How Strong Is Strong Enough? Shifting From Training For Performance To Training For Maintenance

 In General, StoneAgeFuel

Ive said it before, and Ill say it again: Measuring your fitness is important.

It allows you to monitor where youre at and where youre going. We test and re-test various lifts and conditioning workouts to give you a chance to celebrate your performance improvements, and we believe these improvements play a big role in what will keep you motivated to stick with your commitment to fitness for life.

But while measuring performance is imperative

its certainly not the only thing thats important when it comes to fitness. And at some point, being too consumed with measuring where youre at can be detrimental to your psyche, and can start holding you back.

As any veteran of any sport knows, the better you get the harder, the harder it is to improve. PRs become fewer and further between, and you find yourself celebrating quality-of-movement improvements as opposed to 20-lb. PRs. (And when you eventually have to factor in an aging body, at some point youre probably not going to get PRs at all anymore).

Shifting from a competitors trying to improve all the timeattitude to a maintenancemindset can be really challenging for many people. Many of us fell in love with the style of training we do because of the constant push for self-improvement, so to suddenly not be trying to improve your numbers anymore can mess with your mind!

Many of us fell in love with the style of training we do because of the constant push for self-improvement, so to suddenly not be trying to improve your numbers anymore can mess with your mind!

If you are a competitive athletewhose used to putting in 25-plus hours a week into your training and recovery dayand the day is approaching where youre planning on shifting your focus to become a more recreational lifestyle athlete, youre going to need to do some soul-searching in the next little while.

If you dont, you could end up being that obnoxious guy or girl in the late-night beer league basketball game that still plays like the scouts are watching.

re going to have to ask yourself, and be able to answer the following questions:

How good is good enough?

How strong is strong enough?

If Im no longer trying to get better, how do I become OK with getting worse?

As someone who has been slowly shifting (and agonizing about it along the way) from being a competitive athlete to a recreational one in the last two years, here are some tips that have helped me come terms with the fact that Im now in a maintenance phase of fitness:

Re-set and establish new goals:

I went to a BBQ, where the host made every man who showed up lift a 300-lb. deadlift in his garage before he could join the BBQ.

I decided to join in and lifted the bar cold. At that moment, I decided I no longer cared that I didnt have a 350-lb. deadlift, and that being able to lift 300-lb. to earn my way into a BBQ was strong enough.I have also since accepted that theres is nothing wrong with my new goals being to look good naked, and to be able to do cool party tricks like walk on my hands.

Whatever your new goals are, its important to keep setting goals. They dont have to be performance-based at all: Maybe its to workout in nature once a week, or to try a new sport every year, or to show up to three group classes a week. The point: Keep setting goals.

Find a new hobby:

If you have so much time on your hands now because youre not training as much as you used to, find something to replace the time you spent at the gym.

This might mean dabbling with various activities for a bit until you find something you enjoy, or maybe you already have something you know you enjoy but havent had the time to pursue. Now is the time to try!

Quality PRs:

Learn how to appreciate quality versus quantity PRsthings like efficiency of movement or mobility gain, or even the ability to breathe more effectively during conditioning.

Dont write yourself off:

Finally, even though you might be training less now than you used to, you still will find yourself getting better at certain things. Dont lose confidence in yourself.

Its relatively easy to maintain 90 percent of your peak fitness by training a fraction of the hours in the gym. And on fresh days, believe in yourself that you still can hit some personal bests! You will sometimes, and theyll feel as good as they always did.

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