My friend, understand this:
Tactics don’t mean s***
Everyone and their mom is looking for tactics and strategies right now…
What’s the best home workout to do?
What’s the best nutrition plan to follow?
Or, even worse…
What’s the best Netflix show to watch??
On top of that, every single trainer, coach, and gym out there is feeding into this demand. And honestly, who can blame them?
But unfortunately, there is a major gap in all of these home workouts and quick-fix nutrition strategies…
Very few of them will be a catalyst for long term success. Rather, they will be a short term band aid that makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something rather than actually making any meaningful, long lasting progress.
What I want to propose to you today is a framework for long lasting, meaningful progress in your development as an athlete.
See, there’s a second part of the quote that I shared with you above:
Tactics don’t mean s*** without a framework to operate inside of.
The tactics absolutely work. In fact, I posted a blog article and a podcast going over some tactics for getting your calorie intake up, even when grocery stores are being raided by your local Karens and Susans (check those out after you’re done here).
But, these tactics cannot stand on their own merit. Rather, they are components and puzzle pieces to a much larger framework.
Establish your foundation, and the tactics will be more effective, easier to implement, and their benefits will last for much longer.
If you can develop and implement a strong framework for your athletic success during this period of chaos and unpredictability you will:
1 – See considerable improvements in your athletic performance physically and mentally over the course of the COVID-19 madness
2 – When the dust settles and the madness is behind us, you while be set up to continue that upward trend of success and development for the rest of your career (and quite frankly, your life)
I think you can get on board with that, right?
If not, feel free to go back to your one-off home workouts. No love lost…
Okay, now you might be thinking, what is this framework?
In short, here it is:
1 – Identify the gap
2 – Build the bridge
3 – Cross the bridge
4 – Recover from the journey
Now that you’re nice and confused, let’s break down each of those components in depth so you understand how it works and why it is the most effective way to maximize this period of time that we find ourselves in…
Step 1 – Identify the Gap
What is the gap?
Well, I believe that every athlete has a gap.
A gap between where you are now, and where you want to be.
You could be a benchwarmer trying to get some minutes in the rotation…
You could be a sixth man trying to crack the starting lineup…
You could be a starter trying to win a spot on the All-League team…
Even LeBron James, the best player in the NBA (and arguably the GOAT), likely has a gap between where he is now and what he wants to accomplish…
You get the point.
Now, what’s so profound about this?
In my experience, most athletes understand where they want to be. However, the vast majority do not have a clear understanding of where they are right now.
Most of the time, they choose to ignore the present situation. ‘Cause let’s be honest – it doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that you’re a bench warmer (been there), or that you got snubbed for the MVP award, or that you’re 20lbs overweight…
It’s painful, and 99% of humans run from pain.
In order to maximize the time we are spending in quarantine and social distancing, I need you to be in the 1%.
I need you to get uncomfortable.
I need you to do the hard work of looking yourself in the mirror and acknowledging what needs to be improved in order to truly achieve your athletic potential.
Here’s a quick exercise for you to do:
Answer these questions (I recommend writing them out):
In a perfect world, what do you want to accomplish next season?
What do you currently do very well/What are your strengths?
What do you not do well in your sport/What are your current weaknesses?
What needs to change between now and next season in order for you to accomplish your goals? (This is identifying the gap)
Now you have an understanding of where you are now, and where you want to be next season.
You’ll notice that there is a gap between the two.
Now that we’ve identified the gap, our next step in the framework is to fill it in…
Step 2 – Build the Bridge
This is where everyone usually starts…
This is where the strategies and tactics come into play, and we essentially “build the bridge” between where you are now, and where you want to be.
And we all know that strategies and tactics are fun and exciting!
But remember, you must complete step one of the process before beginning to build the bridge.
The key takeaway from this step of the process is setting expectations, as well as creating confidence in and commitment to the process.
Without the commitment coming internally from YOU, no strategy or tactic thrown at you by me or any other coach will work…
The reality is that you probably have some very lofty goals (league MVP awards, college scholarships, pro contracts, etc).
The reality is that the gap between where you are now and those awards/scholarships/contracts is likely pretty substantial, and probably very intimidating.
I’m here to tell you that nearly any gap can be filled.
I’m not here to tell you that it will be quick or easy.
If you can acknowledge that it will take time, and you can acknowledge that it will take effort, then you can fill in the gap.
Now, I’m not just asking you to put blind trust into your plan and hope that it works. The last thing I want you to do is waste precious time trying to follow a s****y strategy.
By setting expectations around exactly what the plan will look like, we create the necessary confidence and commitment to the plan.
As a coach, this is where I create confidence in the plan through individualization, education, and proper periodization (I’m talking in terms of nutrition, but this can be applied to training, skillwork, etc.).
If you understand the exact gameplan, roughly how long it will take, why we are doing what we’re doing, and the plan is individualized to your needs and preferences, you’ll be a lot more likely to create that necessary commitment to the plan.
This is what I go over with every athlete I work with on our very first coaching call, because I know that without the long term vision of how we are going to get you from point A to point B, you will fail (and we don’t do that on my team).
Long story short, we gotta build you a damn nice bridge ;)
Step 3 – Bridging the Gap
Now we find ourselves at the critical point in your journey…
Will you actually do the work?
The path is laid out, right in front of you, but will you effectively do the work of crossing the bridge and getting to the Promised Land?
In theory, it seems simple…
But, no matter how nice the bridge that we built is, s*** will hit the fan…
There will be missing pieces, there will be giant gusts of wind that nearly know you off…
Most can’t cross the bridge alone, but rather cross it with an entire expedition party…
When it comes to athletes, think about it:
They don’t do this stuff alone! They have a team of trainers, coaches, physical therapists, doctors, and nutritionists around them to guide them through the process…
What makes you so arrogant that you’re going to do this completely on your own?
Allow others to help make your journey easier!
There are three ways to make bridging the gap as seamless and effective as possible:
Individualization – Two athletes should not be following identical plans. You have different bodies, training demands, lifestyles, preferences, etc.
Having a plan constructed for you by a knowledgeable coach is a great way to ensure that it is effective and something that YOU can actually stick to.
Community – This s*** is hard sometimes. There will be periods of time on that “bridge” when you feel like giving up. Having a team of professionals and like minded peers makes the journey a hell of a lot easier and more likely for you to succeed.
This can be a bit difficult to accomplish right now during COVID-19, but a great way to create a sense of community is through Facebook groups (I’ll be creating one for athletes soon!).
Accountability – The bridge is there, but few will cross it. Having people (like a coach) in your corner to make sure that you do the work every single day to get to your goal streamlines the process and drastically increases the likelihood of you being successful. I talk with my athletes and general population clients every single week in order to make sure they are moving in the right direction.
With these components, bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be becomes a lot more enjoyable, and a lot more likely to be done…
Step 4 – Recover from the Journey
I need you to remember this equation:
STRESS + RECOVERY = ADAPTATION
Pursuing your goals is stress, albeit positive stress.
With that understanding, also comes the understanding that we need recovery in order to facilitate long term athletic success.
If you continue to “grind” and “hustle” without prioritization of recovery, you will put yourself in a position of degradation rather than adaptation.
Many athletes separate the pursuit of greatness from the process of recovery.
We must reframe this. In fact, the two are greatly intertwined. One cannot occur without the other.
For example, if you just finished a grueling season and do not take the time to adequately recover, you are setting yourself up for failure in the coming offseason. If you end up getting injured or sick in the offseason, your performance in the following season will be compromised.
You see how this can lead to a dirty cycle?
While recovery isn’t as flashy as the “grind,” it is JUST AS IMPORTANT.
How can you implement this framework during the COVID-19 pandemic?
You don’t have to wait for this pandemic to be over in order to implement this framework…
(If you haven’t noticed, that’s what your competition is doing. Now is a great time to create an advantage over them)
On the same token, this framework does not expire once life gets back to “normal,” like a lot of the other band-aid solutions being offered in the training and nutrition space currently…
Like we established at the beginning of the article, this framework sets you up for long lasting success.
For now, I just want you to start with Step 1
Your job going away from this article is to identify the gap.
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be?
What needs to change to get you from Point A to Point B?
Take some time to think about this and write it out, then let me know what you come up with. I’ll personally help you “build the bridge” so you have a game plan to operate inside of…
Now that we have established the framework, future articles and podcasts will be centered around the strategies and tactics that fit inside of the framework in order to maximize your progress.
In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for your answers :)
PS – If you’re interested in online nutrition coaching in my Elite Nutrition Coaching program, click HERE to apply for a free strategy call to see if we are a good fit
PPS – Don’t forget to share this article with a friend!