Stay the Course

TAGS: self coaching, powerlifting training method, shitty training, JP Carroll, max out, powerlifting coach, training motivation, stay the course, meet prep, training program

ATHLETE

I know, I know — “stay the course” is an overly used, lame saying. For me, it's always been a mainstay in my self-coaching. When shit goes wrong I think to myself, “Take the good, the bad, and everything in between. Stay the course.” This applies to much more than the gym, but you're here because you are either a meathead or a wannabe. Either way, I appreciate you taking time to check out my shit.

Staying the course could mean sticking to a program, sticking to a goal, a training day, or even just finishing a set. Fuck, it could even mean a rep. Whatever the need of the moment, to STC (I'll use that from now on; I don't want to type the phrase out 43 times) you'll find after time, it builds resistance to negative thoughts or shitty training that affect the outcome of the overall, your end game. You're reading this on elitefts, so I feel it's safe to assume it's somehow strength-related, so let’s go with that.

Programs and Methods

I've seen it happen time and time again: someone has a shitty meet, and the following week the flooding of "new coach," "new me,"  and "new program" come in loud and clear. Those statements are always followed with the typical "it's on now" and "road to [some number they'll never see]" phrases. Just a bunch of bullshit hype to further convince themselves that shitting the bed on meet day wasn't entirely their fault, and to also show you that they will never say die.


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Rarely do I see those types of lifters make it any further unless they take an ego check and look in the mirror with some self-accountability. Whatever happened to sticking to the plan? Nowhere is it written that a method on paper is foolproof and works every time. At times it does, but those times are few and far between. You have to fuck up, fumble, and foul out a few times to find the sweet spot of your training. I'm going to shit on the parades of all you trendy weirdos, but these programs and fly-by-night coaches all have the same principles that they wrap up in a different bow. Use a couple of buzzwords, recruit a high-caliber competitor, and boom, you're sold. When instead you could not have been a lazy fuck and done some research yourself and maybe actually understood what and why you're doing what you are.

Now, I'm not knocking real coaches. I have one, and it's more like having a consultant when shit gets out of hand. I'll also add this for the cynical dweebs who like to point out the obvious: I have run different "programs" but have never swapped out after a lousy meet. I've bombed and STC. I’ve not PR'd and STC. You have to find out how you respond to training over and over with different circumstances. No one can tell you about you better than you can. Knowledge is a powerful thing in all areas of life, lifting included.

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At some point in your endeavor to find a higher level of strength, you'll have to leave the nest and fly on your own. As scary as that sounds, it is that exact moment that you find yourself and will either continue on the journey or falter and take up checkers. People come and go. If your team, coach, and partners all turned their backs today, would you train tomorrow? When your plan on paper fails, remember STC. Consistency pays off and hard work bears fruit. Even if you're doing all the wrong shit, if you're giving it your all you'll make progress.

Training

If you've been doing this for more than a couple years, you've had the best of training days and the worst of training days (or weeks or months). You have probably by this point learned that shutting shit down when it just isn't going right is a game-changer. I know, one of you smartass clowns is thinking, “Mr. STC is now saying to shut shit down.” This is why I addressed this to the vets of training. For them, sometimes when you have a bad day, STC means shutting shit down.

Unless you have an Instagram coach who schedules deloads every two weeks, autoregulating is essential. Why push on a day it's just not there and fuck up the next few weeks? Instead, try taking it lighter (check your fucking ego) and resting up and eating. Then maybe the next time you have to max or test or be strong you'll be ready. Trust me, you can post a meme or something to get your likes and views that mean more than getting stronger anyway. Going home, slowing down, or just calling it will give you time to assess the many reasons your session could have been off. Food? Sleep? Stress? Hell, if your life is like mine, it could be all of the above — well, minus food. I eat, homie (that’s a fat joke).


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Taking the work-smarter-plus-harder approach is a good rule of thumb. Working harder without rhyme or reason is a waste of time and effort. Once you have a chance to check the appropriate questions, adjust and get right back at after it, filling the void from the previous session. Taking a day or two or three off in the middle of the training will not fuck anything up. Hell, it may even do you some good. STC isn't killing yourself or busting your nut in the first week; it takes some brains to do this, believe it or not.

Motivation

In the worlds of Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and whatever else there are these days, everyone sees a 30-second snippet and assumes motivation is spewing from everyone at all times. I've been around guys who string a couple of lousy training sessions together and say something to the effect of, “I'm not motivated. I've lost the drive.”

That's bullshit. Do not mistake a lousy day or a bad week for losing drive or motivation. Life is a trip, and this shit isn't easy. STC applies here. You’re not unmotivated; you're in a rut. Big fucking deal. Your motivation is more in-depth than a day or a week. Your motivation is STC and toughing it out. Instead of blurting out “I'm unmotivated”, say it was a bad day or that the week sucks. If any part of you wants to chase that number still, you are plenty motivated. You'll be surprised to see what a little Jedi mind tricks can do to your output.

In closing, think about how many things in life you started and were terrible at: walking, talking, reading, writing, etc. You did them every day, and now they all have become second nature. Repetition and experience breed mastery. Taking one specific set of rules (program) and working them over and over is a way to almost guarantee success. So anytime in the future, you think to yourself that this "method" or this "program" isn't working and you need to adjust, I'll bet changing your accessory work, calories, or even rest schedule will make a significant difference. I don't pass on many positive thoughts, but take what I say to heart when I do. I've been through it — and would never say something I didn't believe to be 100% truth.

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