How to NOT Fall Off During Fall

It is with a heavy heart I come to the realization that summer is officially over. I often say, if I had it my way, it would be 90 degrees 360 days out of the year, and 60 degrees the five days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I love the beach, the lake, iced coffee, shorts, outside workouts, BBQ’s and warm evenings. Although, the world does keep on moving in it’s course around the sun leaving us in Fall. Fall is that weird season, where people who are not active on Instagram all of a sudden have 100 pictures about their matching flannels, pumpkin spice everything, and hoodies. Fall is also the season where people begin to fall off the wagon. Huge pun intended.

After the first of the year people flock towards gyms to get in shape. If they even make it into February, they likely don’t get past Valentine’s Day. They start up again in April to get that, “summer bod” that is ready to go to the lake looking j-j-jacked. After the summer BBQ’s, camping trips, beach vacations, and warm evenings are over, people lose motivation to continue training. Labor day weekend is the last hurrah of delicious BBQ food, Halloween is another sugary treat fest served in skimpy outfits. Thanksgiving is the last nail in the coffin. The final straw that lays all remnants of discipline in a grave to be revived again on January 1st.

20161001_221709656_ios.jpg

We are at the dusk of September and the downhill rush of the holidays is approaching. Here are several tips to stay on track with your nutrition, training program, and discipline throughout not only the fall, but winter also.

Reflect on your goals and progress.

If you started training hard to change your body composition for the summer, look for those initial progress pictures. Reflect back on how far you’ve come after several months of consistent discipline, clean eating, and training. You should be proud of how far you’ve come, but don’t get it twisted. You are far from being done. If you look back and look exactly the same as you did before summer, or are still lifting the same weights you lifted back in April, it’s time to get your act together. Summer is over. No more messing around. Find a routine and get back in the gym. Look back on the goals you wrote down several months ago and get to work. If you don’t know where to start, list two new goals: 1) Physique or body composition goal, 2) performance goal (i.e. strength, endurance, 1RM, etc.). Find a training program to start, and a nutrition plan. Stick to it. Get up early and train hard.

It also goes without saying, you can adjust or change your goals also. If you spent several months leaning out and bringing down your bodyfat percentage, maybe it’s time to focus on building serious muscle and adding some pounds to the barbell. The bottom line is, reflect on the goals you set out to accomplish all those months ago, as use that as motivation and data to attack this next season of training.

Change up the norm.

Recently I posted a picture on my Instagram of me training outside. It was so refreshing and fun! Training in the same gym, same garage, same facility, for months on end can grow stale. Change things up to bring the fun back into training. Take dumb bells outside and chase a crazy arm pump. Make a sled out of a car tire and run sprints up and down the block. Finish the workout with five sets till failure on a certain exercise. It’s okay to add some variety and fun into a training program. That being said, if you’re a powerlifter, changing the norm does not mean go run 20 miles after a heavy squat day. Keep the change all in good taste.

Find a training partner.

Having a training partner who is going to push you and hold you accountable is one of the best things you can do as a lifter, or even someone looking to get healthy. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Though this is originally speaking about one’s spiritual life, the same applies for the gym. A training partner helps me get out of bed and into the garage even when I don’t want to. Not only look for a good training partner, but be a good training partner. No one wants to train with someone complains , or talks too much in between sets. If you say that your partner doesn’t talk to much in between sets, it’s because YOU talk too much between sets.

Those are three things that I find I must employ every fall season to stay on track. Staying disciplined is hard. It takes work. It takes commitment and it requires you be uncomfortable. The results of discipline make it worthwhile. Do not get caught in the pumpkin spice latte craze, or the spider sugar cookies. Do NOT lose focus this fall season. Keep getting up early. Stay disciplined. Do not fall off the wagon during this fall season and lose what you have worked so hard to achieve the last several months.

For more information on 1-on-1 training, personalized workout programming for all of your fitness needs, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com. To see some of my daily training and routines, follow me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

Advertisements

Lessons in Daily Discipline #1: NEVER STOP LEARNING

If you follow me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage), or know me personally, you will know that Iive by the phrase, “daily discipline”. Not only is it a clever use of alliteration, but also represents the way we should all strive to live our lives. One of my most popular articles, “Why Do I Get Up Early?” gives an in depth look into one aspect of daily discipline. If you haven’t read the article, you can find it here. I decided to start a series of articles that not only allow me to open up about decisions of discipline or lack there of in my own life, but to also help those who need a little extra push to stay disciplined in certain areas.

Last week I began training for the Submission Pro Tour in October. Once I have a date on the calendar, I am 100% focused. Every aspect of my life revolves around peak performance and gaining a competitive edge against the competition. One of the habits I picked up while training for a previous tournament was buying a $2 notebook at WalMart and begin to study jiu jitsu competitions and other practitioners. I took notes on everything. Their sequence of attacks and certain defenses, transitions, most successful submission, etc. I also took notes on the moves and transitions I learned in class, and how I did during the live rolls of class. In beginning the study process for this next tournament, I realized something. Why am I not applying this amount of focus, passion and drive to learn jiu jitsu throughout the entire year? Not only in jiu jitsu, but why have I fallen out of reading daily? What happened to the discipline of making time to learn something new each week?

Like fresh bread, we must never grow stale. We must never grow complacent with our current position or situation. We must always strive for something more. There is something special about aiming to be better, faster, more efficient, at any task, skill, or aspect of our everyday lives. Not only does learning and growing enhance our quality of life, but the lives of those around us. At this last year’s Global Leadership Summit, founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Church and head of the Summit stated in his opening session, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Isn’t that so true? When a leader in the workplace gets better, employees enjoy their job more, and are able to deliver with excellence on the tasks they’re assigned. The same for coaches. When a coach gets better, most of the time, athletes get better. When a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend gets better, the relationship gets better.

Constantly learning allows us to grow in fulfilling the purpose God has for us, or the mission we have set out to complete. In fulfilling the purpose God has for us, everyone reaps the benefit. I realized that in order to become a better strength and conditioning coach I needed to stay up to date on what research is coming out about exercise physiology, as well as learn how to run my business more efficiently so I can help more people reach their fitness goals. I in turn bought Lazlo Bock’s NY Times Bestseller, “Work Rules!”. In reading this book I am learning how not only how to transform how I live, but also become a better leader because of it.

20170912_035634544_iOS
Some of the books and resources I’ve picked up over the years.

Learning does not necessarily mean learning or studying something that is directly related to your sport or your line of work. It is good to stretch yourself and learn something beyond what you’re comfortable with. When I first met my girlfriend, I hated coffee. If you know me now, that might come as a huge shock. Although, through getting to know her family more and being exposed to great coffees from all over the world, I became fascinated with home brewing. Over the last several years I have accumulated several pieces of home brew equipment and thoroughly enjoy finding the perfect ground to water ratio, the perfect temperature to heat the water, and what coffees taste best with a certain brew method. Learning about coffee not only is fun and enjoyable with other coffee lovers, but it allows me to take a break from all the barbells and jiu jitsu. Sometimes it is nice to step out of the realm I am used to thinking in, and be exposed to a whole new world of agriculture and chemistry.

Making a commitment to learn more is not difficult. It just takes discipline. Here are some of the steps I take when wanting to self educate myself further…

  1. Schedule in time specifically dedicated to self education. Write it in big sharpie, put a reminder on your phone, whatever it takes. Do not just think, “Today I am going to spend some time reading.” People are so busy these days and 9/10 just saying you’ll try to do it does not last very long.
  2. Go grab a book. Any book. Any book that seems remotely interesting and READ it. Don’t leave it on the shelf. Use the first step of scheduling time, and read the thing.
  3. Make a list of hobbies and plug one of those hobbies in with “How to…” on YouTube.
  4. Find an interesting podcast to start listening to during your commute to and from work.
  5. Instead of watching TV in the evening, turn on that podcast and go for a walk after dinner.

These are just some of the habits I have used in the past to self educate myself. It is easy to do all these things when you have all the time in the world. Unfortunately, there is never enough time. Like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger always said, “You will never have enough time. You must make the time!” As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it takes discipline. Daily Discipline. Now go out and learn something. Comment below what you are going to learn this week!

For more information of #dailydiscipline, strength and conditioning, and my everyday life, give me a follow on Instagram: @joshuasettlage. If you have questions or inquiries on personalized programming, customized nutrition plans, and/or personal training, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

3 Things Wrestlers Should Do In Their Pre-Season

Labor day weekend is now officially behind us, and the heat waves and summer tournaments are over. Now is the calm between being in the off season, and being deep into the weekly dual meets, tournaments, cold winter and all. As a wrestler, you are the only one responsible for your losses the previous season. There is no one else to blame, but you. As a wrestler, you can not claim credit for any of your wins. Each of your wins last season came from the many contributions both your training partners and coaches invested in you. Although, during the off season, what you do to get better is entirely your responsibility. The summer months are what really separate the JV and Varsity line ups, the divisional competitors, and state placers. During the summer, a wrestler makes a conscious choice whether they want to crush the competition next season or not. They make a choice between being a glutton at every backyard BBQ and hardly gets a wink of sleep, and those who focus on getting stronger, refining technique, and keeping their nutrition in check. What YOU decided to do this summer is what has put you in the position you are in now. It is now the week after Labor Day weekend, back in school, and time to start up pre season training. Here are three things every wrestler who is serious about becoming the best wrestler they can be should be doing right now in this precious preseason.

  1. Keep Getting STRONG.

If you are one of those wrestlers who chose to take advantage of the off season, you most likely spent most of the summer training hard to build a firm foundation of strength to take into next season. Now that it is the pre-season, do not stop now! You still have at least three months before your first tournament. That’s 2 months at the very least to keep lifting heavy and getting as strong as can be. You might have to make sacrifices like skipping weekend parties and late nights to be a good student, and lift for wrestling. You can’t stop now, because there is still work to be done. You do not want to throw away that strength you worked so hard for over the summer. With that being said, now is the time to introduce a little conditioning. Finish out your workouts with some sprint intervals on the track, or sled drags and pushes. You do not need to run a marathon, but something short, fast to start building your engine. A future article will discuss different conditioning finishers for pre-season training. Here is one of the simplest finishers: 20 minutes total of 30s all out sprints, followed by 30s of rest. If you have never done this on a rowing machine, give that a try. You will find what you’re made of on that rower.

20170904_162545383_iOS.jpg

If you have not been training this summer to get strong, now is the time to start. Start squatting, deadlifting, and pressing. If you need to know why strength is important to sport and how to perform each lift, refer to last week’s article here. There is a famous saying, “On a hot summer day with no shade, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is right now.” You should have started doing some sort of structured strength training two weeks after your last match. If you did not, then you better get to the gym and start now.

2) Dial in Your Nutrition:

School has started which means there are no more summer BBQ’s, swim parties, late night hang outs or kickbacks. Now is the time to get your nutrition straight. You want to have your diet locked in BEFORE season starts. Trying to adjust your diet, finding out what foods your body responds well too, and trying to develop new eating habits to make weight in season is very hard. Get your food straight now. It will only make you a better athlete. If you have never seriously eaten clean before. Start with these two simple rules: 1) If it comes from the ground or has a mom, it’s probably good for you. 2) If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. Simple as that. Not only will you perform better as an athlete, you will gradually begin to lose excess body fat gained in the summer, thus giving you a better idea of what weight class you can be most competitive in. Learning to properly fuel your body for optimal performance should be done before you begin training for optimal performance.

 

3) TAKE EVERY CHANCE YOU CAN GET.

For some wrestling programs, not all preseason practices are mandatory. You have to chose to show up to practice. If you are in the middle of football season and/or have commitment to another sport that’s a different story. Although, if you are serious wrestler, you better show up. It’s no secret that the wrestlers who have been to more practices, drilled more tilts, taken more shots, and finished more takedowns at practice are going to out perform you every time. Put in extra work every chance you get. If there’s no practice on Saturday, invite a team mate over, move the couch and coffee table and drill tilts for an hour on the carpet. If there is no one who wants to drill for an hour on a Saturday, move the couch and coffee table and drill your stand up escapes. Getting in 100 perfect reps doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV, watch your matches from last season and take notes (I started doing this when I was a sophomore in high school. Hands down one of the best things I did to become a better wrestler. I still do it to this day with all my jiu jitsu matches.)

image

I apply this principle in my own jiu jitsu training. All summer I would find someone who would want to show up an hour early to drill transitions and submissions. I usually stay after class to get an extra 30 minutes of live rolls in. When no one wants to get to jiu jitsu early, I go over to my old wrestling team and wrestle with them for an hour before I go to jiu jitsu. On Sundays I drive 30 minutes across town to another jiu jitsu school and get in an hour of live rolling. My game has improved drastically, because of the extra steps I take each week to become better. My next competition is in 46 days and I want to be prepared as I can be. I will take every chance I get to become better. You have 3 months. Get after it.

These are the three things you should be doing right now during this precious preseason. If you are not, start NOW. Not tomorrow, or Monday. TODAY. Begin to build discipline and take advantage of opportunities to become a better wrestler. Next season is a reflection of the work you put in during the offseason and preseason. Get strong, eat clean, and wrestle.