Taekwondo Training – How to Stay on Track

When we as Taekwondo practitioners are on form with our training, when we go for months on schedule without interruption and the endorphins bring an addictive ‘feel good’ factor, it strengthens our involvement and commitment to physical training. It is rewarding to see, feel and measure our progress no matter how minimal, when our training is going well. While I run the risk of preaching to the converted here, expounding the virtues of regular training, we may well be hard to live with when our training schedules are interrupted. I will be first to admit that when my training is interrupted my self control comes under pressure and is tested.

Disruptions to our training can take two main forms, self imposed for e.g. illness because you are run down from poor diet to lack of sleep, or simply burning the candle at both ends. The other type are externally imposed, such as the usual day to day occurrences e.g. An unexpected caller is a frequent thing in rural Ireland, it forms part of the famous friendly culture, but can be one pain in the backside to a fitness addict who wants to stick to a planned workout… cancellations from training partners, family demands, work demands etc, etc…

Here are some tips that will minimise frustration: 

HAVE VARIETY IN YOUR TRAINING.

It is good to have a training schedule, but if you can’t always do what you planned, then there might be a suitable alternative that can be done instead, which is better than doing nothing. When I do my own personal training, my plan is to do a medium weight routine 3 times a week. I also try and fit in as much stretching as possible as this is my weakest area at the moment. I also do the basic Yang Style, Tai Chi 24 form and also a smaller Sun Form for Arthritis. Many of these activities can be done in small spaces in the confines of your own home. For partner training, I try and train with several individuals and groups to stay in shape and keep motivated and interested. Every Tuesday evening I am privileged to be in charge of a Black Belt Class and this keeps me sharp as an instructor.  Fridays I do group Instructor training which also has a massive value in sharing ideas and learning. Also, I try and move around to different venues and settings to keep it interesting.

On the weekends I’m not working, cycling and swimming can be done solo or with the kids and fitted around family life. That generally is the weekly training plan that involves my own training and thankfully this routine works for most of the time.

 

 WHAT YOU EAT DEFINES YOUR HEALTH

For years I held the distorted view that if I was physically training at least two to three hours a day, five days a week (I did have a normal life some weekends) then I was training fine. Training for me back then was defined only within the confines of the Taekwondo Dojang, the Gym or the Boxing Club. Once out of this environment I felt I could do as I wished as my training was over until I went back to the club again.

I never placed much emphasis on diet or the amount of food and alcohol I consumed. Today we know diet and the food we eat are extremely important to athletic success and longevity.

As regard food and drink, eat less and you will live longer. Health and fitness in my book is 90% related to the quality of the food we eat. If you have not given this area of your training the attention it deserves, get on to it today.  For inspiration lookup professional mixed martial artist Sean Sherk, a real back to basics strength and conditioning guy, pioneer of the hard core caveman training, he has brought MMA training to new extremes and known for his draconian measures regarding dietary discipline. My point is, if he puts such a value on food intake, so should we. If you have a poor diet, expect low energy and training disruptions by the truckload.

 

 DAILY ROUTINE AND HABITS FOR GOOD HEALTH

Because we are all creatures of habit, we must become aware of daily intrinsic habitual routines that will support our efforts. Park the car a little away from your place of work and walk more, same with anytime you use the car. Even collecting your kids from school or the weekly shopping trip can be turned into a brisk walk if the attitude is focused on keeping in shape.

Maintain a good posture throughout the day. We spend hours training in various stances and we give a lot less time to our daily posture. Did you know that people with poor posture are more likely to have poor self image and less confidence, and this can affect psychological health. With a good standing posture your body’s joints are in a state of equilibrium with the least amount of physical energy being used to maintain this upright position. You can easily check if you have a faulty posture by looking at old family photographs and see for yourself if you habitually have developed a habit of standing, or slouching in a certain way down the years.

If you spend a good chunk of your day seated try some exercises using a sturdy chair, like triceps dips or stretching your adductors while seated.

 

TRAIN BODY AND MIND TO KEEP MOTIVATED

Without, sounding too clichéd or  getting too deep folks, we can’t just train from the neck down and say we are doing a good job. We need to get the old grey matter behind us as well because the new age gurus may well have a point here.

Training from my experience is emotional, mental and physical. Neglect one and you may go for a while but eventually some breakdown occurs. Have belief in yourself, you must have that internal dialogue switched to positive affirmations daily, and exercise those confidence muscles as well. To get benefit long term from any mental training takes as much discipline as the physical game.

You need to find out what or who inspires and motivates you. You need to model yourself on who exactly is aligned to your own values. Who has already achieved what you would like to do? If you don’t have a burning desire to jump out of the sack every morning, with definite value based goals in your heart and thank your God or your belief source/connection for all you currently have, you will struggle with just will power to sustain you.  Any form of meditation or moving meditation like Tai Chi, which I can’t recommend highly enough will be a step (pardon the pun) in the right direction. In fact, if you did only a little Tai Chi every day (any style) it would sort out posture, mind, and body all in one.

 

TRAINING IN CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES

If you suffer from an illness, or injury, or have a change of circumstances such as pregnancy, you may initially experience a little frustration, and have to go through a period of acceptance that things are temporarily different for you and that you are unable to do what you did before. Remember, this is only temporary. Find out what you can do from your doctor and make that an important part of your routine. By doing something, you will continue to be motivated and find it easier to return back to normal when the time allows it.

Thank-you for reading and if you like this, send it to a friend. Keep training and keep healthy, Frank

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