Get Strong Before You Go Long
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
It is quite common for individuals to have a “bucket list” for athletic endeavors. I get that; it is great to have such goals and aspirations. Although, it seems to be that the current culture in fitness and sport is all about going longer and longer. What happened to getting strong? What happened to getting crazy-fit? What happened to getting crazy-lean? What happened to getting freaky-fast? Now, do not get me wrong; there is actually nothing wrong with wanting to go long, nothing at all… As long as you have taken the necessary steps in order to become physically and mentally strong in order to handle the rigors of long-distance training and racing. All too often, when individuals set long-distance endurance racing goals such as Ironman triathlon, their goal is simply “just to get thought it.” I encourage you to change the mindset to not just getting through it, rather, let’s do it well.
Watch any long-distance endurance event like this and you will see exactly what I mean; individuals that are physically and physiologically nowhere near ready to successfully tackle this distance. A large number of these competitors are not pictures of optimum health and fitness. Many are significantly overweight and obese (they are putting themselves at risk). Long-distance training and racing is no joke and needs to be taken seriously. Undertaking such tasks when one’s physical condition is not optimum is significantly increasing risk for serious injury or possibly worse. A bucket list, all too often, is simply a focus on the destination and does not at all take into account the journey. Let’s focus on the journey in order to make our long-distance training and racing goals a true success and not just a “check that off the list” process.
Before you go long, let’s get the body strong. Let’s focus on upper body and lower body strength training in order to build a great foundation in order to prepare the body for what is ahead. In addition, it is the strength training that will build lean muscle, thereby helping your body to increase its metabolism, burn body fat and give you the physique you are striving for. Strength training, for endurance athletes, is one of the most ignored aspects of fitness. Place this on the top of your “to-do list” and you will find yourself feeling better and looking leaner. Let’s get that body leaner and lighter and let’s achieve a great body composition that actually reflects the hard work you have been putting in. Who wants to do all of this endurance training and have the end result be a heavier and softer physique with a high amount of body fat? (This is all too common among long-distance endurance athletes)
Along the way, where did we forget about getting faster? There is nothing at all wrong with a 30min. 5K; but, if you are running a 30min. 5K, why would your next immediate goal be a marathon or an Ironman? Let’s get fast… Like crazy-fast! There is a level of satisfaction with being fast that far too few people have allowed themselves to enjoy. Reason being, they are skipping rungs of the ladder and choosing to go long before they get fast. Having speed is extremely, extremely empowering. Now, with that being said, being fast hurts, I feel ya playa! Many athletes avoid short and fast because it does hurt so much. I encourage you to embrace the hurt, suffering and pain. When you start to embrace this, you will find a level of satisfaction like never before. Just imagine continuing to record personal best times in 5K, 10K, Sprint triathlon, Olympic distance triathlon, etc. Fast is fun, experience it for yourself!
As you continue to incorporate your strength training and you focus on eating right, in time, you will find yourself at a new level of body composition… Leaner and lighter. This is a great place to be, especially knowing that you are getting a big return on your investment of time spent with fitness and nutrition. Aspiring to become leaner is a big reason that a large majority of athletes begin training; unfortunately, when their goals of going long trump getting strong, they find themselves training longer and more than ever, but, with no change in physique or body composition.
I can promise you this, by focusing on getting strong, getting fast and getting lean, your long distance goals will become even more exciting. You will be putting yourself on the proper path to success. Get strong before you go long…enjoy the journey!
Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Rick can reached at www.teamkattouf.com or www.5roundfury.com or [email protected]