The current era of "two-minute abs" and "microwave training sessions" makes it seem like there are easy and quick routes to athletic conditioning. Although it's tempting to take an easier route, when it comes to training for superior performance, there is no such thing. If you want to be successful, you have to push yourself, because I guarantee that if you're not, your opponents are. (Read Are You Setting Yourself Up to Fail?)
Sedentary people might not define athletes who train daily as "lazy," but such labels can tempt athletes to slack off and not push themselves as hard as they should. (Learn how it happened to Michael Phelps.) It's tempting to rest on your laurels, especially when you're tired or sore. Its appealing, but don't be fooled. You will end up negating the hard work you previously put in.
If you are struggling to maintain your original motivation, or catching yourself taking it too easy in the gym, remember: the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Next time you catch yourself dogging it, take a minute to ask yourself the following:
1. Take a look around; is the grass really greener? Beware of athletes to whom certain activities come naturally. Although they may be on top now, if they don't push themselves, they will eventually be surpassed by athletes who work harder.
Beware of easy coaches as well. Popularity is not necessarily a sign of a good coach. The only true measure of a coach is how his or her athletes perform. Good training takes a couple of years to have an effect, but it can take that long to see deterioration as well. Consider the long-term performance of athletes who train with particular coaches.
2. Look deeper. How hard are you really training? Is your coach really asking too much if he or she expects you to show up at 6.30 a.m. for 30 minutes of conditioning and again for evening practice? Don't be spoiled. How do you think the pros got where they are today? Not by sleeping in!
3. Think about your motivation for listening to other people. Are you looking for the easy path? Is that other coach really better than yours, or is his program more attractive because his sessions seem easier? Are the people who are telling you that you don't need to work hard really helping you? What you have to realize is that the only reason you want to look elsewhere or copy someone else's lifestyle or training is because you want an easier life. There is no other reason. Is that a good reason?
Motivational speaker Eric Thomas says, "Don't ask yourself what's wrong with something; ask yourself what's right with it." What's wrong with wanting to train less? What's right with it? Two questions, two answers. Only one right answer. Athletic improvement is all about choosing the right question and getting the right answer.
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