Beginners sessions and doing things ‘RIGHT’, Food Matters, Grand Final Day

Hi and welcome to another week,

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there.  I know it is always a great day in my house (how can it not be when everyone brings me presents) and I hope everyone else out there had a similar experience.

It was a great week in the gym last week with some pretty challenging classes.  Last Monday really taught me for once and for all that there is a MASSIVE difference between ‘normal’ pushups and ‘STRICT’ pushups.  Sets of five (5), every minute on the minute on each of the bag stations (heavy bags, light/combo bags and shields) really left a mark and I feel like I have been struggling to ‘truly’ recover ever since.  Then again, somehow I ‘ran into’ Body Work classes on both Thursday and Saturday that featured floor press and more push-ups…regardless, my chest/shoulders feel like they have been well and truly ‘cooked’ all week.

The schedule for this week looks great.  There is a great core focus with Bear Crawls back on the program, the renewed focus on ‘bag work’ warm-ups continues (is there a better way to get the session started???), our Metabolic circuit makes a return late in the week (as usual, coupled with an every minute on the minute bike challenge!) and the ‘group’ walking lunges are making their first appearance for what feels like a really (really) long time.  Further to the schedule, we have some shift changes as well – so you might see a different face running things at your ‘normal’ session…changes are good for everyone!

I have found myself taking a few more Beginners classes than usual lately – every Friday at 5pm in fact – and each week when I have done it I have found a few of our ‘gym regulars’ in the session.  Which is GOOD – we all need a back-to-basics, Beginners class every now and then to get ourselves back on track (with regards to technique).  Taking the class has taught me that I need a back-to-basics, Beginners class every now and then to keep ME on track – and the reason is simple.  In the ‘competency progression’ if I don’t get regular coaching cues then what I think has become an ‘UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE’ has actually become an ‘UNCONSCIOUS IN-Competence’!

What do I mean by this?  Well, because I do boxing pretty much every day, unless I am getting a regular reminder from the coaches about my poor form and lack of technique, then all the things I have forgotten about because “I know how to do THAT” become things I am doing really (really) badly.  I get LAZY.  My body finds EASIER ways to do those skills that were so hard learned – and those ‘EASIER’ ways do not reflect the right way to do them!

If you think about the basic competency pyramid that anyone involved with education or coaching would be familiar with, there are four stages that each of us go through when learning/developing a new skill.

Firstly, we are ‘Unconsciously Incompetent’.  We are doing the activity poorly, we don’t recognise what we are doing wrong and we struggle to recognise the ‘gap’ between what we are being shown/taught and what we are actually doing.  In this stage, we can be a bit resistant to learning the skill – “Can’t I just do ‘activity x’ instead” when ‘activity x’ is something we already know how to do.  I feel like this is the stage I am in with every single guitar lesson I attend!

After that, we become ‘Consciously Incompetent’.  We KNOW what we are supposed to do.  We recognise that we aren’t doing it correctly.  We are working towards getting better and ACCEPTING coaching cues that help us.  This is where we are making good progress and on our way to mastering the new skill as long as we persist.

Of course, assuming we persist with our learning we then become ‘CONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT’.  This is where we can do things ‘well’ or ‘properly’ BUT need to concentrate ‘hard’ in order to do so.  I guess you could say our neural pathways have not fully developed for this task yet, however we ‘KNOW’ what to do and as long as we give attention to the movement we can do it well.

All of the coaching texts I have ever read say that the next stage is the ‘FINAL’ stage – ‘UNCONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT’.  This is where we have repeated a skill so many times that we can now do it ‘without concentrating’ – we have done it so often that we can repeat it over and over without thinking about it – we have reached a stage of ‘MASTERY’ with regards to this skill.

The more I coach though – and this is gym coaching, footy coaching, even STAFF coaching – the more I come to believe that this supposed pyramid is actually a ‘CYCLE’ – and once you become ‘Unconsciously Competent’ in a skill, the next thing that is coming is that you will again become ‘Unconsciously Incompetent’.  You will again be ‘doing it wrong’ and it will take a coaching intervention – and one that many of us will resist – in order to get us back on track.

It is the reason that so many of us miss out on many of the benefits of the boxing elements of our training – ask yourself if you have got your stance right (left foot forward, right foot back), if your hands are up, if you are turning your hands to the target, moving your feet as you punch.  I guess as a gym it is a reason why we have rules like ‘chest must touch the ground in a pushup’ because without those sort of ‘cues’ ALL of us will soon be doing ‘half’ pushups and ‘half’ squats and whilst we will still be ‘working hard’ we certainly wont be getting any of the benefits from our work.

It is ALSO the reason why  – even if you don’t read about it in coaching manuals – elite athletes and teams spend so much of their time working on the absolute fundamental skills of their sports.  It is the reason why that when you go to an u10’s training session you will see so many of those same drills used by the elite performers…except whilst the u10’s (if my kids are any guide!) THINK that they know how to do it and therefore just go through the motions, the elite of the elite take those fundamental drills as seriously as anything that they know – they understand that doing the skills perfectly is what maintains that ‘UNCONSIOUS COMPETENCE’ that they will be depending upon so much when the pressure is on.  (If you aren’t sure what I mean, check this from Steve Nash on passing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4nkgCi0UHU)

My advice is simple – be like those pros.  When you train, make sure you are doing everything WELL.  Don’t rush to get it done – challenge yourself to do it ‘RIGHT’.  The outcomes will astound you!

 

See you all in the gym,

Michael.

Gym Update #1 – Food Matters is ‘NEARLY’ Ready.

Our latest initiative – ‘Food Matters’ – really is close to becoming a reality.  The program has been in pilot phase for several weeks now and we are already seeing some amazing results.  It is important to note that the program is about helping teach you to make better food choices to fuel your body for your lifestyle – not about a ‘one size fits all’ eating plan.

Why ‘Food Matters’?  Well, I guess as a gym we are just struggling with so many people working so hard on their training, yet only making ‘real’ progress towards their body goals when they really ‘knuckle down’ and limit themselves whilst participating in a challenge.  There has to be (and there is!) a better way.  The ‘Food Matters’ plan is about education – teaching you how to make consistently good choices no matter what time of day, what social events are on and how much training you have been able to squeeze in.  The name of the program – ‘Food Matters’ – really says it all to us.  It isn’t that you can just throw your training in the bin and worry ‘just’ about what goes in your mouth…that isn’t it.  But the food choices you make are equally important and sometimes it might be a small change that makes a big difference.

The program itself will consist of 4x 1-on-1 consultations over a 2-month period.  There will be a one-hour kick-off session then 30-minute follow-up meetings every 2-weeks thereafter.  The cost of all these sessions – and the before and after body scans AND the program hand-book – is all included in the program price of $200 (do the sums…this is a pretty good value package!).

Please register your interest in the program via email to info@round1fitness.com.au.  Please also understand that this is a very resource intensive program and we are still in the process of working out exactly ‘how many’ participants we can cope with at any given time (we think that the number is around about 12 people!).  So whilst we are pretty excited about the program and driving it forward, it is important to let everyone know that even if you ‘sign up’ on September 30th, you might not actually be able to access your first consultation until a month or so later…

Gym Update #2 – AFL Grand Final Day @ Round 1

The AFL Grand Final is almost upon us and we are looking to have a bit of a day at the gym to watch the game.  Stay tuned for details but if you are looking for somewhere to watch the game, we have heaps of room, heaps of TV’s and there will be some sausages and burgers on the go…more info over the next couple of weeks.

Gym Update #3 – October ‘Hit IT’ Challenge

Our next challenge – the ‘Hit It’ challenge – is coming to the gym real soon.  This challenge is all about putting food challenges AND training challenges together to get everyone off and running towards summer.  I have nearly finished putting it all together and have to say it is the ‘best’ challenge we have had since this years ’28-Days Later’…it has taken some of the things we have learned through the ‘Food Matters’ pilot program and integrated them into the food challenges, it has (of course) taken what we have learned out of ‘every other’ gym challenge and incorporated THAT into creating the structure for the classes AND extras.

I am a bit of a challenge ‘junky’ I guess and jump in on all of them, but this one does look cool – and because of the ‘escalating’ nature of it, looks more than achievable for pretty much everyone…it really does ‘start slow’ and ‘get rolling’ and for me anyway I always find that structure the most ‘fun’ challenges to do.

Can.  Not.  Wait.

Gym Update #4– New Website coming soon

Just a quick note that the new Round 1 Fitness website is getting ‘close’ to being ready to go live.  The biggest change is in look and feel I guess – most of the content we ‘want/need’ is already there – but in terms of modernising the site, make it more easily viewable from iPads and mobile devices…well, the current format leaves a lot to be desired!

Hopefully more info in the next couple of weeks but it is getting to the ‘Get Excited’ stage!

Gym Update #5 – Product of the WEEK

Our POW this week is Rock Tape – that amazingly versatile tape that is just the thing for strapping knees, shoulders, feet, elbows and whatever you might haves right before a training session.  Because RockTape is ‘stretchy’ it is less restrictive and better allows you to ‘move’ whilst still allowing you to ‘strap up’ and support your injuries.  It is also water resistant…which importantly means it is stretch resistant so that it is likely to ‘hold strong’ right throughout your session.

Rolls of RockTape are available in the gym for $20!

Link of the week

So.  I am really (really) struggling with a should injury at the moment and it is related to doing kipping pull-ups.  Now, I am not going to demand that everyone stops kipping ‘immediately’ but I would like to remind everyone that when you are doing pull-ups – unless you are involved in a fitness competition or ‘race against the clock’ – is that ‘strict’ is certainly BEST for your strength development and that there IS more risk of injury when you kip.  Check out this article which I guess reflects what I always thought (and now feel even more strongly than ever!).  http://blog.trainheroic.com/why-we-dont-kip-one-gyms-perspective