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Team Conditioning Systems:
Make Up Your Mind

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

As I go into my 12th year in the fitness business, I've grown to understand that there will be days that instead of pushing athletes I will be pulling them. There will be days when the motivation to train at peak levels will be at an all time low. There are times that as I walk into our training facility I see athletes sitting outside working on getting into the right frame of mind. This could be caused by many different reasons, but more often than not I've found it to be due to lack of desire and/or focus.

With that being said, the question that is asked most is "What adjustment needs to be made?" When that question is asked with regards to motivation, it is the first sign that this aspect of your training protocol needs to be re-examined. What's missing from your protocol? Is it a lack of a plan or a loss of enjoyment, confidence, and focus? If you find that you are missing any or all of these elements, it could be the cause of the decrease in your motivation to train. In order to create a positive change you must first identify what the cause is, and then work to correct it.

If you are no longer having as much fun as you used to, the first place to look for change is the activity you are involved in. Weight trainers might want to get outside and do something totally different, and tennis players might want to play basketball or soccer. Don't be afraid of doing something unrelated to your activity of choice. The great thing about exercise is that it comes in many different forms and they can all be equally effective.

Focus is thought of as one's ability to concentrate. If you find your mind wandering because 'you aren't with it', know that the best way to combat this is to relax and learn to trust. In order to do that you need to first develop a training protocol that is comprehensive.

Design one that will take into account your goals and how you plan on reaching them, and keep you on track as to what body parts are the focus of each session, sets, reps, and rest. Then trust in your ability to have accomplished this correctly and let success happen. Know that there will be adjustments but by doing this you have laid the groundwork for future success. This protocol needs to be referred to before and throughout each session, from warm-up to cool-down. In doing this, nothing can interfere with your ability to reach your goals.

When desire is lacking, you might find yourself doubting your ability to reach your goals, and this is where confidence comes into play. I truly believe that confidence is a choice. You can choose to be confident, but the choice must be grounded in commitment. Without a commitment to the process your ability to succeed will be greatly impaired. By analyzing your strengths and weaknesses you will be able to commit to a protocol that fills your needs and you will be amazed at how much easier life gets.

Lastly, be positive. Once again, you have a choice. If you miss a session or a goal, you can choose to get angry, or you can decide to learn from this episode and work to prevent it from happening again. When that little person in your head starts to talk, and we all know this will happen, how you respond to that person is totally up to you. Remember that you have control over that voice as well.

When looking at the big picture, reaching your training goals is a step by step process in which motivational valleys are to be expected. These valleys are a great opportunity to revisit your plan and make any and all physical or psychological adjustments. Believe in your choice, and in the end watch as you make gains continuously and efficiently.

Photos by Art Redd

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.
For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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