When I first met my fiancé years ago he used to always talk about “not just going through the motions” with training. I use to nod in agreement but never took time to think about what that meant.
As we were both PTs at the same gym, he would point out people in the gym who would complain about not getting results but would look like zombies while they sat on the gym equipment.
A couple months later when I became a CrossFit coach I finally understood what it meant to train with purpose and intent.
In the CrossFit gym I saw and coached hundreds of members each day instead of 1:1, (so my data grew haha). One thing I noticed very quickly is even though 2 members might train the exact same hours each week, doing the exact same exercises and classes – you can have one who progresses as majorly improved, both their performance and their physique, while the other might stay the same (or in some cases got slowly worse).
What is the reason for this?
There was a distinct difference in those who trained with INTENT AND PURPOSE vs those who were just going through the motions.
And I am not talking about natural talent, those who come first in the workouts all the time (although being faster and fitter is a type of improvement), those who came to the gym more often or did double classes, or even those who lifted the heaviest weights.
You can do all of that and still be going through the motions.
Whether or not you are training with PURPOSE and INTENT.
To start with, when you train, what's the purpose of that training? What's going on inside your mind as you train? Is your intent simply to go through the motions of the workout and go home, is it to make sure you get that “dead” feeling that leaves you breathless on the dusty gym floor? Or is it to get further, to push your body to become better, stronger, faster, more explosive and more resilient?
That’s what training with purpose means. It’s not complicated but far too many people just go through the motions.
Do you think that feeling sore after every workout a good indicator that you are training with purpose? That’s also not always true. (in fact if you are ALWAYS feeling really sore that is a sign that you aren’t training the right way).
Here is a non conclusive list of what training with purpose means to me:
-Challenging yourself by adding weight when you can safely do so, and lifting true percentages (i.e. if it’s a 5RM you should literally only have 1-2 more reps in the tank – not another 10)
-Focusing on completing each rep with great form and technique
-Training mindfully – not just coming in the gym wanting someone to tell you what to do so you can train like a zombie
-Taking personal responsibility for your training, knowing your max lifts, tracking all that data, ensuring there’s built in progression in your program and that you are getting measurable improvements
-Not prioritizing being “dead on the floor” after your workout but rather prioritising getting consistently stronger/fitter and improving in your technique
-Being mindful of your rest time between sets (this can mean resting more for some women, who go through the strength work too fast without using proper weight, and resting less for others who should get on with things and get it done).
-Aiming to be better/stronger at a lift today than they were the last workout
-Get out of your comfort zone by pushing yourself harder with the weights than a coach ever possibly could (you know yourself better than anyone else and you know if you are truly giving it your all)
-Treating your training like a craft you are aiming to improve in as much as you can, including technique and strength
-Letting go of the attitude that the purpose of training is about “burning calories”. If you still hold that mindset, you have some work to do. (Diet and tracking macros are for that – plus things like measuring your NEAT levels [daily steps]. Training is for building your body and improving your performance.)
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