Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Without competition, there is no progression” – This was a line from August Burns Red song “The First Step” (from their rather awesome album Rescue & Restore). As that line blared through my headphones at the gym and I had to stop my workout for a bit and start taking stock of the line. Without competition, there is no progression. I put the societal, corporate and capitalist ramifications of the line aside and considered it purely from a sports point of view.

Nowadays at the gym, I prefer to workout alone. I used to enjoy working out with a good friend of mine, but since he’s moved to Canada, those workouts are quite difficult. For me working out on my own is a release and I can focus on my own goals and objectives and keep to my tight regimen as opposed to having to wait for a workout partner to finish their set before I get to have a go. After a hard day, all my stress and everything is taken away by the iron. But as my workouts are geared towards hockey, a competitive team sport, how do I progress as a lone wolf at the gym?

In the main, I compete with myself at the gym. I normally suck at math and avoid anything to do with numbers like the plague, but when it comes to working out, my competition is to better what I’ve done the week before, the month before or even the year before. What I also do – and this is going to make me sound like an utter dickwad – is to compete against other hockey players I know that use the gym.

I may not know the players personally, but I know them from having played against them or having watched them play. Now, I’m fully aware that different people work to different programs at different paces and I respect that. I have my areas of focus, where another player has their own. But, by and large, the exercises and lifts that we do are the same. The way I compete (and this is without even them knowing that I’m competing with them), is to check how much they are lifting and make sure that I lift more than they do. I want to make sure that the conditioning work that I’m doing is ahead of what they do, whether they play in the same league, a higher league or lower. For me this level of competition has allowed me to push myself further. If it is a player that I know plays in the same league as I do, it is about sending a message. A message that I will out work you in the gym and I will outwork you on the ice.

Also, there is some sort of glee and I guess a dick headed alpha-male attitude in knowing that you can do deadlifts for more reps with higher weight than a pro player.

But where I’ve perhaps had the competition/progress relationship wrong is in on ice training. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I am out there, I go hard till I have nothing left in the tank, but maybe I don’t pick similar competitions as I do in the gym when in training and perhaps that is what I should start seeking to do. Whether it is to outskate certain players in drills that focus on speed or start keeping score on who has scored more goals in training, me or another randomly selected player.

It’s all well and good to play to my strengths on the ice in trainings and keep bringing high energy and intensity, but what if I ‘competed’ with my team mates in the same sense that I do in the gym with other lifters. Perhaps, I should start looking to bring more of my gym mentality to the ice as well and see whether that works. The only thing that I worry about is whether or not my competitiveness and being a sore-loser will eat away at my overall progress. But I think it is worth a shot. To start pushing myself even more and to achieve some of the goals that I’ve set for myself.

It is also said that satisfaction is the death of progress and in many ways I live by this ethos. However, I think I need to add more to the mix to start making more on ice gains and to evolve myself as a player.

As the last line in ABR’s First step says:

Evolve, or die.

SuccessisbuiltFans always expect that their teams perform well – and ideally win every game – and fans have the absolute right to want success. There are expectations that teams and players need to meet, week in and week out. There are the expectations for the entire team from the fans and on an individual level, the expectations from the coaching staff.


Success is something that every player wants. For their team and for themselves. Otherwise, why play the game if you don’t want to succeed and not feel the elation of winning a game. Success is something that doesn’t magically happen on a game night. It is a long, drawn-out process throughout countless hours of work, sweat and pain. Success is built when there are no eyes on you. It happens at the gym, it happens on the roads, it happens on the bike. It even happens on the trainers table or with the physiotherapist. Success is built when you are on the ice with your team. It is built in bag skates, flow drills, set plays. It is built by countless and countless of repetitions of weights, drills, shots, jumps and miles pedalled on a bike.


Success is not something that is achieved overnight. Players can’t expect to be successful just by turning up to training and have the expectation that their effort on the ice will guarantee them success in the long run. The hockey season is a gruelling ride, with all its bumps and bruises and frustrations. What the fans see, is the culmination of all the work that has been taking place out of sight.


Success requires commitment. It requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. It requires discipline. It requires a goal, something that unifies a group of individuals to come together and work for that goal. It means leaving personal differences aside and playing for the logo on the front of your jersey and for the goal of becoming a champion.


The commitment fuels motivation and success, that success will player through a rock when it comes to crunch time. But all this underpinned by the work that each player does on and off the ice when the stands are empty and when no one is watching you.


The signs of success, are not seen on the ice in a 60 minute game. It is seen in the sweat dripping on to the gym floor and on to the ice.  

Working out can be a real drag sometimes. The long off season soon moves to the in-season and you’ve pushed yourself to the point where it feels easier just to throw in the towel and focus on the stuff that you’re doing on the ice. I have to admit that I’ve fallen victim to this many times before and I have tried ploughing through my workouts, despite feeling like I would rather stick pins in my eyes.


However, perhaps there is a saviour in your pocket. Since I got my hands on my first smart phone, I’ve been interested in fitness apps and have used them to a great degree, mainly for running though. The trouble is that when you are training on your own, it is hard to find the motivation or something to push you, so for running, tracking your success is quite a good motivator. But what about the gym? I downloaded an app called Nike BOOM after the website was raving about it. Well it was free so it was not like I was going to lose anything.


I gave it a go last night and I must say that I was slightly torn by it. The app basically works as a play list, but the catch is that you get motivational messages from some of the prolific athletes in your chosen sport. So every five minutes or so I’d get either Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla, Steven Stamkos or well established strength and conditioning coaches to tell me to keep going. That is the unique feature of the app. Otherwise it acts like an MP3 player so you can play your favourite album through and through whilst working out.


What I found great about the app was the encouragement and the motivational messages. I was doing hammer curls and during the final set I was about to give up with my arms shaking till I got Phaneuf in my ears saying that ‘sometimes you get a voice inside your head to tell you to give up. That voice is not your friend. Keep pushing you’re almost there.” Sad as it sounds, it did give me a bit of extra motivation to finish the set and I do feel better about it.


The app has modes for working out, warm up and interval training, so it covers the basics of getting fit for your sport. For the interval section I would like to see features similar to the Adidas miCoach app, which I use extensively to track my running progress. At the moment all the Nike BOOM offers is only the encouragement and a music player.


However, I think that the App has a lot more potential than just acting as a music player with the odd occasional “atta boy” thrown at you. The app could be developed further to make sure that you have an all encompassing work out log, where you could record your sets, reps, weights etc so that you can monitor your progress. Or better yet, why not have sample workouts built into the app, designed by the people that are giving you the motivation? That would really set the Nike BOOM app apart from others.


Like said the app is pretty good as it stands, but it has potential to be so much more. If you are in a possession of an iPhone or iPod touch and you want to try it out, I would recommend it. I also think you can get it for your iPad, but you might look like a bit of a tit carrying an iPad around while working out.


In its current form I’d give Nike BOOM a 3/5 stars. If, however, Nike decides to take the app seriously and build in more features I’d be willing to revise the mark.