Everyone and their mother likes to say how hard they train, how tough their regimen is, “embrace the grind,” and how they are tougher than you.
The problem is, training hard doesn’t let me know if you are training properly. You know what else is hard? Training on concrete, walking over broken glass, and breathing through a straw – all things that will not make you a better fighter (although some people think breathing through straws does, lol!).
When someone tells me they are training smart – that is more indicative of someone who takes their training seriously.
Now don’t get me wrong, hard training is important and has it’s place, but it isn’t everything. It is also relative to who you are, what you tolerance is, fitness level, body age, etc. People who train hard are like hammers and see everything as nails. They expect everyone to train just like them regardless of who they are.
Training smart requires you to strategize and plan your workouts. The more detailed and methodically, the smarter you are being. Sparring every day is hard, but not necessarily smart. Doing full contact muay thai rounds daily will have you in the hospital in no time, lol.
Serious athletes know this all to well. Marathon runners do NOT run marathons daily. They have a very detailed schedule of their workouts, being very mindful of not “peaking” early. They have to be very smart not to over train or break down their body before the race. Likewise, most fighters avoid lifting weights and sparring towards the end of the camp to avoid injury and allow for recovery.
Just because you aren’t a professional athlete, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think like one. It is easy to say, “train hard” and just go in and smash daily. It is “harder” to take the time to think about what activities you should be doing and at what frequency.
Myself, I used to be a train hard type of guy and just follow the Dan Gable example. I think many old school fighters, especially wrestlers, followed that paradigm. It is drilled into you as a young man. I think for young athletes especially, it is important to know that you can train hard and “red line” yourself while your body can take it and recover fast. But the older you get, the smarter you have to be.
A misconception is that you can only make big gains in strength or cardio by training hard. That is wrong. Training smart can yield better results. For cardio, monitoring your heart rate and training in specific ranges for x amount of minutes yielded me much better results than just running hard. Likewise, lifting weights smart and giving yourself proper recovery is much better than heavy lifting daily.
I cannot tell you exactly what training smart means for you – as it is specific to each person. You have to listen to your body, and adjust based on your goals and your needs. It is a process of trial and error. Documenting how you feel before, during, and after training. Measuring your performance, energy levels, and state of mind. It will continually change as you do.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Maybe a bit “harder” than just going balls out without thinking about what you are doing? In a world of people that like repeating a mantra and not analyzing what they are doing, stand out and think. Everything you do should have a purpose that moves you in a positive direction. Be mindful of that and direct your efforts accordingly.
Comment with your take on this.