You’re about to start your summer training program. You have a plan in place and are ready to hit the ground running, but you will inevitably face obstacles that have the potential to slow your progress. No plan is perfect.
A small disruption in your training is no big deal, especially if you adjust accordingly. Issues arise only when you let these disruptions or bad habits go unaddressed. Then the excuses start piling up.
“Elite athletes are generally very focused and driven,” says Mike Boyle, co-founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning (Woburn, Massachusetts). “They’re not making excuses. They always seems to figure out what needs to be done.”
To help you plan ahead, we’ve provided solutions to 7 common obstacles that commonly ruin summer training programs.
1. You’d Rather be Outside
Summer is the time to be outside—especially if you live in a cold-weather state. Training indoors during this precious time is not ideal. We get it; it stinks when it’s a beautiful day outside and you’re stuck inside working your butt off.
The Fix: It’s not a requirement to train indoors. As a matter of fact, we encourage you to train outdoors as much as possible. Most training equipment can be taken outdoors if you have a flat surface—and the will to lug the equipment. Speed workouts can be done on virtually any field, and you can even hit the beach for some conditioning work. Check out the video above to see Todd Durkin of Fitness Quest 10 demonstrating a strength and endurance routine you can do outside.
2. Your Friends Come Calling
It’s Sunday night, and you have a workout planned for Monday morning. Suddenly the phone dings. Your friends are planning a trip to the beach tomorrow, and they want you to join them. You’re seriously tempted. The thought of sticking to your initial plan causes a serious case of FOMO. Who could blame you for not wanting to miss out and later seeing photos of all the fun on Instagram?
The Fix: There’s no getting around this one. If you want to go, go—as long as you’re not missing a session with a strength coach. It’s important to enjoy your summer and make sure training doesn’t become a chore. The key is what you do in the following days. Assess your training schedule to see how you can make up the lost time. If your program calls for four days of training, you now have six days to get that in instead of seven.
3. You’re Going on Vacation
Vacations are great occasions to recharge your batteries and experience new and exciting things. But if you’re not careful, a vacation can mess up your entire training program. What often happens: you have a week-long family vacation coming up and you know your opportunities to train will be limited. A week or so before you leave, you start slacking off, knowing you won’t be doing much in the coming week. Then, when you get back, you’re tired and have trouble getting back into your routine. You suddenly realize you’ve missed three weeks of training.
The Fix: You need to plan ahead. If you know you’re going on vacation, schedule that time—however long it is—as a recovery week. Try to hit it really hard the week before, and don’t slack off. When you return, get right back into it, no excuses. You might be tired or off, but any workout is better than nothing. And if you can lift a few times during your vacation, even better.
4. You’re Chronically Late
Some people are late. They put things off until the last minute and end up cutting it close or missing a deadline. Being chronically late can cause you to skip significant parts of your workout and miss out on important parts of your training. If you’re working with a trainer, you’re just wasting their time.
The Fix: Be disciplined! Instead of pushing it to the limit, set your deadline at least 15 minutes ahead. “Don’t be on time, be early,” says Durkin. “A lot of my top pros are here early, and they do some extra warming up before we get started.”
5. You’re Not Focused During Your Workouts
Losing focus during workouts is a training killer. You might have a great program, but if you’re not focused when you actually do it, odds are you’re not giving your full effort and not following the program as prescribed. Since you’re already working out, don’t you want to get the most out of the time you spend lifting?
The Fix: “There’s no doubt there’s a sense of goofiness and messing around prior to training,” says Tony Gentilcore, co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance (Hudson, Massachusetts). “But when it’s time to train, the best guys are all business.” This involves being completely focused on your training, not chit-chatting with friends and not texting on your phone. You’re working out, not hanging out.
6. You’re Working the Wrong Muscles
Any workout is better than doing nothing. But too often, young athletes work only their mirror muscles. “Young athletes have these preconceived notions that it’s all about their chest and arms,” says Boyle. “They’re worried about how much they can bench, but elite athletes could care less about that.”
The Fix: You need to train your entire body—not just your chest and arms. It’s OK to Bench Press, but you should also Squat, Deadlift, perform single-leg lifts and work your back. The best way to accomplish this is to follow a proper training program.
7. You Don’t Take Sufficient Time to Recover
Young athletes are notorious for running themselves ragged. You work out, then hang with friends and stay up late before doing it all over again. Meanwhile, you’re eating everything in sight. It might not seem like a big deal at the moment, but it can insidiously reduce the effectiveness of your workouts, and even cause your body to break down from overuse. “Sleep and nutrition are imperative if you want to play at your highest level,” asserts Durkin.
The Fix: No quick fix here. You need to make a lifestyle choice to get enough sleep (at least 8 hours) and eat right every day. “The pros I work with don’t let things slide outside the weight room. They’re dotting theirs i’s and crossing their t’s with their recovery, nutrition and even family,” says Tim Difranceso, L.A. Lakers strength coach. “It’s a common theme that they approach the weight room the same way they approach their lifestyle.”
When it’s all said and done, you need to be disciplined to overcome each of these obstacles. You will probably encounter at least one of them at some point during your summer training. How you handle it will determine your success. “It’s the decision to get better that will ultimately allow you to improve,” adds Durkin.