The NFL season has come and gone. Here in America we are entering that great sports void that happens every year between the end of football season and the beginning of baseball season. It’s the dead of winter, there’s very little to do and neither of the two most popular sports is on TV for your viewing pleasure. A difficult time for fans, to be sure.
The good news is that gives you more time to dedicate to your training. There’s only about 16 weeks until Memorial Day weekend so there’s no time for slacking off. (***Shameless Plug Alert- 16 weeks also happens to be the exact time frame of both the Yoked and Uncaged programs which are on sale this week… I’m just sayin)
In case you need some extra motivation to help you make it through till the start of baseball season I’ve compiled a list of 9 training and success tips from this years Super Bowl champions, The New York Football Giants.
Now, even if you don’t bleed blue like I do, you can still apply these lessons to your own training for faster results and better long term progress.
Without further adieu here’s the list:
1) You Gotta Be “All In”
Throughout the Giants season, “All In” was a recurring theme. You’ve seen it on the banners and heard it discussed by the announcers. When it comes to your training you have to be “All In” or you’ll never get the results you’re after. That means you can’t just train properly and hope to make progress. You also have to eat properly, you have to get enough sleep, you need to reduce stress in your life, you need to find the right gym or training environment and you need to make sure to pay as much attention to recovery as you do to training and nutrition. Each of those factors is equally important. If you’re not “All In” and one of those is lagging behind your results will always suffer.
2) Make it Difficult
Eli Manning discussed this at the ticker tape parade, talking about how Coach Coughlin always told them to make it difficult. He joked about starting the season 6-2 and then saying, “Coach, it’s not hard enough, we need to go lose a bunch of games and make this more difficult.”
Applied to your training this means that you should always strive to add more reps or more weight over time. Make it difficult. Challenge yourself to get better. Do this slowly over time; not at every single workout. Contrary to what I used to believe many years ago there is actually quite a lot of value in easy workouts. You need the easy workouts and the back off weeks just as much as you need the hard ones. But the hard ones are what make you.
Over time make your training more difficult by adding more weight or moving on to more advanced bodyweight exercise progressions or training more often with more volume (if your goal is to build muscle). Don’t settle for easy and fall into the same rut most typical gym rats do.
This is another recurring theme that was discussed throughout the season and the playoffs. With eight come from behind wins, the Giants certainly finished strong like no one else this season. I have said over and over again that if your goal is to get stronger you should finish your workouts on a high note and leave feeling great.
Some people have been brainwashed by mainstream nincompoops to believe that they should finish their workouts feeling like they just played one on fifty two against the entire New York Giants roster for sixty minutes straight, while wearing no pads. That’s fine for those who want to get… tired… I guess. But if your goal is to develop strength and power you never want to leave the gym feeling like that. You should feel just as good, if not better than when you started. That means no excessive endurance type work or training to failure. Keep everything short duration, heavy and explosive.
4) Show Your Goals Some Respect
Tom Coughlin is as old school as a coach can get. One of his infamous rules is that you have to be five minutes early for every meeting or you’re considered late and owe a fine. If building size and strength is important to you and you want to get in shape show that goal some respect. By that I mean allow yourself the proper time required to achieve that goal. In the short term that means don’t just rush into the gym hoping to get a quick twenty minute workout in with no warm up then get out. If it’s truly important to you make the time to get your workouts in. I’m sure when you cut out TV time and wasted time on Facebook and all kinds of other nonsense you will find the additional ten minutes to get to the gym with enough time to foam roll and warm up properly.
I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone else because when I get extremely busy I’ve been known to do this when there is really no excuse for it. Getting in a solid training session always makes you feel better and makes you more productive at work. And with my history of injuries I really can’t afford to skip the warm up stuff.
For the long haul this means you have to be dedicated and show the respect to those who paved the way and came before you. I don’t mean that you have to put up posters of Arthur Saxon above your bed but you have to show respect to the game and be dedicated, realizing that high levels of size and strength take time and hard work. There are no overnight magical solutions. Be prepared to work for it and earn it over time or find another hobby.
5) Keep it Old School and Stick to the Basics
The basics, which Tom Coughlin is a huge fan of, win football games. They also build muscle and strength better than any kind of new fangled high tech gizmo’s or training protocols. Before you question what you should be doing in the gym think back to what the founding fathers of Physical Culture did long before we were born. Basic, compound, barbell lifts, gymnastics exercises and odd object lifting, full body workouts, low reps, three meals per day, lots of rest and low stress levels. If you want to improve your training and your life emulate guys like Paul Anderson, George Jowett, Eugene Sandow and George Hackenshmidt did.
6) Get Soft Tissue Work Done
Two or three years ago I got my first massage from a girl named Nicole who has since become a good friend of mine. At the time I told everyone within driving distance that she was without a doubt the best massage therapist I had ever come across in twenty years of searching. The difference in my training when I am regularly getting worked on by Nicole versus times I’m not is night and day. There is no comparison. Everyone who has gone to her has reported the same thing.
Like the majority of all good advice in life my words were ignored by most and probably only a quarter or a third of the people I told about Nicole went to see her. That’s too bad because she now travels with the New York Giants, works the NFL combine and is rapidly heading to the top of her profession. I rely on her as does Justin Tuck and numerous other members of the Super Bowl champs.
If you live within an hour of central Jersey you owe it to yourself to pay her a visit. Shoot an email to our customer service and someone will get you her contact info. If you’re not in the Tri State area seek out a very good massage therapist and ART practitioner and see them regularly. When you beat yourself up with hard training you need to take active measures to recover and heal faster. If you’re interested in making rapid gains, that is.
7) Ignore the Haters
“There’s no way a seven and seven team is going to make the playoffs, let alone with the Super Bowl.”
“Tom Coughlin needs to be fired.”
This was the talk back in last third of the season. The Giants had the toughest schedule in the league and also had the greatest number of starters lose the most playing time due to injury. Even when it looked like all was lost they never paid attention to the haters and shit talkers.
Earlier in his career Eli Manning had to deal with his own teammate, Tiki Barber, telling the media that he was a joke and could never be a leader. Eli ignored it and went on to win two rings while Tiki disappeared into anonymity, never again welcome in Giants Stadium.
When you have a goal that is incomprehensible to most average people who sleep walk through life like zombies haters will always voice their opinions. They won’t understand why you eat the way you do or why you go to bed two hours earlier than they do. They’ll tell you that no one cares what you squat on the beach and that you should get over that obsession with heavy weight.
“Haters gonna hate.”
Do what you want to do and don’t let anyone bring you down or deter you from pursuing your goals.
While ignoring the haters is one thing you always have to believe, just like the New York Giants did. In this case I’m talking about believing in what you’re doing. Most people read far too many blogs and magazines and get themselves so confused that they don’t know what to believe. They read that low reps are the only way to go so they get crankin with that on Monday but by Wednesday they’ve read that high reps work better so they make the switch. Then on Friday they read that any type of reps suck and that isometrics are the only way to build size and strength. The problem is they never believe in what they are doing and are always doubting themselves every step of the way.
You don’t win world championships with that mindset and you don’t get any bigger stronger that way either. Pick one training system or methodology you can believe in 100% and stick with it. If you’re a member of The Renegade Nation read this site and follow the Renegade Method. If not go elsewhere and do something else. It doesn’t matter to me as long as you believe in what you’re doing. I’d rather see you guys actually get results than wasting time reading what I recommend if you don’t believe in it.
9) Keep Getting Better, One Step at a Time
During post game interviews they kept asking Eli Manning what the key to his success has been. Since the beginning of his career in New Jersey (which is where the Giants actually play) hardly a week has gone by when sports writers and fans didn’t want to run him out of town. But Eli ignored the haters (#7), believed (#8) in himself and made an effort to keep getting better, day after day. Slowly but surely he transformed himself into an elite quarterback. When asked about next season he talked about things he needed to work on and how he and the team just needed to keep getting better.
When it comes to your training, nutrition and recovery this is a never ending process. In tip #1 I talked about being “All In.” The reality, however, is that even if you are all in there will always be something that can be improved. For most of my life that was sleep. Over the past year or so I’ve gotten a lot better at getting more high quality sleep. Next I started working harder on my mobility, and while it’s improved greatly I know that I still need to dedicate more time to it each week.
What can you improve upon?
A better warm up?
Not injuring yourself in the gym with bad decisions (like I used to do)?
Eating more protein?
Drinking more water?
There’s always something you can focus on. Pick one thing and improve it. When it finally becomes a habit pick something else. Don’t try to change fifty things at once or you’ll fail miserably.
10) Always Remain Humble & Respectful
In the end Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning had earned their respect. They could have handled it differently but they remained as humble as possible. Many years ago while reading the words of the greatest writer in the history of the Iron Game, John McCallum, I was first made aware of how this concept applies to training.
John said that if you follow the old school basics- squat, chins, dips, lots of food and rest- you will grow very big and strong. The temptation to use that new found size and strength in less than honorable ways might arise but you must always remain humble and respectful, he advised. In other words, remember the struggle you went through, be willing to help newbies in theirs, and don’t turn into a complete asshole.
Just because you are bigger or stronger than someone doesn’t make you better than them or give you the right to be disrespectful. Big juiced up dudes who walk around with a bad attitude and start fights at clubs just give the whole Iron Game and Physical Culture movement a bad name. Then you wonder why the mainstream labels us dumb meatheads.
Don’t be a black eye on the game.
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