May 2019 Trigger Focus
Mindset Principle: Relentless
“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins
Have you ever known one of those people who just refuses to give up? Has to play “just one more game” until they win? Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but you will always respect their tenacity and never-say-die attitude. That mindset of relentlessness is exactly what we’ll be focusing on this month.
Previously, we discussed resilience and the importance of bouncing back after getting knocked down. Relentlessness and resilience are definitely closely related, but there’s also a distinct difference between the two: the resilient person withstands all sorts of setbacks and doesn’t falter while the relentless person fights through all obstacles no matter what they may be.
Still sound the same? Think of it in terms of the proverbial meeting between an immovable object and the unstoppable force. The immovable object is the resilient athlete and the unstoppable force is the relentless athlete.
Let’s go back to that person you know who refuses to quit. What’s always the end result? They win. They accomplish their goals. Always. Why? Because the narrative is never over until they’re on top. It doesn’t matter if they lose 19 games before finally winning one. At the end of the day, they won.
Have a goal? Be relentless. Don’t stop until you reach it. Babe Ruth had it right when he said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” Be that person.
Nutrition Principle: Nutrient Timing
Nutrient timing is all about the dispersion and distribution of calories and macronutrients throughout the day. This is a complicated concept because, like most things regarding diet and exercise, there is no “one-size-fits-all” guideline on how someone should consume their nutrients throughout the day. The type of athlete, intensity of the training program (or performance days) and time of day the athlete is expending the most energy are just a few factors that go into evaluating an individual’s nutrient timing. Nutrient timing is important to ensuring the athlete’s body is fueled properly during training sessions, competition time and also during recovery time.
Physical Principle: Tempo
When discussing tempo in training, we are referring to the speed at which we execute the exercise. Training with different tempos is important because it will provide the athlete with a different stress, therefore causing a specific adaptation to that stress. There are three different tempos we utilize in our training because there are three different types of muscular contractions.
- Eccentric – a muscle that is lengthening while contracting
- Isometric – a muscle that does not change in length while contracting
- Concentric – a muscle that is shortening in length while contracting
Let’s use a squat exercise as our example:
– The better you are at eccentric strength (a slow descent in the squat), the better you will be at absorbing force. This is important for both preventing injury and increasing performance. When sprinting, we want to spend very little time on the ground while still being able to apply enough force to be fast. The stronger the athlete is eccentrically, the better they will be able to achieve this.
– Isometric strength (holding the bottom of the squat) is beneficial to being a well-rounded athlete, as you are required to hold static postures under high forces and velocities while sprinting. Our core muscles must be strong isometrically during sprinting and other athletic feats to transfer force in the most efficient and effective way.
– Concentric strength (standing up from the bottom of a squat) is all about force production and can also be referred to as “starting strength.” This is very important in the acceleration phase of sprinting, which is the first 10-20 yards. This is the case since we are not able to utilize the stretch reflex as effectively to propel us in the direction we want to go; therefore, we must use more concentric strength to get us going.
As you can see, all three tempos are important and useful for athletes to develop maximum strength.