I played football for many years which gave me the opportunity to work under some great minds in the strength and conditioning business. I have also studied works by Joe Kenn, Mike Robertson, Buddy Morris, Chip Morton, Joe DeFranco, Boris Sheiko, and David Joyce, just to name a few. These names may not mean much to the average person, but in the strength and conditioning community they are legendary.
“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”
This quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill, and many great coaches have subscribed to it as well. Implementing proper training programs for professional and collegiate athletes is of vital importance. Joe Kenn, the Head Strength Coach for the Carolina Panthers, devotes an entire section in his book to what he calls “the annual plan,” and he isn’t the first to point out its necessity.
Many athletes have everything laid out for them, including practice times, class times, workouts, and meals. Colleges often pay for strength coaches, nutritionists and advisors to make sure the men and women playing sports have an easier time balancing their responsibilities.
You, on the other hand, are probably not so lucky. You may have children to care for and other obligations without the luxury of a personal secretary or advisor telling you where you must be and when.
What you could have, however, is a strength coach and training program.
What you need to do is create your own style of planning. College coaches do it by the year. Steve Olson and I have done it by 18-week blocks. Either way, the plan bends but does not break. Even the great Kevin Woods plans his training regimen far in advance of his meets.
People often grapple with unexpected conflicts—things that come up at work or at home. That’s where the plan needs to bend. A typical scenario might be one where you scheduled three gym visits in a given week, but your children snatched two of those because of their ball games or practices. What do you do?
PLAN FOR MORE! Planning is key. It has helped me, for example, in terms of both dieting and working out. Planning each day is huge when trying to stick to macronutrient goals and a workout regimen. I will give you the top ways to plan and will properly prepare you to mold your own regimen.
1) Plan your weekly meals ahead.
-For me this is making sure I have ready-packed meals. Do I do this every week? No. Some Sundays I am busy, so I find a day that will bend to my plan, and I batch cook chicken and rice to grab on the go. Most of what you cook can be frozen, so it will be fresh for a long time. This can make a big difference when it comes to shopping and saving money. When you plan a dinner menu ahead of time, you know exactly what to buy because you know what you’re cooking. That means no more impulse buying. This is also an advantage for family time at the dinner table, an obvious plus.
2) Plan the unexpected.
-Not everyone’s week will go as planned. Things come up that may demand full attention. Many times, plans cannot be bent. Say, for example, you schedule strength classes with me four mornings a week, but on one of those mornings you realize you must attend an early meeting. What are you going to do? Miss your lift? Not necessarily. You can plan to be here that evening instead. Too tired to work out at night? Suck it up buttercup, and remember this is your annual plan bending and not a constant trend. If you do start planning evening workouts on a regular basis, it will be much easier mentally because you have made the decision in your mind to plan for it. But remember, if it is not a priority it will never happen. Have your priority list already made before your annual plan.
I am doing my best to add class times to the schedule to accommodate everyone’s annual plan. Please let me know if there is any more I can do.
3) Don’t be tough on yourself.
-One of my biggest problems is I am very hard on myself for missing lift sessions. It’s not the end of the world. Push it to the next week or weekend, or even double up one day if you must. My wife always comes up with other great activities to do on the weekend when we miss lifts. Biking is our favorite!
I hope that these tips can help you and the people you share it with, reach your goals, and if there is anything else The Strength Feed can do please feel free to contact me, or better yet come get a workout in!