In 2014 I decided to adhere to programming that was written specifically for me and my weaknesses. I thought this was the magic sauce and that any competitor that wanted to “up their game” – this was the way. I had a lot of growth in this year as an athlete. The programming was great and I saw major gains specifically in strength.
I trained day in and day out…by myself. Grinding 2-3 hours per day. By myself. Eventually I started to dread going to the gym to get my work done. I wasn’t enjoying the journey but needed to stick it out because I really was improving. I needed this for me and I had made a commitment to this programming.
Hind sight is 20/20 they say. I did reach the goal I was shooting for as a result of this programming. I did get stronger. But what I lost was so much more than I gained that year. I lost love for training. The love for the day in and day out sweat sessions that get you to where you want to be. I had trained alone for a solid year and I was NOT enjoying it…mainly because I love people and I wanted to be with MY people…the people at my gym. My coach and I had a very open and honest conversation about how to approach the next year. I had learned that these solo sessions had drained me of the fun of the sport while also draining me physically with the large amount of volume it entailed. When the opportunity came about for me to use my fitness…I saw gaping holes in my game. Holes I had not previously seen. A hole that can only be filled by training with friends. I had lost intensity. I had taken my training to ‘just get the reps done’. I had no one to chase, no one to giggle with or cry with. I was just ‘getting it done’ and I had lost the ability to push. My coach and I decided I needed training partners more than I needed programming.
I was a little scared to make the change honestly. Being under the watchful eye of a coach for a solid year was nice. I was now back out on my own but I would begin to train with friends again. Alongside decreasing sessions by half from 3 hours to 1.5 hours…the change that took place was almost instant. I looked forward to each training day and being with my fellow WoD friends. I started to push myself again…hard. I would try to keep up with the fast girl on running days and the gymnasty girls on gymnastics days. I tried to beat my husband daily…that in and of itself was a ball of fun. I started focusing on QUALITY of training versus quantity. I started having fun with this sport and my love and joy for it flooded my life again.
For me, and for many I would assume, having a great group of friends to train with is VITAL to your success as an athlete, to your dedication, to your health and wellness…to your heart. Having someone to hold you accountable and having someone who will go to war with you in that gym everyday is irreplaceable. They say you build bonds with people when you suffer together. A bond that can’t really be defined but is understood easily. We know when to pick each other up and when to laugh at each other.
If you currently exercise alone…I know this sounds crazy…but find some friends to do it with. A group of people who will push you and make you better. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Don’t be a loner in your training or in your life…get connected with people who love you and will inspire you to be the best you possible.