Camaraderie, effort, and motivation are a few of the many benefits of training with a group of like-minded people. Did I forget to mention the fun and the shenanigans? I recently watched Super Troopers so shenanigans is on my mind. World class athletes and organizations understand “group power.” Professional and collegiate athletes train amongst their teammates for that extra or second effort. When in college we lifted and conditioned as a team, however, we had a slightly different program based on our position. This was an example of effective, customized group training.
Over the past 7 years, Nancy and I have been working with clients of all walks of life. In addition, we have trained ourselves for over a decade and constantly study and learn. We study for both our continuing education requirements for our professional certifications and for pleasure and easy reading. Always striving to develop constantly evolving and improving programs for our clients and ourselves. Over the years, one thing has become clearer and clearer. This is the unlocked power of instincts.
WHEN TO USE INSTINCTS
It is hard to define instincts, but in my opinion it is a major key to better and safer training. Once you have ingrained exercise as a productive habit in your life then you have my permission to use instincts. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Is this true? I don’t know and I think it depends on the person and their psychological make-up. From experience, I’d say the 8-week mark is the make or break. If you can get involved and commit to 2 months, or 8 weeks, I believe it will become easier and easier to show up. This is because a habit is forming. Hopefully it is something productive, like exercise and eating right. Not something like “SMOKING THE REEEEEFER!!!” (another Super Troopers influence). Bare with me.
Back to instincts, I am speaking from experience with my own training and I am going to tell you exactly how to use instincts in training. To draw on a common experience, have you ever had a really, REALLY big test, game, moment, meeting with your boss, etc? Enter a any HUGE situation here. Beforehand you are fretting about it. You can't seem to catch your breath.
What am I going to do? say? How am I going to play? or perform? Or you start playing out the situation in your head over and over again.
After all of this madness what happens? Your mind spends hours going 90 to nothing. When the moment of truth inevitably rolls around, you are mentally drained, physically exhausted, feeling flat, and perform sub-optimally to put it nicely. A lot of times to put the icing on the cake you get a head cold following the huge ordeal just to rub it in. Have you ever experienced this situation before?
INSTINCTS IN TRAINING
Oh yeah instincts with training. Sorry got a little off track there. It is truly hard to describe or explain but sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t. It may be an aligning of the stars or a crash and burn with your hormonal milieu. Perhaps, your favorite team was playing late and you decided to tough it out and stay up way too late and get up way too early. I hope they won. Maybe you were traveling and couldn’t eat nutritious food like normal. Dehydrated from being in the sun over the weekend. Many reasons could be the culprit. If you are in the gym and working out I don’t think you should beat yourself up over having a poor performance every once in a while. It happens.
This is where your instincts can guide you. When I show up and feel incredible and the weights feel like foam, I go to town. On the other hand, if I show up feeling sub-par, I listen closely to my instincts. They may be saying hey buddy let’s not force anything today and just have a good time pumping some iron. A funny thing happens. You never have a bad day at the gym listening to your instincts.
Weider, Draper, and many others have commended listening to instincts for decades, and let me tell you, they are on to something. It is akin to a magic or broadway show. Anticipation starts to build, the inspirational music starts, performers start showing up on stage, and before you know you are blasting away and having an absolute ball! The ugly alternative is trying, usually unsuccessfully, to heave and try to force a certain weight plus 5 pounds that you did last time when you felt like the incredible hulk. You miss the lift, confidence craters, and the rest of your day you are in the dumps. Your body and nervous system is zapped to hell. You start wondering if your life is in shambles and if you will ever recover. Here is a valuable training secret: you don’t have to kill yourself in training to get super results. It is productive to push yourself here and there to improve, but trying to force things is never wise. Remember, we are dealing with iron, gravity and an organism (your body). You aren’t going to kick iron's or gravity's asses any time soon, but you can become friends and they will let you build yourself up using them.
If you haven’t noticed, sometimes I struggle getting to the point. Here it is. Listen to what your instincts are telling you. Key point: you must first have acquired the exercise habit. If it isn’t a habit yet, your instincts may be saying “run for your life!!! DQ is just around the corner…”
If you walk in feeling like king kong, tear the place apart. Walk in like a shaking chihuahua, then let loose, pump some lighter weights, get the blood moving and play it by ear. Have fun. Whatever you do don’t make working out a dreadful chore, it should be enjoyable. Building up your body should be a positive and invigorating experience.
POWER OF OUR PROGRAM
Nancy and I wanted to take our productive group training to the next level with our new format. That is why you now have a choice. You already know that it is the best of both worlds: Training under the watchful eye of an experienced trainer while also enjoying the thrill of working with a group. Now to make it even better, now you can use instincts and have options. You don’t ever have to worry about trying to craft a productive training routine. We do all that grunt work for you. You get to show up and show out. If you walk in and feel like you want to get that heart thumping with high intensity interval training (HIIT) you can jump on that and push yourself with others. On the other hand, maybe you walk in wanting to kick back and pump some iron. You can pass on the conditioning portion and finish out with the extra lifting work.
Another winning strategy is to break your year up in cycles like so….
Goal Cycling Example: 1 YEAR PLAN
November-March BUILD UP LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE / GET STRONGER
April-July LEAN OUT / INCREASE CONDITIONING LEVEL (swim suit season: own the beach)
August-October MAINTENANCE / HAVE FUN
There are thousands of different ways you can construct and tweak this idea and with our new customizable approach you can make it happen. This is truly personal training with the fun of a team. An unbeatable combination in my humble opinion. You can now cater to your goals with our program at any time. Oh one last thing, don’t forget about heeding wisdom from your new best friend, instincts.
Beau Bradbury CSCS, CPT, CF-L2
Author of The Bradbury Muscle Course now available in Kindle version