Trust(ing) the Process: Check yourself before you wreck yourself


Okay, so, now it's my turn to blog and I'm going to be a bad cop to Phill's good cop.

If you've been into the clinic or met us you'll you know that these are pretty obvious roles for us – his hair is higher, he smiles a lot and he has less of a tendency to go off on elaborate angry rants for unclear reasons.

The thing to remember about the good-bad cop routine is that they are on the same team. I agree entirely with Phill - in its essence, trusting the process is a very important message. I just have one lil' issue with it and a couple of things I'd like to add. Politely... More or less.

My issue with #trusttheprocess is that I often see it being used to excuse plateaus in progress or injury recovery; to condone consciously bad training choices or to mask piss poor performances due to over training.

Overtraining is an issue that I can and will write several more blogs about, but for the moment let's just define it as excessive exercise volume leading to fatigue, suboptimal performance and elevated risk of injury and illness.

I'm #allin for the original meaning of the phrase – playing the long game, pushing through when things get hard, realising that for every few steps forward there may be a step back, sticking to the program when you're having the odd bad day and it doesn't feel like things are moving in any direction.

Consistency is and always will be the key to progress, so I have absolutely no bones to pick with the OG #TTP.

Pain and fatigue are part of training, and sometimes you just need to quit yer whining and get the work done. Some seasoned athletes even go into a specific type of overtraining – it's called functional over-reaching and it's a short, controlled period of extra high training demands and fatigue that is usually followed by rest/reload and then a burst of progress (which is the point).

But listen up, here's the thing about EVERYTHING in strength and conditioning: the right thing to do is always somewhere in the middle. More training is good for you, up until the point where it's not (devastatingly this even applies to hip thrusts).

So is it possible to over-trust the process? Absolutely yes, if that process is no good.

Yes, we should all trust the shit out of the process, but only after taking the time to #questiontheprocess. YOUR process has to be right for YOU. Every single one will be different – depending on goals, injury history, sport, age, training age, season, etc. etc. etc.


So if you think I might be talking to you, take an honest look at your training and ask yourself:

Are your results plateauing or regressing?

Can you remember the last time you ACTUALLY deloaded?

Do you find yourself always training at the same loads or intensities because you can't break through?

Are overly tired, hungry or sore?

Do you get unreasonably irritable/emotional or struggle with motivation?

Do you have trouble sleeping, miss periods or find your heart rate elevated at rest?

Do you have an injury or niggle that just won't get better? Or an infection or illness that you can't kick?

If these questions are striking a chord, your training volume may be too high. And even if you don't care about your health, keep in mind that overtraining will steal your gains, stall your progress, and if left unchecked it WILL result in injury.

If you are continually training the same way without set goals and clear progress, then you are putting a hell of a lot of effort into throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks.

What we all need is a system that gets the most results with as little effort as possible. That's what good programming is, and that's the kind of process you can trust.

Now I don't know you, but I don't think you're very good at picking your own process. That's because very few people are – only trained, experienced and smart coaches are good at it for athletic performance, and only trained, experienced and smart physios are good at it for injury rehabilitation. Even if you are one of those I'd still bet against you because the other thing you need is objectivity. Personally, I'm horrendous at picking my process – if left unsupervised I'm just as likely to row a half marathon for Christmas or exercise myself into hospital. 

So, I pick physios and coaches that I trust and then work out my process with them – making sure they have enough info to tweak it as we go, because programs evolve with every session.

Then I quit my whining, get the work done and hashtag the crap out of it.