So it happens every year, millions of people make New Years resolutions and every year millions of people fall short of those resolutions. How can you finally succeed at those goals you make for the new year?
It’s actually not as difficult as you might think. It doesn’t matter what the goal is; you need to treat resolutions from year to year as a job. When I say that I mean at the end of a year you need to do a performance review just like you would with your job. Look at what your goals were from that year. Decide how you did in accomplishing those goals. If you succeeded then great job and you are that rare person. If you didn’t, what challenges did you face? Were your goals realistic? What plans did you have to succeed with those goals and was your plan well thought out? If you had a plan, did you follow it? If so, what were the flaws in your plan. Way to often people have vague goals or no plan to achieve their goals. Either way the biggest chance you’ll have to succeed begins with analyzing the previous year.
Once you have analyzed your past year you can make a plan for the coming year to accomplish your goals. If you are serious about those goals you’ll take a little time for planning. Here is the approach I recommend for succeeding with your New Years Resolutions:
1) Establish realistic goals. For example, if you are not currently working out it would be unrealistic to have your goal be to workout 6 days per week for 90 minutes at a time. It would be much more realistic to have a goal of 3 days per week for no more than an hour.
2) Be specific. If you are too general in your goals it’s hard to create a plan to get there. Don’t say I want to lose weight or even I want to lose 60 lbs. It would be better to say your goal is to lose 5 lbs per month. Which is very doable and at the end of the year if you were successful that would be 60 lbs.
3) Once you have established your goal develop a plan to get there. Your focus should then be on the process not the outcome. You know your goal so now focus on doing the daily/weekly/monthly items to give you the best chance of success.
4) Have your goals written and visible. TOMA (top of mind awareness) helps substantially from a psychological stand point to achieve your goals. If you have goals but can forget about them most of us will. Not even on purpose but just by getting too busy. If those goals are written and on display somewhere that you see them regularly it will help keep them fresh in your mind.
5) Reassess your progress on a regular basis. I generally recommend a weekly and monthly analysis. The weekly one should just be a quick recap of how you did that week with the process. The monthly should look at where you are at towards the big goal, obstacles that got in the way, and plans to overcome and succeed going forward.
No matter what, the challenge is real. Understand that you may have some setbacks along the way. If you are normal that will happen. Adopt a mind set of no letting setbacks derail you. When you do your weekly assessment if you had a bad week know how you are going to fix it and the flush the bad week and move on. It’s also very important to have a support system that helps with accountability, motivation, and information. That support system should know your goal and challenges and then they can be there to help when times are tough and also when it’s going well.
I hope this helps and I rooting for you to have an amazing 2018.
If I can be of help with you accomplishing your goals please let me know. Absolute is about so much more than just working out. We are about creating that lifestyle for those adults who struggle with health and fitness.
Cheers to 2018!
Jeff Miller, Owner/Head Performance Coach
Absolute Fitness & Sports Performance
The struggle is real and that’s no joke. When it comes to truly having a health and fitness lifestyle the majority of people struggle. Let’s face it, if it were easy then everyone would already be crushing it and our society would look a lot different.
The thing I see most often is the when it doesn’t work or isn’t easy let’s just throw in the towel in frustration. That’s the very mindset that breaks my heart. Exercise and Nutrition are not a one size fits all kind of thing. What works for one person may not work for another. The key is to keep tinkering until you figure out what works for you. You could say nothing works for me so I guess that’s what I’ll do. I would call shenanigans on that though.
One of the areas this is most prevalent is with nutrition. Everyone wants a done for them program and when it doesn’t work the mindset is that this program just doesn’t work or what’s wrong with me that I can’t do it. When that happens so many people just quit and that’s the mindset I’m trying to change. Instead of admitting defeat we need to assess, adjust and reengage. Everyone can find success but it’s rarely just handed to you.
The difficult part is how do we adjust and reengage when it doesn’t work? The reality is that’s when you need to be part of a fitness family like we are here at Absolute. My mission is to help you with those adjustments and to help you stay engaged or reengage in the process.
Never just give up. Life is too short and the repercussions of giving up are dramatic. You might not feel them today or tomorrow but when they come it’ll be too late.
Please let me know how I can help you succeed and let’s make 2018 great again:)
Have you or your child ever even been injured during a sports season?
Nothing will derail your season, hopes and dreams quicker than an injury.
So the question is are you doing the little things to help prevent injuries?
Core training is a very popular topic for injury prevention. A strong core in theory equals a lower risk of injury. So most serious athletes in middle school and up begin working those core muscles for that added advantage. Sadly in many cases they are doing more damage than good.
There are 3 exercises that we have our athletes avoid and those are sit ups, crunches and leg lifts. While they feel great on the core muscles actual research has shown they put an unacceptable amount of stress of the spine and in many cases can cause injury and damage to the very area an athlete is trying to protect. So you’ll hear when an athlete develops back issues they are confused because they have been doing their “core training”.
If those exercise are not ideal for core training then what is? Check out our video for the “Dead Bug”. This is one of our favorite core exercises. It targets the core muscles while not putting that unrealistic pressure on the spine. It also effectively engages your hip flexors and even more importantly utilizes both sides of your brain at the same time which improves coordination. The development of coordination can not be understated as to it’s important.
Perform 1 – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps
– Actively engage core
– Exhale as you extend leg
– Pause at full extension
– Focus on increasing core tension as you extend your leg
WHO WE ARE:
We are the only dedicated youth sports performance training center in the area. Our mission is to help youth athletes develop the atheticism both physically and mentally to be the best they can be. We strive to create a positive focused environment that helps athletes develop speed, agility and power in order to succeed
Feel free to contact us if you have questions or a desire for your child or self to be a more dominate athlete
programs, how do you choose the right one?
There are five key components to look for when seeking out a great sports performance program:
- The Coaches
- The Program
- Your Goals
Every coach and/or training center will have a training culture, and it’s important to find the right fit. A culture will contain many things, but young athletes thrive in an environment that encourages fun, positive attitudes, respect and builds self-confidence. This is especially true for athletes under 14 years old. At this age, it’s important to enjoy the training process so athletes look forward to a more intense environment in the future. Pushing kids too hard – both mentally & physically – at an early age usually results in athletes who dislike training and will often lead to burnout and quitting. Look for a positive atmosphere where you see plenty of high fives, smiles and coaches “building kids up.” You should see positive reinforcement from the coach and plenty of teaching/instruction.
Between 12-14 years old, you might see a more intense sports performance program but the underlying culture should remain the same. There should always be a positive environment with coaches who serve as role models. Athletes should feel good about what they’re doing and praised for their effort. The culture is a direct representation of the coach/owner and and the overall intent of the program.
Avoid negative attitudes, high-pressure sales, or unrealistic promises. Not everyone will be attracted to the same culture, but make sure the kids feel comfortable because they’ll be spending a lot of time there.
If there are no quality trainer centers near you, or you simply can’t afford it, find a place that accommodates your needs. This may be a home gym, school weight room or local gym/recreation center. You’ll need adequate space and equipment depending on your goals, so find a place that will suit your needs.
How do things work with the coach or facility? How do you schedule appointments? What is the coach:athlete ratio? How are the athletes grouped?
All participants in a sports performance program should have the opportunity to thrive in a training environment, and good administration makes sure everything is well organized. This will ensure that you’re engaged with professionals who take this important job seriously.
Have you heard other people talk about training at a facility or with a coach? What was their experience? Have other athletes had success with the program? Athletes who have gone through a program should have positive things to say about it.
Do a little research to see what kind of track record a program has. Testimonials are helpful, but talking to someone you know can give you even more insight.
When observing a class you’ll want to see participants of similar ages/abilities together and interacting appropriately. This does not mean that every athlete in a group needs to be the same age or play the same sport, but the training goals should be similar or the coach should know how to modify the program for each athlete. Cookie-cutter programs aren’t always bad, but an individualized approach is always preferred.
Look for a relatively low coach:athlete ratio. A good coach can easily handle 20+ athletes in a team environment, but there should be a much lower ratio for a more individualized program. Smaller groups ensure more individual feedback, but most athletes thrive in groups. This is especially true for young athletes so that games and group activities can be utilized. A 1-on-1 session for a 9 year old has the potential to get pretty boring for the athlete. Being in groups also gives young athletes the opportunity to develop character traits such as leadership, teamwork, giving encouragement, empathy and respect. These things are much easier to address in a group setting.
Quality coaches are the most important thing to look for in a sports performance program. Coaches pretty much make or break a program, so make sure you’re with a good one. Not only will a good coach get performance results, but they should also address things like motivation, mindset, respect and the value of hard work.
Make sure that your coach is certified from a well known & respected organization such as the IYCA or NSCA. He/she should also have experience coaching athletes, and a proven track-record of producing results is definitely preferred. A degree in a related field (kinesiology, exercise science, physical education, etc.) is highly recommended, but there are a lot of exceptional youth coaches who got their education after receiving a college degree in an unrelated field. The coaches should have positive energy, be strong role models, and truly enjoy helping athletes develop.
Like culture, people are drawn to certain personalities or coaching styles, and it’s important you find the right fit. Have a conversation with the coach or staff to see if you get along and more importantly if your child gets along with the coach. The coach has to earn your trust as does your child. This trust will allow for proper growth of the athlete and continual trust in the program will also allow the coach to push the athlete to their potential.
Try not to get overwhelmed by past athletic accomplishments or a coach’s physique. While certainly not negatives, these things don’t necessarily mean he/she has the educational background or coaching ability to help you. It usually helps to have a coach who has some degree of athletic experience, but this should not be their #1 qualification. Some coaches are able to really utilize their experiences to benefit young athletes, while others were simply born with talent. So, take it into consideration (because it’s important), but try not to let it cloud your judgement if nothing else feels right.
If the facility has a large staff, don’t hesitate to request a coach your child loves, or ask to NOT train with someone your child really doesn’t like. This may not always happen, but a good program will make an effort to accommodate your needs.
Disrespectful or inappropriate comments or actions are a definite red flag. Having a negative coach in a child’s life can cause tremendous stress and can hard a child’s self-esteem and enjoyment of the training process. While it is sometimes necessary to be firm or have difficult conversations, good coaches can handle tough situations professionally.
Athletes who don’t live anywhere near a training facility now have online options available that will allow you to train at home. While this option may not be as optimal as having a live coach, it’s often the only option available. It can also be much less expensive and more convenient, so there are certainly reasons an athlete may choose to train alone.
Finding a great home-based sports performance program can be tricky, because every trainer with a web-site or social media presence may tell you this is an option. Just like looking for an in-person trainer, look for credentials, experience, values, and a proven track record. Make sure you have the equipment necessary to complete an at-home program. We’ll discuss at-home programs in much greater depth in the future, but consider it a second-tier option.
The actual training program is critical, but usually difficult for parents to truly understand. You won’t know precisely what the program will include, which is why it’s so important to find a qualified coach.
At a minimum, a good sports performance program should be very safe and organized. Sure, accidents happen, but a young athlete’s health is top priority, so they should never be engaged in anything dangerous. In general, if it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t. Kids may get sore and tired, but they shouldn’t sustain injuries from a training program.
The program should have a basic level of individualization, or at least include the opportunity for modification when appropriate. Most young athletes have a lot of the same needs, so there will be a great deal of similarity between programs for athletes, but the program should be flexible enough to address individual needs when needed. Most programs will address strength, running mechanics, jumping, fitness, mobility, agility, and coordination. Make sure the program is meeting your individual goals and that the coaches modify their program to help achieve those goals. At the very least, you should be able to receive an explanation of how and why the program will help work toward your goals.
There should be a great deal of teaching, instruction and feedback given, and there should be a progression to everything that is done. This means that the program will gradually get more demanding. The weight lifted, the volume of overall exercise and the intensity of the drills should gradually increase. We know that progressions or progressive overload is key to not only a younger athlete but more importantly to all athletes. Progressive overload is the principal in which each week you are progressively getting stronger our advancing toward a new technique. There should not be an emphasis on how much you can lift but how much progress is being made.
There is an old saying that the program should have the athlete conform to the program but the program should conform to the athlete. You want to ask questions about the program including expected results and core values in programming.
There should always be some sort of assessment to determine needs and establish baselines. This assessment will vary, but the coach should talk to you about the results and formulate a program based on those results. An assessment like the IYCA Big 5 or FMS will help find deficiencies and areas of concern, and a performance assessment will help establish baselines and give the coach a better understanding of how the athlete moves. It’s always great if there is a movement analysis using video of the athlete performing various movements.
While the programs will vary greatly, it helps to hear about results from other athletes and ensure that the coaches are qualified.
Again, if you are looking for an at-home program, be sure you are getting what you need. Don’t try to replicate a D1 college football program with an 11-year old kid who has never lifted weights. Find a program that is specific to your goals & experience level, has delivered results, and is created by an experienced coach or organization.
Goal setting is crucial for any athlete, and it should be a part of a sports performance program. Make sure that your goals align with the facility and their goals for you child. Training is an investment of time and energy, and it’s not uncommon for young athletes to spend several years training at a facility. You want to make sure they understand your long-term goals, so they are invested in your success and development.
For example, there are some facilities/programs that focus exclusively on strength development. If your goal is to run faster, this is probably not the right place for you. Typically, a sports performance training program will be able to address multiple goals – speed, strength, mobility, conditioning, etc. – but you want to make sure to ask if there is a program to specifically address your goals.
Teaching goal setting, and the process of working toward goals is a skill that will serve athletes well in all facets of life. Let them dream, let them strive for success. In a world so based on technology, having goals can help set them up for success. It’s even a great idea to include non-sports related goals such as academic or personal goals. Remember, a student-athlete is always a student first, so keep that in mind when setting goals.
Selecting a sports performance program or facility is an important choice – perhaps more important than you think – and there are many things to consider. The five components outlined here should help in your decision making process. From the culture to the facility to the coaches themselves, you want to make sure you find a place that is comfortable, fun, engaging and creates programs that help the athlete move toward their goals. Ask questions, talk to others and hopefully you’ll end up finding a comfortable fit for a long time.
About the Author: Brad Leshinske is the founder of the Athletic Edge Sports Performance program in Chicago and an adjunct faculty member at North Park University. He has more than 10 years of experience training athletes of all ages and at every level of competition.