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What’s Your Speed Bump…

By Alex On September 25, 2009 Under How To Run Faster

Thursday’s always bring some interesting revelations for me…

I found myself last night discussing some intense psychology stuff with a couple friends. If you knew me personally, you’d know how interested I was in the psychological aspects of not just training, but life in general: Social dynamics, human influence and body-language related stuff all dominate my bookshelf when I’m not reading about training.

Anyways, like I said, I was discussing some deep psychological ideas last night. We were talking about how certain people can learn to associate different feelings and emotion with almost anything, and when they hear, see or feel this “thing”, those emotions can be brought to the forefront.

Easy Example #1- You’re driving in your car, and all of the sudden a song comes on the radio that you haven’t heard in years. Let’s say this was a song you used to listen to with an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, and one you both truly enjoyed together.

Well, even though it’s been years, you’re probably going to instantly feel all those things (in your car) that you used to feel with your significant other. It’s likely you’ll go into an emotional state and since it’s a song you two used to enjoy together, you’ll probably enter a state of “happy nostalgia”.

Twenty seconds ago, you had none of those feelings, but right when you heard this song, your state completely changed and so did your mood. That’s called anchoring, and  it’s ridiculously interesting (to me!).

Not all of it is necessarily good though. Lots of people have different things that they have anchored to sad/angry/depressed  feelings and upon seeing/hearing/feeling those things, they are sent right back to those undesirable states.

Anyways, that’s what we were talking about, and mid-conversation, something (almost completely unrelated, still in the psychology realm though) hit me…

…what is my speed bump? What’s your speed bump?

Or in other words, what is it that’s holding us back from attaining our training goals? Why do some people have no problem working towards and achieving their goals, while others always seem to stay in the same place?

In my personal opinion, I think there are couple major reasons preventing us from always moving forward:

1. We get so caught up with so many different things and ideas. Sometimes, we’ll even start to over-analyze so much, we get way deeper than we would ever need to. And when we’re bombarded with so many different distractions, we literally get tied down, and NO real action is ever taken.

2. When we do get over all of those training distractions and do end up taking action, the action we take is whack. It’s not “moving-forward” action, it’s usually actions that takes us in every direction, BUT forward.

So even when we do end up taking action, we still end up getting nowhere.

For instance, I know people who:

-work their butts off and have seen no results in YEARS

-have tried everything in the bag, only to find none of “it” worked for them

-have actually traveled across the country for weeks at a time to train at certain facilities only to find it still did little to nothing for them

So, what is the point of all of this? How is this going to help you?

The point is that our focus and planning is way too discombobulated, all over the place, and we don’t have enough focus in our training to truly improve consistently.

Take a step back. Visualize and remember where you were one year ago today, as an athlete or fitness enthusiast.

For 98% of the people reading this, there will be little to no difference between that person a year ago, and where you are today. I think it’s time we all put and end to this nonsense today, and start truly improving ourselves. So…

Do this exercise (I’m going to do it too, after I explain it right now).

Answer these three questions (answers don’t have to be long or complete, just make sure they make sense to you).

1. What is the one thing you want as an athlete, more than anything else?

2. What is your biggest physical limitation that’s holding you back from achieving the answer to Number One?

3. What will it take for you to conquer the answer to Number Two? What changes will you have to make?

Here’s my responses:

1. At this point in my life, my goals are focused on muscle mass. I want to continue adding more and more lean muscle mass to my frame while staying in my body-fat range (never more than 10% body-fat). Specifically, I want to add 10 more lbs. of lean, explosive muscle mass.

2. Besides my own genetic limitations, I haven’t been doing a good enough job of dieting in order to gain the lean muscle I want. I know exactly how many calories I need from which macronutrients, but I often get bored of such minutia, and end up completely overlooking it. While I don’t have to become a stickler for every last calorie, better attention to detail here would go a long way (as my training has been so on point these last few months as well).

3. Set up a dieting plan that I can follow, that will work for me and won’t require me to be thinking about it all day for it to work (I’m going to write mine up right after I finish writing this).

And that’s it for me.

I now know the Number One thing that’s holding me back from what I want, and I now have a specific plan that will kick it right in the butt! And pretty soon, what’s holding me back today won’t even be an issue.

Now, it’s time for you to stop going nowhere, re-focus and start getting RESULTS.

Your first step is completing this simple exercise honestly, then simply taking care of the biggest thing holding you back.

So in a month or two when you look back at this with your current “speed bump” completely taken care of, you’ll laugh at how long it took you to finally start making some real changes in your training.

So, here are the questions again. Answer them below in the Comments section, so the entire world can not only see, but to hold YOU accountable for making some serious changes in your life!

Answer these three questions (answers don’t have to be long or complete, just make sure they make sense to you).

1. What is the one thing you want as an athlete, more than anything else?

2. What is your biggest physical limitation that’s holding you back from achieving the answer to Number One?

3. What will it take for you to conquer the answer to Number Two? What changes will you have to make?

I look forward to seeing your response below, I’ll be reading all of them!

-Alex

(NOTE: I am NOT a psychologist, nor am I professionally trained in psychology. It is simply a big-time hobby, and while the info and exercise above are very simple views on things, their effectiveness is not. Since over-analyzation is a major reason why we continue to hold ourselves back, I feel staying as far away from over-analyzing and keeping things simple and shallow in this newsletter is easily most prudent. As Albert Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”)

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15 comments - add yours
Jared

September 25, 2009

1) I want to be better than my opponent at everything I do. That is my mindset.
2) A lack of proper training is holding me back. Although my athleticism is taking over now, it would be a good idea for me to get a good head start on proper explosive strength training. I am a freshman in high school looking tips on getting stronger for baseball and basketball.
3) I would need good tips for helping increase speed, agility, vertical, etc. Also the proper nutrition.

Karol

September 25, 2009

1. I want to jump higher (Specifically getting my shoulders above an 8ft volleyball net). I’m 6’0 and am getting my chin on net consistently so I need at least another 6 inches of running vert.

2. My biggest limitation is my weak thighs. I’m able to still hit a 30 inch vert on average, ranging anywhere from 27-33 (on good days), but I can only squat about 155 lbs and my joints pay the price for my weak muscles in compensation when I jump.

3. I need to keep track of how much I can lift weekly with my squat and deadlift and make sure to beat it, whether its weight or rep wise everytime, so I KNOW I’m making progress.

Mystery

September 26, 2009

Have you read “the Game” by my friend Neil Strauss (or Style as he is better known)? Something tells me you have, and it is one of your favorites. However if you have not, I highly recommend it. There is some very interesting information about anchoring and how it can be related to picking up women. enjoy.

stae

September 26, 2009

1. I wanan do wateva it takes to go do the nba.
2. I lack of strength,size,hardiness,vertical jump,stamina and a bit of speed.
3. Gotta be determine and probably start hittign the gym as fast as possible .And have patience too.

Alex

September 26, 2009

Wow, some killer answers already…

And for my friend, the “other” Mystery, I have read The Game…one of the best books on social influence and and dynamics that I’ve read up to this point (in the sub-text of course). And the “anchoring” you’re talking about is actually a part of a practice called NLP invented by Richard Bandler in the 70’s. Do a Google search for it…Tony Robbins is big into it too.

I actually have a couple mutual friends with Neil so I have a feeling I’m going to get to meet the guy pretty soon. And if YOU haven’t, read the rest of his books…terrific writer that Neil Strauss.

Jason Hruban

September 26, 2009

1. I want to achieve the strength and speed I know I am capable of to go with my talent for football, so that I can feel fulfilled as an athlete. Knowing that I reached my full potential.
2. I lack the knowledge as well as the discipline to be able to diet in a way that can help me get strong and lower my body fat percentage.
3. I have to get with a nutritionist or someone that I can trust to help me create a diet plan that will help me achieve my specific goals. I also have to stop cheating myself and realize what I want is only some hard work away.

Christopher

September 26, 2009

1. I want to be mechanically perfect. I want to have full ROM in all joints, no scar tissue limiting me, muscular balance in the the squat, all in order to lay the foundation for real progress.

2. Lack of consistency in flexibility/strength exercises. Lack of knowlege with how to do it most efficiently.

3. It will take planning the exercises and a plan to test outcomes every week or so. I will have to write this out and make it simple enough to stick to it every day.

Zak

September 26, 2009

1. I want to be a dominating basketball player when i play.
2. I lack stamina, explosiveness, good vertical jump
3. Gotta focus on main lifts –squats and deadlifts and do HIIT

Anais

September 26, 2009

1. I want to be a better player a be better than my opponent.
2. I am not that fast, and lack of stamina, and explosiveness also vertical jump.
3. I got to focus on my lifts. and run more.

adf

September 26, 2009

i want to be able to jump off one foot and am willing to do whatever it takes. but i just dont know what it takes

jarod

September 27, 2009

Hey Alex, what youve written here I think is right on. I have an off topic question im hoping youll be able to answer for me, i have your quickness chronicles i workout 2 times a week with weights i was wondering if on a 3rd day can i do your quickness chonricles all of week 1 on the same day? so the speed absorption and endurance work all in the one session? will i still get results? thanks

Joker

September 27, 2009

Hi there,
Ugh, I liked! So clear and positively.
Thank you
Joker

Alex

September 27, 2009

1. I want to make varsity bball team freshman year. And to make it to CU and play bball there.
2. Ball handling and confidence.
3. To work on ball handling everyday as well as confidence when I have the ball. And not give up. This is the only thing holding me back. I can do it.
-Alex

troy

September 29, 2009

Hey Mate,

For Square Jumps it says to do 3 x 30 so is that 30 laps each way, 15 laps each way, 30 contacts per direction or 30 contacts per set???

Thanks

Neal

February 12, 2010

1. Speed. Top End Speed. My 40 y dash is a paltry 5.9s
2. Strength and body fat. Best squat is 95k:2×5,1×4. Deadlift 108.27kg:2×5,1×4.
Bodyweight is 70kg at 17% bodyfat.
3.Dramatically push up strength in both squats and deadlifts. But how i don’t
know 🙁 And how to reduce bodyfat given that Indian food is so carbohydrate
rich. So yeah basically I don’t know how to rapidly make strength gains AND
drop bodyfat with Indian food.