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The Perfect Program…does it exist? Well, no. But also, yes.


In my humble opinion, the perfect program is the program that will allow you, over a
prolonged period of time, to work consistently towards all of the goals you may have – and to be able to change and adapt as your goals may change, or as your world changes around you.


Ultimately it should be challenging while at the same time providing you with the correct stimulus to achieve the adaptions and progressions that lead towards these goals.

It’s also my contention that a good program would challenge you in ways that might not seem immediately obvious, which is where being hybrid steps into the frame (but that’s a conversation for another time…).


It should be challenging but enjoyable, provide you many different types of goals to work towards, and have you feeling encouraged to go to the gym and to continue what might, at times, be an arduous journey.


Our (imaginary) perfect program should obviously allow you to maintain intense and pointed effort in the gym, at the same time as allowing having space built into it for maximising recovery. How we maintain and ‘optimise’ that recovery is often based on managing external stressors such as social requirements, work, sleep and nutrition but good programming will allow for different energy systems and stressors to be consolidated. In articles to come, if you
want, I can deep dive into how to consider all this while building your daily, weekly and phasic structure but today I want to lead you towards considering the most forgotten muscle that needs flexed. And that is the mind!


Any programming that wants to claim perfection should also be leaning hard into
psychological factors. You should feel motivated and look forward to training, the workouts themselves should be challenging enough that walking to the gym is not a chore and when you leave, you’re thrilled at breaking down new barriers. They may be incremental and linear wins easily tracked by metrics (speed, distance, weight, power) but they can also be psychological, and ask questions about your character and will that you might not have known
the answer to!


Some of the key reasons people train are to become more robust overall, to ‘toughen’ themselves and to develop themselves beyond their current capacity but what is forgotten is the chance to fail! The opportunity to take on a challenge you’re not sure you’ll finish. To walk into the unknown with only your wit and will.


In doing so, we develop mental toughness and I’m a firm believer that mental toughness is DEFINITELY a trainable quality and that anyone saying ‘you can’t teach heart’ is gatekeeping their own weakness. Controversial? Nah, it’s proven.


At Omnia, intermittently, we test our athletes by changing their day’s programming out (whenever it seems the least likely) and adding in a challenge that we, as coaches, know they may very well fail. The only instruction being to ‘Try you damn hardest, tell me if and when you broke and then meditate on the feeling’.


Below, I’ve added an example session. It may already be well within your wheelhouse, it may be way beyond your current capability. Whatever the case, throw out today’s work, give this a try and test your mental fortitude.

I hope you fail - because that’s where the magic is.
Winston Churchill was once asked to give a speech to the Royal Naval Academy regarding the tactics that won WW2 against a vastly superior adversary.
Churchill's speech was succinct:


"Never, ever, ever, give up"

 

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