Dan John once told me, “You have attended everything that I have. You know my knowledge just as well as anyone, and you keep showing up.”
Well, why wouldn’t I?
I recently traveled across the U.S. to catch up with Dan John and Eric Cressey, two of the biggest influencers in my life whose knowledge continues to help me develop and grow the systems for Academy of Total Performance and Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institutes. Two coaches that pack a powerful punch when it comes to training.
From an early time in my career, I developed the awareness to understand that the people I surround myself around and the messages they instill in me would influence how I grow and live my life as a son, brother, friend, and coach. It is the messages, the “little things,” that bring context and meaning to the bigger picture. When your system (auditory, spatial, kinesthetic, etc.) is fully engaged in a learning style that is new or uncomfortable, it doesn’t pick up on the small pieces that the environment requires to be built on. In order to work towards the bigger picture, the system first views the new environment as a whole and then must become comfortable in order to be able to break down, process, and learn from the “little things.”Going to conferences and seminars that you are not highly versed in challenges you to truly understand the context of what a coach is saying.
Dan John: “Show up, perform the lifts, then you have the right to talk about it.”
Eric Cressey: “Over-deliver.”
These two quotes, when morphed together and put into context, sum up why I travel around the world to try to improve my craft. Dan has been my mentor and friend (more like family) for over 6 years, and Eric has mentored me for over 5 years.
Recently, I had the opportunity to assist Dan at an RKC in Utah (his house) and listen to Eric present on the shoulder in New York.
Hanging out at Dan’s is always an adventure. His dog, Sirius Black, runs around with chew toys close to his side, Bob (their robot cleaner), plays Rock’em, Sock’em Robots with the walls as it searches for dirt, and Dan is on course to conquer a 100 items of business before the clock strikes noon.
I have been to RKC in the past, yet this RKC was unique. Tim Anderson, the owner of Original Strength, was coming into recertify and we were both crashing at Dan’s. This meant resets and kettlebell for 3 days.
Yeah, I think I can live with that. As Ice Cube once said, “today was a good day.”
The little things I learned:
Dan John: “Stop chasing your one rep max.”
Takeaway: You spend a lot of neuromuscular energy when you chase the 1 rep max. Your recovery then has to be on point. We can’t forget about what goes on in the body after the lift. It takes days to recover from high neuromuscular training. Those days off could be fundamental lift days if you stop chasing the 1 rep max. What I mean by this is, what if you lift more often and at 60% max? Then your 60% gets easier and you increase the weight, which by default will increase your 1 rep max. This will allow your system to fully utilize its adaptation mechanisms to increase proper recovery. Adequate recovery gives you optimal potential.
Tim Anderson: “It feels good to feel good.”
Takeaway: I heard that and thought, “Yup! Tim gets it.” Tim’s words were so clear, yet ambiguous to a lot of us. Goals give us opportunities to do unimaginable things. They also give us time to create clarity. The process to accomplishing a goal is determined based on the clarity regarding the goals purpose, as well as is determined by the environment. The journey to the goal increases specific adaptive changes of movement. It takes blood, sweat and tears to reach a goal. Yet, after you enjoy the accomplishment, you must reciprocate and allow the body the time “to feel good” as well. Your psychological goals will allow for your imagination to run wild, but you need to create a partnership among the systems (neurological system, respiratory system, skeletal system, muscular system, immune system, etc.) that allow the psychological state to occur.
Eric Cressey: “Just because an exercise doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean that it isn’t causing problems. Think of the cigarette analogy; it’s one bad habit that won’t kill you in a day, but it can do so over an extended period of time.”
Takeaway: This is why you have to have clarity on your goal. Everything in movement has its purpose, however, depending on your goal, that purpose may not be ideal in the end. The hard pill to swallow is the “right now.” When an exercise feels good in the moment, there is a tendency to glance over on if it was truly beneficial towards what you were trying to accomplish. When you get hurt during a movement, you immediately analyze and blame what you did wrong at that moment, when in actuality it was repetitive patterns done continuously over time. These repetitive patterns eventually reach a limit threshold, which causes the body to send out signals and give you a reality check. This is what we call “right now” thinking. When you are completing repetitive movements that are not ideal for the progress of your goal, your internal alarm system goes off and lets you know to adjust, slow down, and/or stop the movement. Processing instant and gradual performance feedback, as well as informative feedback (how to improve) will allow for clarity to occur to help you understand what happened.
Showing up and listening to the little things shapes your “why,” your purpose for creating your goals, and brings clarity to your mission. Consistency then allows learning styles to adapt and creates familiarity to your vision. It is all about “the little things.”
All you have to do now is show up.