At Pursuit Athletic Performance we take very seriously our role in cutting through the marketing hype, and the truly bad advice out there about what works in training. It’s central to our mission.
The other day on our Facebook page, I shared some truthful advice that athletes sometimes don’t want to hear. That advice is:
Instead of trying to press on the gas pedal harder, why don’t you take your foot off of the brakes.
What’s it does it mean?
Athletes who are uninformed think getting stronger and faster is all about working “harder,” sweating more, and just being “tougher.”
But what if that joint or muscle you’re hammering on while you are “toughing it out” is stiff or restricted in its motion,and it’s likely that restriction is there for very good reason. Perhaps there is instability in a nearby joint that is at high risk of being injured or damaged? Pushing harder just increases inefficiency and brings you much closer to injury.
Is that smart? Not in my book.
You can’t train when you’re hurt.
Every athlete loves to use the word “efficiency” knowing (at least in some intellectual way), that being more efficient means they can go faster with less effort. Let’s put it this way. If your bike’s brake pad is sticking on your wheel, do you try to FIX IT so you don’t have to work so hard to make the bike go? Or do you just hammer on the pedals harder, and try to “overcome” the sticky pad?
Of course you fix it, yet athletes do the latter every freaking day–with their OWN BODY.
When I posted these thoughts, I also came across a post by colleague Pat Flynn. Pat is a well-known, very smart, enlightened strength coach and author who works every day like I do to be a truth-teller to athletes lost in the weeds of worn out training paradigms, or swept up in current, fad programs.
I think you should take a minute to read what Pat has to say below about hearing the truth as an athlete.
There are coaches like Pat and myself who are out there fighting the good fight everyday. Our main–and only true–goal is to make you the strongest, fastest, most powerful, and healthiest athlete you can be. And to do that, hearing and facing the TRUTH is part of the deal.
Pat and I will be doing a podcast on this topic in a few weeks, and I’m sure it will be an awesome discussion. Will keep you posted!
THANKS TO PAT FLYNN FOR ALLOWING US TO REPOST.
You can find his website and writings at The Chronicles of Strength, and his Facebook page here.
Sometimes the only thing harder than hearing the truth, is telling it. In most cases the truth is alarming.
And hearing it makes us uncomfortable. Because rarely is the truth warm and gentle and kind.
When I seek coaches, I can tell I’ve found an effective one by the number of times they’ve “hurt my feelings” simply by stating the plain facts (mostly those I don;t want to admit to myself), but at the same time inspiring me to move beyond my errors and reach for loftier heights.
This has happened a nearly innumerable number of times in my past. All my coaches have been callous, unpleasant, and effective.
It continues to happen today, and it will continue to happen for until I get flattened by a bus.
Because if my feelings aren’t getting hurt, then I get the feeling I’m being lied to. Because I know there is always something I can do better, should do better, must do better.
I have been accused at times by clients, both online and off, of being “a jerk”. But I do not think this is accurate.
If you ask me a question, I will be direct. And I’m direct because I care.
If you are my client, either online or off, I will be even more direct. The closer you work with me, the more truth you get, and the more your feelings might “get hurt”.
And if I think you’re movement looks like a pile of slop, that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you.
But all of this emanates from the same source: a deep desire to see you improve.
I’m not a jerk, really. I’m just a truth teller.
And what separates the jerk from the truth teller is this: The jerk hurts your feelings by the MANNER in which he says something (true or not). The truth teller, by the MATTER.
If the truth hurts, it hurts—no matter how you put it.
I tell the truth to highlight areas of improvement and to encourage you to reach for loftier heights. Don’t come to me looking for a pat on the back. This Pat hardly gives pats.
And the truth is this: you will not move far as long as you are comfortable.
As your coach, I have to prick you with the truth, from time to time, to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
I will admit that my style isn’t for everybody. It certainly wasn’t for me 12 years ago, when any sort of criticism made my underpants tighten up, and I’d avoid any critical situation like a porta potty.
But for as long as I avoided them, my personal growth was retarded.
It wasn’t until I learned to listen deeply to the truth that it finally “set me free.”