You guys. Last week we talked about reshaping your workout routine and dropping our Cardio Queen status a few workouts each week. Did you catch it? If not, feel free to read it here. Cliff’s Notes on that post is that doing ONLY cardio won’t get you the body you want. But, being smart, and dropping a few cardio days for some strength training days WILL.
Here’s the thing though. For some reason with fitness….doesn’t matter if it’s cardio or lifting or WHATEVER, we can convince ourselves that every day MUST be a hard day. A “leave everything in a pile of sweat on the floor” type of feeling. Or, as I like to refer to it…..Beast Mode. It’s also easy to get fitness A.D.D. and try to Beast Mode at too many fitness things at once.
And here’s the truth. Beast Mode DOES have a place sometimes. That’s the keyword….sometimes. There are certainly days when we are feeling friggin’ amazing, and it’s a good day to test the limits. And there are also certain times in your year where you just wanna go with the flow for a month or two and do random workouts and fun shit and not focus on something specific because life.
But, EVERY WORKOUT is not a Beast Mode day. There is no way to improve when Beast Mode is every day. Your body gets fried, your muscles don’t recover, your nervous system becomes a wreck, and to be honest….you are injuries (yes plural) waiting to happen. And it’s also a good way to NOT get better. And every day, if you want to improve your strength game, is also not a “just wing it” sort of day either.
So, I have a little way to secretly still date Beast Mode sometimes, BUT still stay healthy and injury free and still improving (and liking!) your workouts.
Become BFF’s with being PURPOSEFUL about your workouts.
Most of us never stop and think about the purpose behind our workouts. That’s actually really pretty normal. We are all just trying to get more fit, right? And maybe we see a cool workout or move on YouTube that looks amazing, and we try to copy it, whether or not it’s a good thing for us to be doing. I know I used to never consider WHY I did WHAT. Then I started learning, and eventually became an RKC and personal trainer and learned that holy buckets, WHY we do what we do in the gym is really freaking important, lol.
When I started paying attention and learning how to program my workouts intelligently, I got better at the skills I was working on. A LOT better. I started learning that I can’t just throw a bunch of stuff into a workout and call it good if my purpose was really to get better at whatever my focus was at the time.
Here are a few examples:
- After Emma was born, I struggled for a good year with my workouts and getting them in consistently. I also struggled with wanting to just beast on the days I DID actually work out, and that wasn’t a very healthy approach to a postpartum body….my body needed a tuning up of strength and awareness BEFORE beasting. And so, my purpose wasn’t necessarily getting more awesome at a few skills, my goal was to get more consistent with my fitness again. This was easy to plan and program, as I was just focusing on general fitness. Strength training three times a week, with plenty of walking on off days. My strength workouts were the basic movement patterns, mostly kettlebells, dumbbells, and bodyweight as tools, and mostly just a good honest mix of hinges, lunging, squatting, pushing, and pulling three days each week. I began nailing consistency because I took away the need to beast. I also got stronger overall…..which was perfect because………
- I began training for the RKC with a body that was READY for more. The RKC is demanding, and tests six kettlebell skills for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. I was lucky to have a kettlebell coach to help me prepare. For the RKC, I trained those six skills five days a week, rotating between medium intensity days, hard days (eff that snatch test practice), and swing volume days (OMG). I trained HARD with purpose for about five months before hitting the RKC. My training program was basically three strength days (with waving the volume of lifts each week), plus a weekly snatch test, and a weekly complex day, where I basically cussed for 25 minutes straight with heavy double kettlebells in the darkness of early January mornings. I was in the right frame of mind for that training, I had a deadline, and my purpose was be awesome and freaking pass.
- After the RKC, I was done mentally with JUST kettlebells for a bit. I completely switched my approach, and found a powerlifting coach. For three months, my purpose was get better at the big three of powerlifting – bench, squat, deadlift. I LOVED this change after the RKC. I was mentally ready to do something different, and because of the base of amazing strength and conditioning I had built up from RKC prep, not to mention alllllll the movement patterns I had worked to perfect, my body was like EFFFFFF YASSSSS, let’s go heavy.
Here’s the point of all these words I’m rambling through.
I had a purpose with each fitness “thing” I wanted to do. While I was training for the RKC, I wasn’t ALSO trying to train for a 5K. My body would have rebelled, and that would have been too much, and a road to injury. My PURPOSE was the RKC.
While I was focused on powerlifting, I wasn’t doing an RKC snatch test once a week. I was using kettlebell lifts as assistance work, but NOT training to train kettlebell skills PLUS my powerlifting program. Again, would have been too much. My PURPOSE was getting better at powerlifting.
Another example – my best fitness friend Jen and I have a coaching group going on right now called Jacked Runner. Our Jacked Runner crew has the PURPOSE of becoming stronger runners, and so yes, they still lift, BUT how their program is put together is different from just straight strength training to allow them to prioritize their running while still staying strong.
Here’s why I’m telling you this. Because it’s easy to want to get better at alllll the things and do alllll the cool things that we see on the Crossfit Games, on Youtube, on social media. And they are all cool, and that’s awesome. BUT, if you want to get better at something, you can’t always do that PLUS 10 other fitness things. Your workouts program needs to all flow together to make you BETTER, more PURPOSEFUL, at the few things you want to improve at. If you are going hard in the gym 4-5x per week and still trying to sprint on your off days, we need to take a look at your true purpose, and cut the meaningless stuff while focusing on getting you better at what you want. You know?
And I want to tie this all back together with Beast Mode. You CAN Beast Mode some days here and there when you’ve been purposeful with your training. Because your body has built this amazing base of skills, and strength, and you’ve worked on those skills over and over and over and your body is WIRED to do them well, and probably in your sleep. So when it’s that unicorn day in the gym, and things are feeling easy, your body is READY to push the limits that day to maybe set a new PR. Your body is NOT ready to Beast Mode when you’ve haphazardly thrown together your workouts for a year, and now you want to do a Crossfit workout that combines working up to a max effort push press, a rope climb, 75 deadlifts, and 200 box jumps. That’s an injury waiting to happen on an untrained body with no solid base of preparation in sight.
So, what’s your purpose? General fitness improvement? Powerlifting? A faster 10K time? A figure competition? Twelve weeks of focused fat loss? Rehabbing a postpartum body and working at safely re-entering the weight room? Choose ONE thing and focus on it for a while.
We need to identify the purpose and not just throw fitness shiz at the wall and hope it sticks and we magically pull a 300 pound deadlift off the ground.
A coach can help you here, BIG TIME. Because coaches have a way of taking out the BS, finding your weaknesses that, if trained properly, will help you get better at what you want to get better at. We can also help you be purposeful with what your overall training picture looks like. Finding a good coach sounds scary, and really it’s not. It’s a really smart way to help you lock down your purpose and plan to get from Point A to Point B with a smart and realistic plan.
Think about what you want to get better at…..your PURPOSE.
Plan 2-3 months of training surrounding just that.
Execute and enjoy the journey.
Get better, take some notes, keep record of what you learned so you know what to do next.
That’s the secret recipe.
What things are YOU working on in your training? What’s your purpose? Let’s chat about it on my Facebook page!