Athletic success is a natural want for every athlete. We all want to be moving forward, growing in whatever it is we are doing. We hate to stagnate for too long of a time, but the biggest challenge to that human need is the fact that many do not know how to appropriately challenge ourselves to grow. Either under challenge or overextend ourselves creating an environment of panic.
There are specific zones in which you should be aiming for to create an environment of growth. It does not matter what it is you are looking to improve upon. These laws still hold true. Here are the three zones that you will come across in your endeavor for improvement.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone For Athletic Success
That’s right; you’re cozy, and warm in this zone. Everything is peachy, and you have to worry about nothing here. It is a safe place that happens to be the killer of progress. Nothing new or worthwhile occurs here. It is a good place to back into when you need a break but it, not that place where you are going to become the star athlete, the savvy business person, or the innovative inventor.
Many people when they are seeking to improve in any given area they decide to play with the fringes of this zone. Being careful not to enter into any areas that cause a minor amount of fear.
The comfort zone should only be there for rest, regrouping, and planning. It is not an environment where anything grows. You won’t get any benefits from sitting in your comfort zone every single day all day long. That is where the whole concept of trying something new or something that scares you every day comes from.
Say Out of The Panic Zone for Athletic Success
This zone is on the other side of the spectrum. This is when you decide to be ambitious but you are simply not ready for the undertaking of the task, and you begin to panic, experience extreme anxiety, and you freeze.
This zone is only good for creating fear in the heart of those that enter it. There is some growth that may occur, but there may also be a loss of confidence. It is great when you take the step into an unknown but as we will talk about a little later here if you skill level does not match the ambition then you are not going to achieve much more than becoming frightened.
We want to stay away from this zone as much as we to the comfort zone possibly even more. Going too far into panic does not serve any long-term practical purpose. You can’t think in this zone, you can’t rest in this zone, and you can even really grow here either. So DO NOT over reach too often!
Find Your Stretch Zone for Athletic Success
This is the perfect area for growth, not too scary and not too safe. It is the perfect environment for growth. It adds just enough of a challenge to your skillset that you will easily move forward in whatever it is you are trying to advance in.
This is the place where you will thrive. Facing challenges in this area are going to be well, challenging but nothing that you will not be able to handle with a concerted effort on your part. You will be able to see the situation fully, analyze how to overcome it and execute. You will not become flustered because it is just a challenge or something that is slightly novel to you.
The stretch zone is constantly changing, and that is because everything you encounter a challenge and overcome that challenge it will now rest inside your comfort zone, you now are going to be moving on to something that much more challenging next time. That is the key to growth. One day, one challenge, one accomplishment at a time.
How Do You Stay In The Stretch Zone
Growing all the time is impossible. We need to rest our bodies and our minds every once and a while but once we have rested it is time to get back into that stretch zone. Let’s run through a few scenarios in which you can constantly stay engaged with that growth zone.
Scenario # 1 for Athletic Success
You are looking to increase your flexibility and are currently as mobile as a seized up like a tank. The question is where do you start? You’re not going to throw on an advanced yoga program and try to follow along step by step, are you? No that will put your body into the panic zone, and you will simply hit a point of possible injury. On the opposite are you going to just sit on the couch and watch tv? No that is your comfort zone and not going to help you get anywhere close to your goal. You need to hit the right spot. Start slow. Do simple static stretches to the best you can getting out of the comfort zone where you feel a little bit of “pain” but not pushing it to the limit and snapping something.
Great you hit your stretch zone (literally haha) Now what are you going to do? Think it was enough and just go right back to sitting on the couch? No, you are going to hit the stretches again. But this time you are going to get into your stretch zone simply by pushing it just a tad further than you did yesterday.
See how that works? You are gradually growing to be the supple and mobile human being you should be. One day, one stretch zone at a time.
Scenario #2 for Athletic Success
You are a novice gym goer, you are not necessarily a newb when it comes to lifting weights, but you certainly are not going to be winning MR. Olympia, or becoming the world powerlifting champion anytime soon.
It is important to be self-aware, do not create a delusion of where exactly you stand in the gym. Be honest with yourself because that is going to make it a lot easier for you to know when you’re pushing yourself far beyond your current abilities or when you’re pushing yourself just enough to make it into the stretch zone.
Once you have gained some insight into where exactly you stand, we can get started on our journey to strength and fitness. Depended on what aspect of fitness you are looking to improve upon is going to dictate how you approach it. Let’s use cardio as an example If you are familiar with heart rate zone, you will know that you need to stay in specific beats per minute to achieve the desired outcome, Fat loss, cardiovascular increase or endurance increase and so on.
Again these rules apply to every single area of life, so whatever your cardio goals may be, you need to have an understanding of your ability at this moment and work from that point. So if you are looking to lose some weight, you get on your favorite cardio machine or go outside (I recommend this) and get after it. Walking is a great form of cardio with the minimal amount of stress on your joints, so that would be my go-to form of movement, but again this is your journey. You get out there, and you walk around your block one time and find yourself slightly out of breath but not to the point of passing out. Great stop there and rest.
Tomorrow you get up, and you make that block just a little bit bigger, and you get back home and are at the same level of tired as you were yesterday, great stop and rest. You must continue this process until you are at the level of fitness wanted to hit when you started this journey. Then guess what? Set a new goal and re do the process all over again.
This “magic” formula for improvement is not that difficult to understand now, is it? No, it is not, but the hardest things in life always seem to be the most simple. It is the act of actually doing the things necessary for improvement that are the biggest challenges for us to take on.
It is important to introduce patience into your life. When you are looking to increase your ability in any aspect of your life. The greatest things in life take the time to build. Your mind and body are two of the most important in this world. Do not be so quick to jump ten steps to get to where you are going. Enjoy the journey and the process, and the result will be your prize,
But remember once you reach that goal it is time to set something a little more difficult than last time. That is the secret to growth. Stay inside that stretch zone. You will be forever growing and becoming the best version of yourself anyone can ask for! Athletic success is a hard thing to attain, but then again, no one asked for easy.