Plyos on Christmas

Image result for opening gift christmas morning My neighbors see us jumping in the yard and sprinting down the road, as usual on Friday afternoons. But this is Christmas.

Do they think we're crazy? In a certain sense we are. But who is not, in some way? Why is three or nine hours watching sports or movies that we have already viewed a more acceptable thing to do on Christmas?

I was thankful to have a handful of like-minded friends join me for the afternoon 12/25 session. Each of us have busy lives but try to find time to train.

Not because I can't take a day off. Every week I take 4 of 7 days "off."

Not because I need to burn off holiday calories. Well, that may be the case as my diet has been less than stellar. But I'm honestly not training to atone for Christmas cookies.

Not because I hate or love my own body.

There is time to train on Christmas afternoon because this is what I enjoy. The challenge. The process. The dealing with and overcoming barriers. The experience of controlled discomfort. The need to run around outside and sweat and breathe fresh air.

I truly don't understand why or how this happens - someone becomes the kind of person who wants to take an hour to train on Christmas.  But I would guess that becoming the type of person who enjoys the fitness journey would be a good thing to consider for 2016.

I also read this today:

"Intensity is for amateurs. Consistency is for pros."

It's absolutely true. You do not need to go crazy with your exercise program, in any sense of the word.

Most beginners and casual gym goers do need to learn how to work with intensity. It's true that twenty minutes on the elliptical (machine) followed by 3 sets of 10 on various strength training gadgets is FAR better than nothing. This is not intensity. Beginners need to learn how to be mentally comfortable with being physically uncomfortable. But only to a point.

The amateur makes the mistake of thinking that if a little gut-busting is good, then a lot must be better. That's why you have hordes of people regularly taking part in death marches like The Filthy Fifty. I understand this is necessary for Crossfit (and other high level) competitors. But if not, regular white-hot intensity is not necessary and can be counterproductive.

I will readily admit that I've been guilty of this and slowly learning how being more selective with high intensity work is more productive than pushing the limit on every occasion. I'm trying not to be the amateur, chasing a feeling for the day, rather than sticking with a reasonable and disciplined long-term goal.

Athletes who lift weights in order to improve in their chosen sport (outside the weight room) should especially heed this advice.

Pros identify a specific goal and enter into a process with razor focus. Pros do not worry about achieving more than one thing at once. Sometimes they feel like doing more, other times like less, but they follow the big picture plan despite their feeling. They put in consistent days of hard work, applying the high intensity techniques few and far between. Pros are highly selective with elements of their life that will cut into their recovery.

And remember that you should not pound your body in the gym for "calorie control" or to make up for what you should be achieving through your diet. That's a ticket to overtraining and spinning your wheels as an athlete.

Every remarkable thing that I've achieved in training has come from following a systematic plan that keeps me on task toward one thing and refraining from pushing the limit at each and every workout.
You don't need a lot of special programs, equipment, or variety. I firmly believe that this applies to what we eat. Eating mostly well, most of the time trumps the extreme diets, gimmicks and quick fixes.

On all fronts, the real magic is in consistency. Focus on quality movement rather than slogging through brutal rep after brutal rep. Whether you walk, run, kick box, lift, etc, do it well before you do a lot of it. Find a good mentor, refine your goals, and following the plan despite what you feel like doing on any given day.

Learn to love the process.

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