11 Ways to Get More Out of Your Training and Improve as an Athlete.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.”
Life can seem overwhelming at times, leaving us paralyzed, worried or stressed about what may come. We all experience challenges. Some we can control and other things are completely out of our control. The key to making progress towards our goals is to proactively focus, attack and improve the things that we can control, while not getting sidelined by common obstacles.
11 Habits That You Can Use to Improve Your Life.
1. What you think.
Our thoughts and how we react to life's situations are the foundation of our success or failure. If you freak out about every little obstacle that comes your way, you are doomed. But on the flip side, all of us can learn to control our emotions more effectively and react more intelligently to life's challenges. This is good for your professional relationships (coaches, teammates, managers, sponsors, etc) as well as for your personal life. Learning to confidently navigate toward your goals is one of the most important factors in your climb to the top.
That little guy on your shoulder is powerful, so keep him in check, focus on your goals and stay positive as much as possible.
2. What you eat.
I've seen way too many athletes reacting throughout the day and eating whatever is convenient. It affects their energy levels, performance and negatively influences their ability to make weight. Keeping good, quality food around is a simple way to get in shape, stay in shape and perform at your best. Go buy some good food, learn to make a few meals and keep cooler with you so you stay consistent.
Feed your body like a champion. Good quality food will help you recover faster, increase your energy and improve your performance.
3. Showing up to practice.
I've written about this for years and it continues to be the #1 challenge that I see athletes struggle to overcome. If you miss one practice per week, thats 52 practices per year! Miss two per week and thats 100 practices per year! Compound that over a few years and it becomes obvious why some athletes continue to evolve and win, while others become stagnant and slip out of the winner's circle.
Consistency wins, period.
We all have good days and bad days, but the best athletes practice hard, compete even harder and take every opportunity to improve. From warm ups to sparring, workouts to recovery techniques, if you want to be the best, you've got to develop a champions mindset and attack every aspect of your training with a relentless focus. Remember, the difference between winners and losers is small, so you need every advantage you can get.
Treat your training like a job. Show up, do your very best from start to finish and then check out.
5. How you react to adversity - aches, pains, scheduling, personalities, injury, etc.
MMA, jiu jitsu, wrestling and other combat sports can take their toll on our bodies. The cruel , hard fact is, that its not if you are going to get injured, but when. Some can be avoided with good training, but some are simply a byproduct of contact sports. How you react to these situations is important. Some people disappear completely and quit, while others do what they can to stay engaged and continue to learn, adapt and improve.
We all have challenges, so take a deep breath and navigate them without flipping out.
One of the biggest issues with mma, jiu jitsu and many other sports is that we train way too hard, too often and do not give our bodies a chance to recover. This starts with having a good plan of attack, intelligent coaches and good body awareness. Too much, too hard, and too often is the fastest way to get sidelined, burned out and injured. Remember, developing the skill and strength to compete takes time, so work hard and get out of the gym. It will help your body recover and give your mind a break from the grind.
Take at least two days off every week and do something fun or relaxing. I promise that you will feel better and your performance will improve.
7. Your attitude.
Do you listen to your coaches or fight them every step of the way. Are you working hard toward your goals or waiting for them to be dropped in your lap? Are you helping your teammates improve or being selfish? The truth is that your attitude has a huge impact on how much others want to help you. If you're helpful, polite, encouraging and being a good example, people will rally behind you, but if you're always a victim, waste people's time, take advantage and expect people to bow at your presence, you are going to be a lonely person.
We are all in control of our attitude.
8. Stay thirsty.
The most successful people in the world are always learning and trying to improve. Don't let a little success get to your head, because there will always be someone else working hard to take you out. We can surround ourselves with good people, show up to practice, read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, attend workshops, ask questions and review old performances. Technology gives us access to more information than ever, so check yourself every week, assess your performances and see what you could do to improve.
Always be in a relentless pursuit for knowledge and continue to improve each week, no matter how successful you become.
9. Say 'thank you'.
No matter what anyone says, all combat sports are a team sport. Every great fighter has a team of people that have sacrificed time, knowledge, energy and money to help them succeed. Never forget to say thank you to your training partners, coaches, family and friends that have helped you along the way.
Take care of the people that are close to you and you'll be amazed how they rally around you.
10. Your budget.
I've seen countless fighters and grappler that complain about being broke, but they have cars, eat out for every meal, have new sneakers and go out every weekend. You can control your budget and develop some financial cushion for emergencies. You can live with family or friends, make food at home, stop going out on the weekends and many other things to keep your finances under control. This might not seem related to training, but I've watched finances sideline more athletes than you would believe.
A little discipline here will positively affect every area of your life and keep you from getting swallowed by life's surprises.
11. Asking for help.
If you ever find yourself struggling with any of these areas, get your ego out of the way and ask for help. Odds are, your family, friends, coaches or someone within reach has been there and done that. Ask for help and be patient with the people that provide advice.
Be humble, ask for help and you'll navigate challenges more efficiently.
If you want to perform at a high level, you'll need to be focused for years! One of the easiest ways to avoid distraction is to keep life's challenges from sidelining you or throwing you off course. Make good decisions, stay consistent and control the things that you can. You'll be happier, healthier and able to focus on your goals more effectively over time.