As I drove to the dentist office this morning I realized a few lessons I had learned from Dan John a few months back via his blog. Training = Teeth Cleaning? Hear me out, sitting in the dentist chair while the nice hygienist paused between cleaning various areas of my mouth I explained to her that no matter how much I floss or brush I can’t quite get the areas she is able to. Her answer was one of sure brilliance: “I hear ya, the most important thing is that you floss everyday, and most people simply don’t.” How true is this statement regarding our society’s health and/or our athlete’s development? Besides the 2-3 hours (maybe 4) our athletes spend at our facilities improving athleticism via lifting, foam rolling, conditioning, developing power, learning how to decelerate, etc…how many are going home and taking care of their health everyday? I am by no means perfect, on occasion I enjoy drinking beers or having a big dessert with family, and don’t always get the best sleep.
The 10% wrong isn’t the issue, the other 23 hours of the day is. Being healthy or increasing performance is about creating habits of consistency. When you stick to a program 3-4x/week (even 2x/week) for a month, write a new phase and continue along that path with a desire and motivation, the athlete improves. Of course, factors such as age, experience, type of sport, their goals, their human structure, sleep patterns, diet, as well as the crazy amount of life stressors (family, work, girlfriend/boyfriend, etc…) affect their programming, their health, and their performance. However, staying consistent with showing up, performing lifts correctly, putting effort into the foam roll, stretching afterwards (actually stretching!), and conditioning adequately all need to be habits consistently done and done well. Here is a quote from Dan John on flossing and our athletic development that can help me easily sum up my message…
“The idea is to take care of my health the half hour before bed (fiber, flossing, supps) and the window of time around my shower in the morning. I think that habit is the secret to health. I buckle up every time I drive SIMPLY because the system alerts me to do it every time. Health is the same thing. It’s simply flossing twice a day…but how do I insure I do it? One idea is to have floss sticks in the car and floss while you drive. Another is to simply have a ritual. Either works, of course.
I think health is the component that most people miss when they ask about training. It really comes down to simply having a ritual, a healthy ritual, that insures you do the little things that may help insure health. If you can take care of this in a short morning and evening ritual, simply a habit, you can save some of that mental energy for training. It’s simple.”
Create habits when training, at work, and at home that are simple. Simple works.
Links Cited: My Fat Loss Clients and “Everything Works”