When it comes to success, long-term is key. Ever heard the saying “there are no shortcuts on the way to achieving excellence”? Well, it’s true. They say it takes an Olympic athlete 10,000 hours of training and competing to reach the top of their game. Ok, so you might not be aiming for an Olympic podium position, but if you want to avoid failure, it’s important you understand what goes into a sustainable training routine that guarantees continuous improvement.
The long-term training plan
Think of your training as an industrialized operation - it requires a method. An effective training program fosters athletic development over time. The key term here is “over time”. This is important because physical stress has long-term effects on the body. What we mean by this is that desired results won’t happen straight away or even from one week to the next. It is the sum of all previous training and adaptation that produces athleticism. Even exercise or sports done during childhood will affect athleticism during adult years and it’s often the case that many who played football as a child or teenager find they have a relatively good condition when they are older, even though they may not have done any sports for years. That’s why it’s not enough to follow a short-term weight loss program or a get fit quick fix. You have to have a long-term strategy. But what does a long-term strategy look like?
A sustainable training program involves 3 stages:
Your year should be split into 3 to 4 cycles. Each training plan within the cycle should have a different focus, e.g. cardio, strength etc., and include the following 3 stages: preparation, competition and transition. The preparation phase trains the body for overall fitness and works on general strengthening and conditioning. The competition phase includes taking on a measurable challenge that you’ve trained for throughout the preparation phase. Last, is the transition phase. This is a chance to transition to a method that is different than your usual. People who make the mistake of continuously choosing a training plan that worked for them in the past and trying it again and again, will stop seeing results sooner or later. In order to progress, you must continuously challenge your body by adding variety.
The long-term mindset
Long-term athletic development is equal part mindset and training. Of course it’s good to set short-term goals, but in order to succeed, as soon as you’ve reached one you must be prepared to begin working towards the next. The concept of continuous improvement comes from the Japanese industrial philosophy known as Kaizen. Although the Kaizen approach was developed in the manufacturing sector to lower defects and encourage worker purpose and accountability, the principles can be applied almost anywhere, especially in the field of sports.
The Kaizen philosophy in sports
Kaizen is all about creating continuous improvement through small, ongoing changes that can reap major improvements in the long run. By following the principles which make up the core Kaizen philosophy you can achieve the correct mindset required for long-term results. These principles include: letting go of assumptions, being proactive about solving problems, not accepting the status quo, letting go of perfectionism and taking an attitude of adaptive change. But the most important principle is never stop improving - this is key to any individuals performance as an athlete. Remember...there is always more you can achieve.
To round things up, our mission is to help you achieve long-term athletic development. By continuously improving yourself, using the principles of the Kaizen philosophy, together with a sustainable training plan that includes preparation, competition and variety, you can reach higher levels and uncover new strengths. It’s all about challenging yourself, making a promise to never give up and also not being afraid to try something new. Next time you reach a goal or finish a training plan, switch it up and tackle something you’ve never done before.
Success is never final. Start now. Stop never.