In the world of athletics and specifically the sport of weightlifting or CrossFit, it is almost inevitable that when talking about competition preparation and elite level athletes, the conversation will land on performance-enhancing substances. We all have been in the conversations that attributes an athlete success to the supposed drug use or their physical make up that has to be because of some sort of anabolic steroid. While there may be some substance to these conversations and truthfully they may be rooted in fact, I am always baffled at who is often the loudest when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs. Typically it’s the average athlete who clearly desires to be above average while they sit at the dinner table talking about performance-enhancing substances and shove the fifth piece of pizza into their mouth. Or the athlete who can’t quite make the cut for the next qualification for whatever their sport is and complains about how the top level athletes are on drugs while at the same time they’ve consumed 8 ounces of water that day along side 24 ounces of sweet tea. The world of athletics does a really good job of pointing out the “cheaters“ of the world because the only reason they got to where they are is because of drugs in our mind. The truth is we want to be at that level and we want it to be fair and we want competition at that level to be amongst those who have truly earned it without an advantage. The problem is, we are unwilling to make the legal sacrifices that will get us there. The small things if you will.
I am in my final preparatory block of training for the American open. Last week was Thanksgiving week. What that meant for me was a break from the daily routine of training high school athletes, being in the weight room at 6:00 in the morning, and basically all of the mentally and physically stressful parts of my day. My day literally consisted of waking up three hours later than normal, taking two hours to eat breakfast, decompress, relax with my oldest daughter, and leisurely make my way to the gym for my workout at 10:30 in the morning. I had one of the best weeks of training all cycle last week. Why? It wasn’t because of PEDs, it wasn’t because I had the perfectly proportioned pre-work out that day, or because I put the right music in my ears. The reason I had such a great week of training was the small things. I did a better job of getting good sleep. Did a better job of relaxing and relieving the stressors in my life. I did a better job of calorie intake for the week. (It was Thanksgiving after all) Overall I did the small things. More water, more sleep, less stress, more time to relax and decompress, less running around all day.
My point in saying all of this is that what’s holding you back from achieving many of your goals probably isn’t performing enhancing drugs. In fact, I can almost guarantee you that for 90% of the people who read this blog it has nothing to do with performance-enhancing substances. What’s holding you back is the small things. Do you eat more vegetables than you want to eat at dinner? Do you drink an extra 60ozof water to help in your recovery every day? Are you really careful about what you allow in your life to stress you out mentally, emotionally and physically? Are you doing the small things? Oftentimes the difference in an elite athlete and an average athlete isn’t a drug usage problem, it’s a discipline problem. The best athletes in the world are disciplined in all of the small things. Every athlete works out. Every athlete trains hard. Every athlete who has any sort of goal driven mindset has the mental drive to be elite. The difference in one versus the other will always be the small things. Are you really willing to take the next step in your training? If you are, it’s probably not anything except more water, more sleep, better food choices, and a little less stress in your life.