Train like a 'PRO'?... What does that even mean?

The phrase train like a 'pro’ gets overused slightly. Being a professional sportsman for almost 15 years and in the fitness industry for a further 10 years I would say I have a decent grip on what training like a ‘Pro’ actually means, however how does my experience as a professional cricketer and fitness coach directly help Joe Blogs burn body fat, train for a marathon or relieve lower back pain?

What does ‘Pro’ mean? Well I assume we are talking about a professional sportsman, Olympian, bodybuilder or coach in these terms? Right, let’s use that logic for one second.

I'm going to train and eat like a professional rugby player to achieve my fat-loss goals… So I'll eat 12 eggs a day, hit the gym twice a day for 3 hours a pop and have a physio rub me down most nights….. Maybe not, Ok I’ll train like a pro bodybuilder….. 7 meals a day, tonnes of volume in the gym and a cupboard full to the brim with supplements?

Wow, not that easy to train like these ‘pro’s’ of yours Scotty. Ah ha, what about the cricket pro? Power and plyometric work, shoulder stability, agility training and cucumber sandwiches! Hmmm still doesn’t add up.

I like to use the terms principles and methods when approaching the subject of training like a pro. This is how we train like pro’s, we adopt the same principles they use. We need to understand what they are trying to achieve and then put into place our own methods that allow us the best chance of achieving them. Let me give you an example:

Progressive overload is a principle of training that all professional sportsmen use. In simple terms we do something a little harder, heavier or quicker each time and we adapt over time to get better, stronger and faster. A pro basketball player may be doing box jumps and plyometric (jumping) squats to increase is explosiveness in his legs and does this gradually higher and harder, and gets better and better over time. You on the other hand may be in the gym deadlifting 2.5kg more than you did last week and gradually strengthening your bum and hamstrings to relieve you of years of back pain.

So, both Micheal Jordan and you are using this principle of progressive overload but using different methods and approaching different goals at the same time.

You may not have 7 NBA tittles to your name but you have started to notice getting out of bed in the morning isn’t quite as painful.

Another quick example would be the principle of interference. Most athletes have periodised programs so they train different things at different times of the year. For example they may train speed for 4 weeks and then endurance for the next 4 weeks. It’s difficult to get optimal adaptation if you were to combine the two types of training at the same time. This is exactly the same of Joe Blogs down his local Puregym. If you're trying to gain muscle by lifting weights but you combine this with a 10km run every night, although you will certainly see health benefits we now have interference and you may not achieve the goal of muscle gain.

Some other principles include

Adaptation - Effective rest to see change

Revers-ability - Use it or lose it

Specifically - Does it fit you goal

Individuality - Personal preference

I hope this clears up the phrase a little. So next time you hear this term don’t think you’re bedding down to be the next Andy Murray or David Beckham but hopefully your training like the pro YOU are and becoming the athlete YOU were meant to be using these principles.

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