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Patience: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

If you have ever watched Willy Wonka, I am sure you would agree that Veruca Salt was a major pain the butt. I wanted to wring her neck when she sang that song “I want the whole world. I want it all. I want it NOW!” I am sure we can all agree that the “I want it now” attitude is very annoying. However, no matter how annoying it is, it seems that when it comes to our training, fitness or diet we always want it NOW!

I hear it all the time, “It isn’t happening fast enough,” or “I remember how strong I used to be. It is taking so long to get back to that,” or, “When can we move on to the more advanced exercises? When can we start putting lots of weight on the bar?”

One of the worst things you can do is rush your progress. Like anything in life, it is important to take your time and let your body progress at a steady pace. Those who rush things usually end up shooting themselves in the foot somewhere down the road. Typically, this leads to a set-back and ultimately a longer time to reach your goal.

In sports performance, one of the worst things you can do is shorten the preparatory period. This period is essential to ensure that proper adaptations take place and certain qualities are developed so that when you get to the specific preparation and pre-season, you are able to handle the tasks placed before you. Often times, as coaches, we want to rush the preparatory phase of training (sometimes for our own selfish reasons) so that we can get the athletes onto more advanced styles of lifting (even if they aren’t exactly ready for it). Aside from the fact that this will possibly stall their progress somewhere down the line, there is also a potential for injury as they are unable to handle the volume, load and intensity of the more advanced levels of training.

For athletic performance (or anyone really) the preparatory period should be one where we are working on basic exercises, developing basic technique, and increasing our overall work capacity. In this phase, for those that I work with, the idea is to try and correct any problem areas (or address any injuries) that the athlete may have. In addition to that, we work on developing technique in basic exercises (squats, deadlifts, cleans, push ups, bench press, pull ups, rows) and we work on just developing base levels of strength. As well, we work on landing techniques and low level plyometrics. We condition a lot as well, as a way to enhance work capacity and prepare for the higher amounts of volume and training that will occur in the phases to come.

In a nut shell:
1) Set your goal
2) Set a realistic time frame to reach your goal
3) Establish a sound program that allows you to progress and develop at a good pace
4) Carry out the program

Take your time,
Patrick