitness.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/matt.wiggy.wiggins.
(Physical exercise can sometimes lead to injury. WorkingClassFitness.com and MMAWeekly.com are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or fitness advice. Please consult a physician before starting any exercise program, and never substitute the information on this site for any professional medical advice or treatment you may receive or the assistance of a fitness professional.)