When you start losing that drive before competing - im so damn tired.....

For many of us as we are coming up to a competition and it has been a long hard build up, or having a succession of competitions with no down time between build ups – we start losing momentum.
The physical push all the time and increasing intensity and work load can leave you feeling tired and sore a lot of the time and keeping your eye on the goal can start to wander. The occasional “shit I just want this over now” or “can I really do another training session” leaps into your thoughts and the drive you had at the start of the build-up or beginning of the series of competitions winds down like the batteries going on your MP3 player.

For a lot of us this doesn’t mean we don’t want to compete – the decision that this is what we want to do is there and if asked, we would 100% say that this was the goal and mean it BUT this is where the crossover between mental and physical will becomes imperative.
So many of the people I have worked with experience this and its something I’m going through right now. It wasn’t until Brian Rose, in his wonderful honesty came out and said publicly he was tired after 3 consecutive build ups to fights with only 2 weeks off over 7 months that I thought it might be an idea to write up an article about it instead of just working through this with clients……..and also myself.

So there you are, ready to go. You have your eye on the competition/fight and your every waking minute is filled with the fire and drive towards it. Your routines for your food, training, daily regime are all in place and no one and nothing is going to move it. You have energy which is partially fuelled by the enthusiasm and focus to put everything in place to make this happen and win plus an unshakeable determination.

As the weeks count down and your body begins to get pushed on the build-up, the training gets heavier and harder, the intensity increases and you push towards that peak so the physical side of your momentum begins to slow especially if you are having to make weight and drop kilos as well as step up training. At this point this is where a majority of people would give up as this is where mental aspect and crossover takes place.

While it feels like you are physically dragging your feet through mud, even though you know that this is all so you will peak completely on the day, it’s the mental drive that gets you into the gym or on the run etc to keep you pushing on. This is where real Champions develop mental toughness and true focus as the psychological will to continue in fact creates the physical ability to go on. If you didn’t have this – at that moment, you would stop.

If it’s a series of competitions where you have to continuously gather yourself up each day and mentally decide you have to do this and towards the end you also start to burn out and the one element that keeps you going now begins to get tired. Keeping that focus and will continually firing to get you through again can start to wind down.

Its what William James, a man from the late 1800’s which was termed as “philosopher” but in fact was the person who was to revolutionise neurology in the next 50 years, made a discovery. He said that the human mind and brain were in fact 2 separate entities which of course led to many critical grumblings across various professions.

Now – what he meant by that was, if our brain is nothing but a mechanism, then what differentiates us from robots?

He made a statement at that moment which was revolutionary – the difference between us and robots is the human will.

In other words, our ability to create physical performance, undertake tasks and overcome situations which would a “mechanism” eg. Like when the physical body has no ability to carry on but the drive from the mental focus fires the physical again – is down to human will.

Years down the line and the research into brain function and the ability for the brain to override physical issues all comes down to the “attention” factor, or the human will.

Attention on what you are doing or wish to do is so powerful that the entire brain then rampages into action to allow that to happen through thousands of different mechanisms from the brain to the body all talking to each other and creating the network in order for it happen.

When applied to a situation, for instance the one im in right now, you can actually feel it happening. I had been getting ready for the Bodypower Expo Grand Prix on May 20th 2012 since November the 21st – the week after the world championships last year. The numbers I was starting push were outside what I had done before and week in week out I was going past what I ever thought I could do. Phsically I was sore all the time, tired and feeling like the next training session might be the one that would finish me. Then as soon I competed in the Expo, I was straight into a build up for the CanAm in Detriot now on the 21st July and not able to drop the build up back to the beginning, but only back to the half way point and build up from there, so physically there is no let up.

Certainly in the last 4 weeks before the Expo, even though I was looking forward to it, the effort it took to take half an hour and make a decision I was going to the bench session, knowing how heavy I was going to have to go and physically feeling like I couldn’t do it, took absolute attention, focus and will to get myself into that place to decide to do it and then feel the physical change kick in so by the time I got to the gym and was warming up, it felt possible.

Being able to hook into and use your “will” or attention to get you over and through those times and beat your physical state into submission and perform is what will separate you from the people who give up. It will also separate you from others on the day of your competition or fight as consistently using this, even though you may not be aware that is what you are doing, is the one thing that will help you push the limits of what you never thought you could or would ever be able to do. Its what gets the lock out at the top of the lift that feels like it will never happen, its what gets you off the canvass, off the ropes or to be able to keep going even when your hand is bust and you have 5 rounds to go.

Who knows how or why we developed human “will” but it is a gift and one of the most powerful and incredible gifts we can have that will take you to places you never thought were possible and above all else, this is what makes us human and unique.