Smart strongmen are doing everything they can to get ahead of their competition. The game is getting tighter and the spots at the top are getting more difficult to grab. When the bar rises this high, there is no room left for room left for mistakes and this includes doing everything you can to be successful outside of the gym. If you are serious about being the best, here are three things you can do that require such little effort that you would be foolish to ignore them.
Have your blood work done twice a year
The demands of strongman are among the highest in all of sports. High body mass, massive spinal loads and air stealing workouts will test the test the limits of even the most well trained athlete. You may assume you have your recovery in line and nutrition on point, but being sure is an entirely different matter. For myself and many of my athletes, I make certain they do one of the easiest and most informative medical tests available; a routine full blood test every six months.
Your blood has vital information that is priceless to the athlete. While many people track sets and reps, they have no idea how their body is reacting to the stress of life and training from a scientific standpoint. While there are some expensive tests aimed at athletes, for most people, a routine one from you doctor will provide sufficient information, and with just a bit a of research you can possibly correct imbalances in your training and your nutrition. By going over your results with a professional you can possibly avoid many long term health issues and see if your diet is working for your body chemistry.
Graph your training numbers
By creating a simple spreadsheet and having it make a graph for you, you can see how your investment in your program is paying off over time. While raw data on a page can be very insightful, a graphic interpretation of those numbers will provide you a good understanding of where you are making fast or slow progress. While a certain program may be helping your deadlift and stone loading, it may be killing your overhead results. Once the spreadsheet is set up, putting in the data takes very little time and effort and will help you and your coach prepare better for your success.
Improve your sleep space and use it (like you should)
An uncomfortable bed and too much noise or light can really disrupt your ability to get in to deep sleep. With recovery being just as important as your training, you should do everything you can to give your body the best chance to heal overnight. Blackout shades and white noise machines can turn a loud room with a sunrise view into a perfect chamber for resting. Making sure your mattress is clean, and not worn out will help you fall and stay asleep. This change alone can feel like you are taking a performance enhancing drug! Without fail athletes under-appreciate the importance of rest and are always amazed when they get more of it.
Get in the tank and then cool off
Having significant muscle on the body taxes its function, even if it is all muscle. There are many benefits to being in water, and one of the most important is being weightless. While sensory deprivation tanks have been around for a few decades they have only caught on as a bio-hack in the last few years. Studies have shown that they help to relax muscles and calm the brain, things strongmen desperately need leading up to a contest. The exciting thing is, most cities and towns now have a place for you to go and get your float on. Many of those centers also feature cryotherapy tanks where you can use extreme cold to help lower inflammation. This two for one combo can really help you become better prepared for your next event, session or session or contest.
Success will come to those who adopt the lifestyle as a whole. Champion strongman athletes don’t just leave it in the gym, they adopt practices that will change and improve their entire lifestyle. If you want to be the best, you need to live it 24/7 and make sure you have all your bases covered. The good thing is these processes will not only improve your performance but make your entire life better as well!
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.