Pretty simple right? If you work hard consistently results should come, the problem is most people don't make it to the improvement part. Consistency not only applies to training, but all aspects of your life. If you want to be good at something practice it consistently over a long period of time. Results and skill development should always be looked at long-term. What is the end goal?
Why do most of us fall short on our goals? Most people either don't set goals, set goals too high, or simply use a short burst of motivation they have to get them in the gym for a week or two. That week or two is filled with all of the hardest workouts they remember doing and leave them feeling extremely sore, worn out, or worse injured and unable to do anything at all.
So how do we avoid this two week burnout we see most people go through when returning to the gym or going in for the first time? We set up a plan with adequate amounts of work and rest in between sessions to allow for a schedule we can maintain for a long time. You see, the first two weeks in the gym are the weeks where you are usually most sore. The body isn't prepared for the amount of work most people try to throw on themselves when going to train, and it also isn't used to the stimuli you are applying to try to create adaptation. A training session needs to have a specific goal in mind and by specific goal I do not mean it has to be sport-specific or even something that resembles a movement you do in your sport. The specific qualities need to be trying to increase strength, explosiveness, coordination, and work capacity. You need to be addressing imbalances you, as an individual, may have or be working on something that will get you closer to your goal in some way. Sometimes this even involves taking a step back and addressing specific weaknesses and imbalances if this will set you up to achieve your goal in a safer way, or a way that will keep you healthier long-term. What is the point of achieving a goal in the gym if you can never apply it anywhere else because you injured yourself in the process?
These two week bursts of training are also not enough to cause any significant improvement in strength or performance. Think about it, usually people begin to notice changes in their body after 3-4 weeks of training, why? Adaptation takes time, and a lot of it. Your ability to recover has a massive effect on how successful a training cycle will go. The more work you can do over a period of time without breaking down will directly effect your results. This means eating, sleeping, and training consistently over a period of time. You don't get stronger during training sessions you get stronger from recovering from training sessions and your body's adaptation to said training. Apply the correct stimuli for a period of time and the body will adapt. Some adaptations come faster and some come slower. Strength adapts slowly and this is why I always have a primary or secondary focus on strength in my programs. I challenge you to do the same and see what happens over time. In my experience, you will increase your own athletic potential and set yourself up for success.
Remember, one or two weeks of a stimuli is not enough to create significant adaptation. In order to achieve your goals you need to take a long-term, well-measured approach and don't be afraid to adjust your plan to achieve those goals on the fly. Not all training cycles will go perfect and most training sessions are not going to be your best days, Take an approach of gradual improvement and you will be successful in the gym and athletics. A short-term approach will lead you to disappointment and failure, injuries cause down-time for athletes and down time is the enemy of progress. Athletes with less down-time will have more time to improve and we all have a window of time where performance is at its peak. Take advantage of that window of time and you will lead an athletic career with less regret and hopefully, more success on achieving your goals!
USAW Level 1 Coach