"Why are we doing this coach?" Fetty asked me as he groaned while doubled over. He was on the last on a series of ten banded 50 yard pulls.
I asked him, "You tell me?"
What's the point of it all?
Why are we doing what we're doing?
These questions form the foundation or the backbone of any athlete’s or coach’s program. Much attention is given to program structure, sets, reps, cycles etc. Instagram and Facebook are littered with "how to videos" but very little on the "why's."
I was first introduced to the importance "WHY" concept from the Performance Funnel structured by the Juice Compound. The first and most fundamental question asked is "WHATS YOUR WHY" what's the PURPOSE. WHY are we doing what we're doing.
Too often as coaches we're quick jump in and get started. We want to show our athletes, clients etc. what we can do and how we can impact or improve they're performance. I'm as guilty as anyone in that regard. A large part of our job as coaches/teachers is to help our athletes find their "why". To help them develop that self awareness to look inside and ask themselves what they really want and why they are doing it.
It would have been easy to tell him we're working on re-patterning his stride movement blah blah blah, because that's what we do as coaches...we constantly TELL our athletes the “whys.” Every athlete, every person has to know what their "why" is.
If you look at the interviews of anyone who has ever accomplished something of great significance the first thing they'll tell you, without prompting, is their why. The "why" is what you hook your wagon to when things get tough. It's what gets you out of bed when you want to sleep, It's the anchor when doing that last rep in that last set. It's that voice that whispers in your ear when you have to decide to keep going or quit.
I remember when I was preparing for my first bodybuilding show. I was in the last month of my prep and I was sore, tired and starving. I was driving home and for some reason the Golden Arches seemed particularly bright that evening. Without any hesitation I quickly pulled into the drive thru. I ordered my favorite combo before I could think or talk myself out of it. I pulled over to the side of the road and prepared to feast. As I pulled the fries out I could feel the heat and the salt on my fingers. As I sat there getting ready to undo 5 months of hard work I broke down and started crying.
5 months of hard training, cardio twice a day and weighing and measuring everything I ate had finally taken its toll on me. My trainer told me before we started prepping that this would probably be the hardest thing I would ever do in my entire life. He wanted me write down why I wanted to embark on such an arduous journey because one day I was going to need to remember it.
At first I wrote down the usual answer, but I was only scratching the surface. After a week of soul searching and rewriting I finally came to my "why" my anchor. It was far less wordy and complex as the first one that I had written. Actually it was quite simple. It didn't scream or yell at me that night, it was almost like a whisper. A deeper meaning as to why I'd come this far.
And at that moment it was enough to keep me headed in the direction I had chosen. I threw the bag out the window and drove off. Along the way I had other moments like that night in the car, not as severe, but tests none the less. Your why has to be deeper than you, it has to strong enough to keep you moving forward when nothing else will.
As Fetty grunted his way through the last few meters, he collapsed on the goal line exhausted and depleted. I never told him why we were doing what we were doing that morning and he never told me. I knew he had found his why and nothing else needed to be said.