What do you think the most overlooked variable is when writing a training program?? Joining me on the show today are two of the Rebel coaches, Ryan Patrick and Keiran Halton. The three of us unpack why gamification is so important in programming and the benefits you’ll reap once you stop overlooking it. Using gamification in your workouts does the following: it creates a setting that is more fun and not as easy to get burnt out in, it causes you to push harder because you always have a number to beat, and it will allow you to start hitting daily PRs.
Join us as Keiran, Ryan and I share some of our favorite techniques and strategies when it comes to gamification and how to utilize it in your workouts. Since the pandemic, a large portion of our athletes aren’t training in group settings, and some are strictly training by themselves. We want to be sure we are setting our athletes up for success, and the most effective way to do this is to ensure they are creating competition with themselves that keeps their training fun and leaving them experiencing more progress in 12 weeks than most people see in 6-12 months.
The three of us dissect the auto-regulation technique, representative task design, and the mirror effect. We then wrap up the episode by bringing in velocity-based training and the benefits of utilizing it in your workouts. We also share why we believe people are married to the periodization models and why specific goals call for other methods. Be sure to listen in as we unpack how to gamify your workouts to 10x your performance.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- [02:42] Realizing that there are different levels of athletes
- [08:30] Intro to how to gamify your training
- [10:11] Throwing games in your warmup
- [13:59] Representative task design
- [15:05] Creating competition with yourself using the double progression method
- [16:27] The auto-regulation technique
- [20:31] How to use the mirror effect
- [23:48] Utilizing velocity-based training
- [29:55] Why people are married to periodization models
- [32:11] Using MetCons to gamify your training
James Cerbie: Otherwise, let’s jump into the episode today with Keiran, Ryan and myself. Alright, bam, there we go. We’re live. And so, we’re talking about moments coming up as an athlete when everybody has that moment where you realize that there’s just a different level of athlete than where you are. It’s like, oh, this is a different breed of human. I can remember the first time I had that because it was a pretty good fit.
Like I was a 4.6 laser 40 guy, 6.6 60, 30 plus inch verticals, like I was not a slouch athlete by any stretch of the imagination. But I can remember playing against a kid named Ross Cockrell, who’s still in the NFL now as a DB. He went through our biggest rival, Charlotte Latin, and I was out on the wing on, like, a punt return. I don’t even know why I was there, but on punt return, they’re like, hey, we need you to over. You’re gonna guard this guy on a punt return, just like, getting his way and slow him down.
Realizing There Are Different Levels of Athletes
And as soon as they snap the ball and this guy takes off, I was like, oh, shit. Like, there’s literally nothing I can do. Nothing. I’m like, he is so much faster. He is so much quicker. It’s like, off the line, he’s gone, and I get back to the sideline. I’m like, Coach, literally, there’s nothing I can do. This is not an effort problem. This is not a technique problem. This is not a form problem. He is a ten times better athlete than I am probably, like, there’s just nothing I can do to keep up with him.
That was the first time I was like, oh, my God. That’s what that looks like. Okay. Noted. Did you get that in basketball or did you ever have one of those wow moments in basketball when you’re like, oh, that’s just a different level. That’s the guy that’s going to go play in the NBA. When I played against Ross, I was like, oh, that’s what goes to the NFL. Okay. Noted.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, I think we went because it’s all, like, different now with AU. But back when I was in high school, we went to the Adidas one, I think was the ABCD camp. And I forget who was there. But there’s Derek Character, I think who went to Louisville, and I think he was with the Lakers for a little bit. They were missing a bunch of their guys because they were all, like, the circuit, like, going to camps and stuff and just, like, warming up, like, you just see him just so effortless. I’m pretty sure he must have broken at least two backwards.
Where you’re just, like, all right, cool. I’m just gonna and same thing, right? I would jump with most guys, like, figuring I’m gonna walk away at least having a good chance of blocking. I was like, if he’s in my vicinity, he’s got a free Lane, and I’m not even gonna attempt that. Yeah, but you know, like, as an athlete, when you see something, you’re just like, that is, I can’t even fathom getting to that spot to be that.
James Cerbie: That’s the top of the top 1% of the top 1%, right? Because isn’t it 1% of high school athletes play in college, and then you slash off, like, another 99% of those athletes that actually play professionally. And I’m having another realization like that in baseball, growing up, playing travel ball in the fall, going to a tournament down in Georgia. I was a pretty good baseball player, played Division One baseball at this point, probably 14,15 years old, and we’re playing a team down there that was really good. And I’m waiting to go on the field, and we’re watching the games in front of us.
And one of the teams in front of us is loaded. They’re like, one of these national travel teams. So, they recruit kids from Florida, California, and Texas. They pay for them. They fly them everywhere, blah, blah, blah. And the stands are loaded with pro scouts. When we played, we would have College Scouts, some we didn’t get that many pro scouts. And this kid comes up, center fielder, probably like, 6″2, buck 80, like, just a really good-looking kid, left-handed. It’s a wood bat tournament, too.
And at 14, you don’t have many 14-year-old kids with a wood bat that actually are going to threaten hitting a home run. This dude first pitch he sees goes backside about 415, hits it off the roof of the building. I remember sitting there. I was like, oh, my God. And my dad’s like, Yep, he’s like, just so you know, that’s why the pro scouts are here. And they leave when you play. Oh, man. Or we had one of those too in high school where Michael Beasley and Ty Lawson came because we play Oak Hill every year in a home and away.
And in the warmup way up lines, I remember Beasley coming down three steps out of the key, jumps up, grabs the top right corner of the backboard, swings himself around. And we had probably a thousand people in our gymnasium, silence, everyone was like, oh, and the picture in the paper the next day was phenomenal because we had a probably 6″9, 6″10 center. He wasn’t very good. He’s just big. And the picture is him turned around like this and Beasley is literally pushing his head down just right on top of him. And I was like, Bro, you gotta get out of the way. You got a move.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. You got to know you’re going to end up on a poster at that point. That’s what you’re seeing in warmups, right?
James Cerbie: If he comes, I’m getting out of the way. My only chance is if I get a charge. I was not playing basketball anymore at that point, and I was like, this is why I’m no longer in this sport. Oh, man. But today we wanted to dive in, have a quick chat. Ryan Patrick sounds like he’s got a wild critter over there with him. It sounds like he had, like, a little mongoose running around in your office there.
Ryan Patrick: My dog comes in and just starts, like, tapping the feet.
James Cerbie: The one that gets me at night is like, Oaks will just sit there and it’s like, like, his paws. I’m like, bro, shut up. Worst noise ever to get woken up by. Yeah, but I was saying, we want to jump in today, have a quick chat about how to gamify your training. And I think this is a really important topic. It’s not one that’s discussed. If you peruse blogs, Instagrams and other podcasts most people are always talking to you about well, here are some periodization schemes you can use and different sets and reps and all this, that and the other.
An Intro to How to Gamify Your Training
But I think how to actually gamify that process for yourself is so huge and so important in terms of getting your buy-in and just frankly, having fun. Right. The first question on our biweekly feedback form that goes out to all of our training team athletes is, are you having fun training? That’s the first thing I want to know. Like, if you’re not having fun, then we’re not going to get anywhere.
This can be the best program ever written, but if you’re not having fun, you’re not going to put out and it’s not going to be enjoyable. Wanted to chat about some different strategies, tactics, things that you can use to gamify year training so that you can actually push harder, get more out of it and just have a good time doing it. Have some fun. So, we can just round table this one. I have a few things I’ve jotted down over here that I’ve used before and had a lot of success with.
I have one written down since Ryan L’Ecuyer couldn’t be here. He has one that I’ve seen him use that I really like as well, but we can roll this over. If the one you two guys want to lead on this, you have anything like jumping off the brain right now that you’ve used before. Yeah. Go for it.
Ryan Patrick: Keiran, go ahead and take it on.
Throwing Games In Your Warmups
Keiran Halton: Yeah. Same thing. I kind of jotted a couple of things down and a lot of this I got through Silverback and just being a part of Rebel because I think there’s a lot of cool things that everybody sprinkles in there, I guess. Like, even just thinking about starting a training day. I really like to throw a bunch of games in the warmup. If you have a group that you can actually even do just partner stuff with. One of the easiest ways when you get a team coming in the weight room where they’re looking kind of flat, especially now, with football being in preseason stuff, just taking the med ball, going out to the tennis courts and being like, all right, med ball tennis or med ball spike ball or even just regular spike ball. Just to play a game literally in the beginning, I think works really, really well for, like, just getting the engagement.
If you set up certain agility games, you can get a little, like, cognitive piece to it. Little problem solving even as simple as like, I love knee tag or knee slaps with people. If you have no equipment, no time and no space like that gets super fun. It’s just like apes back in the Savannah, you know what I mean? Just like, mess around with each other.
James Cerbie: We got to watch out on the road. The road knee slap that accidentally finds its way into the crotch region. Yeah, those are dangerous. Gotta stay on your toes for those.
Keiran Halton: But yeah. So, I kind of like, even just from the get-go, you have, like, a group or if you’re working out with a buddy, I think that’s a really easy way.
Ryan Patrick: I kind of thought about this when you told us more from the coaching perspective of how to get the athletes. But, you know, for myself, I think it is very important to detach from some of the seriousness. I think sometimes the industry has around warmups and positional stuff, because I know for me that was a huge deterrent to just getting going in my training where I was like, I gotta do all these breathing drills and all this stuff or I’m not gonna move right, are my hips gonna blow out?
Not to say that stuff doesn’t have value when it’s well executed. But you can find especially, like, the more you try to dig into this that this warmup just gets longer and longer. And, you know, personally, just for me, it was a lot of inertia to overcome. So, I think just getting back to something that is gamified. That’s more fun. Obviously, if you’ve got a community or it’s cooperative in some way, you’re gonna have a way easier time putting some of this stuff together.
A lot of us train solo coaches. A lot of us have weird schedules. A lot of people are doing the home gym thing now, and I think even having the community inside a rebel where we know there’s something every week, I think all of us have been pretty good about that. Just having that one opportunity each week to really send it to really test your metals, to see what you’ve got, and then compare that to how other people, past and present have done, is just really valuable.
It’s clearly defined in terms of what we’re trying to get gives you a leader board. You can score points. You get an idea of where you are. And one of the things I especially love about having a leader board is you get some context, one to see where you rank, but two, what’s actually possible. You know, when I was telling my team today, like, hey, the reason we have, like, a 48-kilo kettlebell, no one does anything other than, like, RDLs and Deadlifts with it.
It’s to make everything else look smaller from a framing perspective so that they will lift heavier weights. They will push their intensity. They realize, oh, that 24 kilo or 53-pound Bell is really only halfway up compared to all the bells we have. So just creating some context, but going back to things we do with athletes, I’m always thinking about, like, for an athlete, our approach is we want them stronger, we want them to have great stamina, but ultimately, I want them to be fast. We talked about it before.
Representative Task Design
I don’t know if we were recording or not, but just about the elite athletes and how elite they are. I mean, it’s a speed game at higher levels. And so if we can weave that into warm up and create tasks or what you call representative task designs, how can I make these games somewhat similar to what they’re going to see in an event? Does it look like it? Does it feel like it? Are they going to behave in the same way and prep those movement skills? So, you know, kind of to refill it all back in and put a nice knee bow on it.
If you don’t have other people with you than having a community that you can compare, see a leader board understand where you are. And if you have people, then gamifying, this stuff is very simple. I mean, it takes two people to play nice knee tag or a number of other things that you can weave in there.
James Cerbie: Yeah, for sure. I think when I think about gamifying training, I think about the people involved with us here at Rebel and the training team in particular. A lot of people are probably training a little bit more solo. Like, maybe they are going to a larger gym, but they’re doing their own program. They’re not in a class or in a group setting. They’re in a garage gym, whatever it is. And so, when I think about gamifying training, I’m always trying to think about ways in which I can get them competing against themselves within the program as often as possible.
Creating Competition with Yourself by Using the Double Progression Method
They’ve done something. Some number has been set, and so now I can organically bring that back in the program. And they now have something to beat. Right? It’s like, the more times I can put you in a position to compete against yourself and you have something you’re shooting for and chasing, the better off we can be. I think a really easy example of that right off the bat is the double progression method and accessory work, that makes it so simple. I’m like, hey, you have to choose a weight that you can do in the ten to twelve rep range.
Three sets of ten to twelve reps. Once you hit twelve reps across the board, whatever the top of that rep range is, you have to increase weight. Automatically, I’m putting the athlete position of like, they’re competing with themselves every single week. So say, week one, I do three sets. I go twelve reps, eleven reps, ten reps. Well, now I know coming back, okay, I’ll go twelve reps on set one. But I got to beat myself last week. I’ve got to get an extra rep on set two or an extra rep on set three.
And not only am I now competing against myself, but I get that nice little dopamine kick. Like, I got better. I’m making progress. I get better at buying. I’m having more fun. The double progression method is the first thing I really like to use, because it just naturally bakes things in so easily. Other things I really like are auto-regulation techniques. So whether we’re talking an EDM style where you’re getting an estimated daily max, and again, that sets it up so that every single week when you come back, you know what you have to beat, right?
The Auto-Regulation Technique
Like, I’m not just giving you. Okay. Well, we’re just going to do this many reps at this percentage this week because that can get a little bit boring. Does it work? Absolutely, right? But that can get a little bit boring. Anytime I’m writing a main lift, like a big squat, a bench or a deadlift, I pretty much always auto-regulate it in one way or another. So, a couple of ways you can do that. Estimated daily max is a great way to do it.
It’s, hey, work up to a top set of six today. Drop 15%, hit two to four more sets of six. Okay. And then we come back the next week and it’s like, okay, cool. You’re going to do the same thing. But our goal is to hit a higher top set of six on your first set. So, instead of a seven RPE, now you’re at eight RPE, and then week three is a nine. Week four is going to be a ten. So every single week your goal is just to hit a higher top set of six, and then you back off and hit your two to four sets there.
And so, it’s like you have two places where you can actually make progress. I can be hitting a higher total weight on my top lift for the day. So that’s an immediate win. But then you’re also going to be playing a total volume game when you do two to four sets. Can I beat the total amount of volume I did the previous week? Right. Cause now like, we’re in this situation where it’s like, not only is intensity going up, but volume is going up as well. And that’s why I think sometimes we have people hit these absolutely outrageous PRs after a twelve-week training cycle because we get them playing this game with themselves.
Right. I know. Ian recently posted a, like, 100 pound deadlift PR after twelve weeks. Right. And I’m not talking like he deadlifted 200 lbs and then deadlifted 300 lbs, like homeboy deadlifted, like, 550, something like that. Right. Like, so he went from a 450 deadlift, which is incredibly respectable. Especially, I think Ian’s a little bit on the… Ian, If you hear this, don’t get upset at me for saying this, a little bit on the older side of our training team members. Right? But like that’s insane.
We see people hitting these 50, 60, 70, 80-pound PRs in a short period of time. I think that’s one of the strategies we use. So, the estimated daily max is one that I really like. I also like to think of, I have sets. I have reps and I have load again. This is applying primarily to a main lift with set reps and load. I’m usually going to have a question mark in there somewhere, so maybe I will give you your reps. I’ll give you your load and I’m going to question mark your sets, and I tell you exactly how long you’re going to rest.
You guys saw that in Silverback it’s, hey, you’re going to work at 62%. We’re going to hit X number of reps; you’re going to do it and you’re going to rest a strict 60 to 90 seconds. Hit as many sets as you can. If you reach the 10th set, you’re going to stop and take it for as many reps as you can. So we’re not here all day. But I’m always going to question mark a set, a rep or load. Another way I can do that, which is a brutal phase, but it works really well is that I’m going to say, hey, you’re going to hit three sets.
We’re going to start at 80% of your one rep max. You’re going to do as many reps as you can each set. Then you’re going to rest for three to five minutes. If you hit ten reps on each set, you have to increase weight and bump it the following week. Right. Again. I’m not just going to plainly tell somebody, hey, like we’re just going to go five sets of five at this percentage. Like, I totally appreciate and understand that programming and the periodization of the scheme that comes with that.
But I think that gets really, really boring for the athlete. Where are they competing with themselves? Where are they able to adjust their output and their effort based on the day? Because I want to continue to set up those situations week by week, I’m always able to look back and have a number I’m going to try to beat today.
The other place I really like. And this is one from Ryan L’Ecuyer. There’s a circular nature to programming, this mirror effect. And he was the first person that I saw do this and I really liked it and I’ve stolen it.
How to Use the Mirror Effect
So, I’m going to give him credit because he’s not here to talk about it himself. But Ryan will do something where he’ll go, okay, well, on week two of a program of a four week cycle. On week two, he’ll be like, alright, you’re going to have three sets of eight on like a squat or something like that for example, right? And you’re trying to work up to the heaviest load that you can, essentially. He’ll come back on week four and say, okay, you’re going to use the top set, like, the heaviest weight that you achieved in week two.
You’re going to use that again in week four. On set one, you’re just going to hit four reps on set two, you’re going to take it for as many as you can. And again, now I’m playing the psychological game of I’m like, okay, well, I know this was really heavy for eight on week two, but I’ve done it for eight before. So I want to beat that number, right? And it’s like the first set’s just kind of warming up and feeling it out. Four reps is not going to smoke you if you’ve done it for eight before.
But set two is where you can go on a full send. And it’s like, Well,, I got a fucking beat eight, right? And then it’s like, you surprise yourself and you’re like, hit 14 and you’re like, damn, that’s awesome. I remember how hard this was in week two. And so, it’s just those little nuances in programming are the things that I think make such huge differences for people and the outcomes they can get and how rapidly we can achieve those outcomes. It’s one of the reasons why I think we’re really successful with our people and how we do things.
I don’t know if you guys want to piggyback on any of those examples or want to talk more about them. Those are like the big ones in my mind that I use a lot. And, like, any program, right. I’m trying to think about how to incorporate those elements.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah, for sure. I’ll jump in. I mean, I think one of the things you addressed is with this, there’s a higher degree of choice. There’s not just a max weight or, you know, max out on everything, which I think historically, for anybody who’s been in the weight room that’s been the benchmark is just do more max weight. Well, you only get so many attempts, and the stronger you get, the fewer or the less frequent you can actually pull that off. So, you have to have something that you are gonna look at.
We use this Holistic total package model. So, there are a number of ways that we can assess work capacity. We can gamify stamina with all the different MetCons. In my gym, for example, we have a few things we’ve pulled from Silverback and other programs over the years, but they’re just known benchmarks. They’re tough workouts. It’s kind of like CrossFit has their WODs, their Murph, and all that stuff, things that have a little more utility for the goals than our clients have. And they know that, and they know what is a good score.
Utilizing Velocity-Based Training
They know ways to track and measure. Some of them are time based, where there are restrictions, and they have to be able to have a certain level of output in a set time. Could be like your 30:30 type stuff, or even just a twelve-minute block of density work. And within that, you have to have the discipline as a trainee to maintain technique and make sure that, you know, you’re not just getting it done, but you’re getting it done in the same manner. But I wanted to kind of shift and talk about where I think some of the utility of tracking these things, too, is we use a lot of velocity-based training, and there’s some instant feedback on that.
If you’ve got the right competitive drive, it’s going to change how you lift forever, because I have never lifted with as much intensity and intention as when I have a velocity tracker on the bar, because if I don’t hear that ding and I know I didn’t hit that rep or it calls out the number on the speaker and it’s too low, you better be damn sure that the next rep, I’m giving it everything I got, and I want to see it get back above that threshold.
So, then that’s a way to get that instant feedback of, did I nail it in this rep? Did I really give it my all? We use a Jocko as well, which if you’re listening and you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a bracelet with a Bluetooth connection to an iPad or a phone, and you set the distance. And then once you start moving, it records the timer and the first disruption across the screen, it will actually stop it. So, it’s fairly accurate. Sometimes if the distance is too long, it kind of breaks down.
But that’s a great way to look at your runs if you’re starting to, you know, if you’re doing sprints or doing more athletic base things, you can even set it up for, like a 5,10, 5, all kinds of stuff. So, it’s nice to have a way to get this feedback and to try to manipulate that with different protocols over the course of a program. So, just kind of back to your point, James. I think it’s there ways to assess and track that I think just lend themselves to gamifying other than just following the script, because the reality is the periodization schemes, most of the books talk about building these elite athletes and stuff like that, and they’re on four year of perennial calendars where they have a long term goal that’s so far out. Your average trainee is going to be able to make so much progress because they’re not near the boundaries of what is possible for their physiology. So you see these wild increases where our guy Ian, 550 is amazing. That’s an amazing deadlift. But when you look at what the world record deadlift is, you know what I mean?
There’s just so much. And I think that’s why people can do this in multiple domains at once. You can see your capacity, get better and track that with certain KPIs. You can look at your strength stuff or your strength conditioning, your rep max type stuff, and you can also do it within the domain of athleticism with speed. So, just abundant opportunities to compete at every level.
James Cerbie: I was going to say the little ding thing that you talk about is such a good point, because that ding is so infuriating. All I’m thinking of is like, this fucking computer is just calling me soft right now. So quit being so soft, bro. Why can’t you move it faster? You’re not hitting your velocity. Soft! All I hear in my head when the thing goes off, I’m like, soft. You’re so soft.
Keiran Halton: The worst is when you know that you’re still hitting your velocity, but you have the wrong setting. So, you’re gonna do the whole set anyway, and you can see the speed is going off, but it’s like, yeah, fuck you, man.
James Cerbie: That is so true.
Keiran Halton: So, I think the one thing that you guys are talking about, and I totally agree with and I think one of the best parts about Rebel is all the gamifying that we can, like, blend into the program to get those, you know, not just for the fun of it, but also because it leads to such high outputs where, like, gamifying it or making it competitive, tracking all those metrics. It’s just like, cognitively, you shut off and then you just start doing, right. And then most people are pretty surprised, like, on this question mark set or, like, when they come back and retest stuff.
But the one thing that you said just because with the training team, for example, the burn, the build, we’re getting a lot busier professionals, like people who probably wouldn’t get the most out of, like, a question mark set. Some people definitely would, right? But, just regular moms and dads and people just trying to get in before work. But the one thing you did say about Ryan’ thing with the Mirroring, I actually borrowed Lance’s programming that he uses with his gen pop people that I think is genius.
And he’ll use more of a three-week block. And then you’ll, you know build, build, build. And then you’ll actually have a chance to go back towards the end of the program, and you’re actually repeating the same set and rep scheme. And now it’s your chance to look back a few weeks ago, you’re crushing those numbers. So, it’s just like an automatic win or it’s just like, you got to show up and you’re like, listen, it’s been six weeks. I’d better beat my numbers now.
So, I think that’s genius. And it’s been working really well with a lot of the training team members. So, for the “gen pop” approach, that mirror is a really good way to attack that.
James Cerbie: Yeah, I think the mirror is beautiful. The mirror is so powerful. I don’t remember the specifics. I have it written down and remember talking to Lance about how he does it. And this makes so much sense because it’s like, whatever you see for that first three-week chunk, you end up seeing again at the back end when you’re on, probably week nine or ten somewhere in there, you’re seeing the same set and rep scheme. You’re like, oh, man, I’m moving way more weight now. I’ve gotten so much better.
I think being able to put those wins in the program for people because I understand that they’re gonna be a lot of hardos in the training and conditioning realm. We’re like, oh, just show up, do the same shit every day, do it for six months. You don’t need to see PRs. I’m like, fuck off. If I’m not seeing progress, like, every few weeks, I lose interest. Our people are going to be the same way, right? We’re training former athletes, high school athletes, college athletes, people that love to train and get after it.
Maybe they are super busy, they’re parents now, they have a job, so they don’t have as much time. And then they’re in build or burn. Or maybe they still have the ability to spend 60 to 90 minutes training. And then they’re in one of our other programs, like Total Package, Swole, Field Demon, etc. Right, at the end of day, I think everybody would fall in a similar boat. If you can see wins more frequently, you’re going to be more excited and have more fun training, and you’re going to work harder.
Why People are Married to Periodization Models
This idea that I have to go four months before seeing any progress is just bananas. It makes no sense. And again, it just comes back to this idea, like, some people get so married to, like, super training and science and practice and these different periodization models. And I’m like, bro the periodization models for people like Ryan Patrick already said, they’re thinking four years down the road and they show up at the Olympics. We’re training real normal human beings that have a life and that want to see wins more often.
And I can totally get that. And I think that’s one of the things that we strive to do a really good job of and do a good job of.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah, we’re constantly having this conversation from a business standpoint, the brick and mortar facility that I run, a couple of years ago, we stepped out of the fat loss space, and it was a very purposeful decision by me because a lot of those clients come in. Not that it’s wrong. Not that you
shouldn’t want to lose fat and all that. But the training and the progress and even the nutrition that helped them feel better and perform better was very punitive, and it felt like just a means to an end for them.
And all the while, they’re making great progress in the gym and they’re getting stronger. And I’m like, this is where the gold is people. This is what it’s about. Where you get in six weeks. Like, what are you going to do after you lose the fat? Like, we’ve got so much time to play. Like, are we going to talk about getting a 300-pound deadlift? Are we going to get four mile in a ten-minute air dine ride? I think I’m very similar to you guys, but if I’m not training and there’s not some element of competition, it’s just recreation or for health, that’s not motivating to me at all.
I lose interest so fast. And I kind of dwindle. So I mean, keeping checks on myself to make sure I’ve got a coach who’s pushing me and giving me clearly to find task and objectives, at least gives me something to aim towards. But I have to have that element of progress. I have to have that element of pushing myself, seeing what’s possible, just kind of leaning into the edge a little bit and testing the waters. But without that, it’s just a sinking ship.
James Cerbie: You need super sets of front squats and front rack reverse lunges to really keep you interested.
Ryan Patrick: Just get to so amped up around people.
Using MetCons to Gamify Your Training
James Cerbie: So, I was going to circle back. We mentioned MetCons. One thing I didn’t talk about. MetCons is another really awesome place where you can play with this, and you have a lot of room to play. So, I love the mirror effect in MetCons as well. Where like on our tactical track, where you’re going to hit more big lifts followed by MetCons. So, you’re not really getting classical accessories. You’re doing way more of, you’re going to hit a press and a squat, and then you’re going to hit MeCon. Right.
So, what I really like to do in those MetCons is to wave them. And so you’ll see the same MetCon for, say, two weeks, and then I bring a new MetCon for another two weeks. And then they go back to where you were, hit those other ones for another two weeks. And so you have an opportunity now to beat what you did previously and to see the fact that you’re generalized work capacity has improved. And so, another thing on MetCons, that’s really good is sometimes people want to progress those too much too fast.
And I think it’s really fun telling people once they get a feel for the pacing of it and they understand what their pace is to just give them really small overreaches to say, hey, we can use a really simple example. Maybe you do an eight-minute amrap, whatever it is. Right. And then maybe it’s like, okay, well, let’s see if we can go to eight minutes and 30 seconds or eight minutes and 45 seconds or nine minutes. Can you keep your best eight-minute pace and survive for an extra 30 seconds, 45 seconds or 60 seconds?
And that’s another great way to do this, figuring out ways to play a game with yourself. Psychologically, this is so important. You got to do it. Otherwise. Like you said, Ryan, you just show up and you just go through the motions and it’s like, what’s the point? Why am I even here? Who cares? I’m the same way. I have to have that game going on at all times. And it’s fun when you’re playing that game with yourself. But then you’re playing that game with hundreds of other people.It’s so great when you see that actually kick in. And people just they take off.
Keiran Halton: Like you’re saying with the MetCons and stuff is a really, really good place to kind of cook in some of that because it’s so easy, right? It’s just like, alright, you got twelve minutes last week. You did three rounds, give me three rounds and then get back on the bike and just start pedaling. Just so we we get a win this week. Right?
Or the other thing I really like is you start trying to strategize a little bit more. Week one is always kind of daunting because it’s just like, you’re going in blind. But then, like, week two and three, I’ll be with a client and we’re just like, all right, we’re doing the ten minutes on the air dine bike, like, last week, we got this. So if we break that up into four quarters, this two minutes, two and a half minutes split, we need to be at 63 rpm.
Now you’re just like, alright, I can make it to the first quarter. Let’s get to the second quarter, and then you just start those small wins to your point, right? Like, circle back around, take you so much further just week to week.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah, it’s such a mental challenge too. I know I’m in the right place when I’m thinking about that pacing like you’re talking about, Keiran. And I’m like, okay, I got to hold 64 RPMs. And then as I’m going, it’s like, okay, I’m a quarter through. Can I hold this pace for three more quarters? And I’m just kind of like, just staying like, right in that moment of just trying to like, keep the pace, hold the pace. Am I breathing too fast? Can I back it off and still hold?
I want to see that progress. I want to, you know, bust through. It’s like racing a little shadow, just got to make one turn.
James Cerbie: That’s a great analogy. That’s what we’re talking about here. We’re just trying to build your Mario Kart shadow for you in programming. We can end on that. That’s a perfect way to transition and wrap this bad boy up. Right? Your goal is to find as many opportunities in training as you can to create the Mario Kart shadow for yourself. So, you’re always chasing. I love it. I don’t have anything else I can say. That’s great. I’m so glad we got there. Excellent. Alright folks.
Thank you for tuning in. We hope this was helpful, educational. Hopefully you have some actual things that you can go and use now in your programming. So you’re not just going through the motions because that’s the worst, but yeah, thanks for tuning in. We’ll be back next week.
Keiran Halton: Cool. Thanks, guys.
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