No matter your individual athletic goals, each of these four things should be pillars in your training. Important alone but each supports the other as well.
What is mindset? How do we shape it, prepare it, and maintain it?
What is nutrition? How can we optimize it, afford it, and keep it consistent?
What is movement? How do we train it, make time for it, and refine it?
What is recovery? How can we make it faster, easier, and more efficient?
The first pillar. Mindset.
Mindset; noun, an attitude, disposition or mood; an intention or inclination
It’s about dedicating oneself towards a goal with the full understanding of what it takes to accomplish it.
We set our intentions every day, from the moment we wake up. They may transform, shift, or alter slightly throughout and may be changed by outside influence or interference, however in the end only we are at the helm. Our intentions drive our outcomes, ultimately and hopefully supporting our goals. Consider how your mindset will or has effected your performance on or off the field or competition floor as both are equally important.
A quick reflection, can you recall a time you have let a poor mindset lead to a negative result? On the other hand, who has felt a positive mindset lead to favorable results? I know I can recall both. Learn from your results and empower yourself with the outcomes.
No one is 100% perfect, no one expects you to be 100% perfect, but be conscious of your mindset. Use tools, easy buttons and routines to help keep it on course. Music, art, books, games, etc., these are all tools to help us in shaping our mindset in the short and long term. Start your day with something that supports healthy thought and I am sure you will feel the effects.
For me my morning routine keeps me focused and prepared for my next task, athletic or not. Keeping my mind organized and in sync, allowing me to adapt to my changing environment but stay honed on my goals.
If and when I find myself feeling “off”, stressed from life’s challenges, or out of rhythm, I reflect, reevaluate, and refocus.
Prepare for your next move with a quality frame of mind, and you’re one big step closer to succeeding.
The second pillar. Nutrition.
This topic comes with some serious baggage and for good reason. I could probably use up 50 pages discussing more detailed outlines. I am not here to pitch a one size fits all plan, as that isn’t a realistic approach to athletic nutrition but I will cover the basis of why nutrition is so important to your foundation of success.
Nutrition; noun, the act or process of nourishing or being nourished; the process by which organisms take in and utilize food material.
Nutrition provides the foundational support to fuel the body and mind, and maximize performance.
No doubt about it, everyone eats, but what are you eating? What is my foods role in supporting my goals and performance, and how is it fueling my body? As I said earlier there is more than one way to peel this orange, calories, macro nutrients, portioning, timing, supplements, Paleo, low carb, high carb, low fat, organic, non GMO the list goes on and on and on.
We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, right? A good mantra, but let’s tweak it just a bit.
“You are what you eat, ate.” What went into making the food you consume? How whole and natural are the ingredients? Of the many questions to be asked first and foremost consider the quality.
Imagine you are building a house, you use poor grade materials, and randomly piece them together with no design, no plans, and no outline. Sure you ended up with a shelter, but how long will it last? Maybe one year, two, more?
Your mind and body are that house, and it’s your call to decide how long it will last, and how it will weather the years. Make a plan and make it last a lifetime.
Use clean ingredients from quality sources, make an outline and keep it simple. Fuel your body for performance and I can guarantee, you will almost instantly see results.
Take a look at this short video.
Parents empower your youth athletes, help teach them to cook and prepare quality meals, learn what is and isn’t fueling them and you for success and provide an avenue for a healthy lifetime of sport and activity. Quality in = Quality out
The third pillar. Movement.
Movements change between sport, however implementing the philosophy and methodology stays consistent.
Movement; noun, the act, process, or result of moving; a particular style or manner of moving; usually, movements, actions or activities, as of a person or a body of persons.
Movement is essential for improving performance. However, it’s about moving your body better.
This pillar should be consistent in your daily routine as well as in your training. Teach your body to move better, more efficient, and more frequently.
“Practice makes perfect.” This is another good message that we have probably heard countless times. However I think we can improve on it a bit.
“Perfect practice makes permanent.” Doesn’t this apply a bit better to all movement and sports or activities of all kinds? Isn’t our goal consistent quality performance? Yes, every rep, every drill, every practice, every shot, every play, and every movement counts. Remember its training and no one is perfect, so you won’t always be perfect, learn from your struggle, reflect on your challenges, hammer your weaknesses and demand quality of yourselves. Don’t settle, and you will continue to grow without limits.
Trust in your coaches, trust in your training, trust in your movement, and ultimately trust in yourselves, keeping quality movement consistent.
The fourth pillar. Recovery.
Recovery; Noun, the act of recovering, restoration or return to health from sickness, restoration or returning to any former or better state or condition, the time that is required for recovery.
Recovery allows the mind and body to re-energize and prepare for the next day’s activity.
Not any less important than the rest and often times overlooked. Movement stresses systems in your body breaking things down, recovery adapts to those stresses, rebuilds and makes connections to better prepare you for future events.
Recovery can be active and passive, both are valuable and should be implemented consistently. Active recovery on off days can be as easy as going for a walk, hike, skateboarding, biking, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, or participating in other recreational sports. Keeping the activity at a low intensity will yield the best results and are especially effective in the days following harder training sessions or events.
Passive recovery is also necessary, allowing the mind and body to achieve a prolonged state of rest.
Hands down the most important passive recovery, which we all take part in, is sleep. Sleep is our natural reset, repairing, restoring, and clearing our mind and body. This is another topic that begs for more time, but as before I will keep it simple.
Keep your focus on consistent quality. How well rested are you? Reflect for one second on the other three pillars, Mindset, Nutrition, and Movement, each of these has an impact on the other and each of these effects your sleep. A clear mind, rests well, a well fueled body, rests well, and a well moved body, rests well. Add these up and the sum will surely equal success.
Lastly with regard to recovery, let’s dive a little deeper into the effects of sleep on one area of your body, a particularly important one at that, your brain. The following will give some insight into one reason why recovery during sleep is crucial.
In conclusion, your Mindset drives motivation. Keep it on course. Nutrition supports a healthy mind and body. Keep it clean. Movement improves performance. Keep it quality. Recovery restores and revitalizes. Keep it consistent.