“Mind Control starts with a decision” - Jerry Moffat. This statement might seem obvious to most, and it is obvious as well. But take a moment to really think about it.
How often do we consciously make a decision and use the power of our will to stick by it?
The reason for writing this piece is fairly simple. I’ve had some realisations over time spent in the lockdown mostly by myself or with close family. Somewhere there was a major learning also about training for climbing. And that's the part that I will talk about mostly.
I’ve been training for climbing for a reasonable amount of time now. All of it up until now has been completely unstructured ; without a goal, without a path, without even a clue of what the next day would look like at most times. Every climbing or training day was taken as it came, if I felt good and strong, I’d climb longer and harder and also add some workouts after and if I didn’t feel too good about my abilities that day, I’d take it relatively easier. It was working out fine, I was seeing improvement in the early years, but I hit stagnation pretty soon and that continued for an extremely long period of time. Longer than it should have. My purpose was undefined and motivation was present but not ingrained.
So in September 2019, close to a year after BoulderBox opened, I decided to set myself some goals and got on a training plan. I started off by doing an assessment on where I currently stand and how long it will take me to get to where I want to. I shifted my mindset from a lets train hard today for a couple of days to send some slightly harder stuff tomorrow to consistent and regular training over a long period of time in the hope of more significant physical gains without running the risk of getting injured! Infact, whatever little niggles and pains I had were also addressed first by going over all the imbalances found in the assessment results.
I would like to mention that I’m not one to despise training, I do quite enjoy it. However, I mostly struggle with the sustained and constant motivation required for it.
At the start of the lockdown, I was in my last month of the second 3 month training cycle. Each cycle is 3 months long. The plan was designed around training for a sport climbing trip, so more endurance based sessions. However, soon after this looming cloud of death & uncertainty grew above us all, everyone including myself cancelled all plans for any travels. And so my hopes for being at a dense sport climbing crag went out the window!
I wrote to my coach and we quite promptly shifted gears to a strength based goal. She suggested various other ways I could keep myself motivated through these times and altered my program towards some movements/exercises that have been on my checklist for a while now.
Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, of training in lockdown, and soon I realise that I’m being far more efficient with my use of time, diligent with following the program, & also far more attentive towards how I’m using my body while completing some pretty long training days. This realisation has been key! The ability to complete a task at hand without unnecessary delays is exceptionally satisfying, and if I’m able to do it to the best of my ability, it assures me a good night's sleep.
Running into conversations, overseeing what others might be upto, having social commitments on the agenda, travelling, and several other factors can lead to reduced focus. Finding focus in our times today is absolutely critical & does not come easily.
I’m going to list down some of the things that have helped me find focus & train better. I hope that it can help someone somewhere.
- Set a Goal
Set yourself a long term goal, whether it's a climbing route, or a specific exercise you’d like to be able to do. Then build some progressions to get to it. Those become your intermediate goals and then set short term goals. Such progressive goal setting helps keep the motivation up and also allows you to see smaller gains in defined periods of time. The goal is meant to provide a vision, something to work towards, an objective and motivation. However, this does not mean every goal will be achieved in the due time and that should not become demoralising. Looking at progressions building upto a goal is also a positive that needs to be valued.
- Plan for it
Have a monthly plan, a weekly plan and also a daily plan . It will help you achieve more and track your progress. Also, offers insight on what works best for you as an individual in terms of time of the day, pre or post meal, etc.
- Try to stick to a routine
So if you’re working out everyday in the evening from 5-7pm, continue doing that as much as possible. I like to find times when social commitments might be the least, right now that's not so much of a problem though.
- Also, allow some room for flexibility
While having a plan and sticking to it does require some amount of rigidity, make sure to factor in some room for flexibility as well. Let’s be honest, life happens and sometimes we are either not in the mood, feeling lethargic, have urgent work or family responsibilities that we need to take care of. All of these can factor into our daily routine and will require reworking of your plans.
- Create a kit
Have a small bag with whatever you need when you train and have it right next to you while you do. I like to keep my training journal, a pen, a GoPro / camera / phone, a video recording device essentially. A large bottle of water, an espresso shot if I feel I need one, ear pods, chalk or anything else that you may need. The aim is to reduce moving around spaces once you’ve started.
Making videos while performing a new workout can offer great insight into your form as your progress through the reps, any imbalances in the two arms, and other nuances that are hard to tell while performing the exercise, becomes easy to tell when you see yourself doing it.
- Listen to something that allows you to stay focussed for long hours.
One of the things that helps me zone out is listening to something that i really enjoy, whether its a playlist that i can sing along to or an audiobook or a podcast. Find one that suits you best! If you’re in search of a new playlist, check out the BoulderBox curated playlists for some psych!
Link to playlists:
- Carry a pen & notebook and check things off
OMG! How I love checking things off a list. At times I wonder if I’m training to get stronger or to check it off my to do list. Ok, jokes apart, this really helps!
And lastly, but most importantly -
- Avoid taking phone calls
It’s imperative to keep the phone away in order to be focussed. Set this time aside, things can wait for a few hours, especially if it's early in the morning or late at night.
If you’re inspired to get on a training plan or have some goals in mind that you’d like to work towards or even if you’re just curious to know where you stand currently. Get in touch with us. And we will help you with an assessment and a customised training plan to suit your specific needs.
Drop us a line, we are keen to hear from you. You can reach us by messaging us on +91 9650105578 or through our IG account: @theboulderbox
Stay focussed! Stay strong! :)