5 Habits of Coach Sommer’s Athletes
To help you in your Gymnastic Strength Training journey, we’ve picked five habits adopted by all of Coach Christopher Sommer's athletes. Developing these habits will not only accelerate your physical gains but will also help you out in other areas of life.
GST is Potent
If we had to pick one word to describe Gymnastic Strength Training as a whole, it would be "potent." Potency is defined as having great power, influence or effect, and that describes GST pretty perfectly. The GymnasticBodies Curriculum develops the incredible potential for strength, for power, and for greatness, but with that potential comes great responsibility to yourself and to your body.
The biggest leap you have to take with GymnasticBodies training is to accept and embrace the fact that while you may be strong at other athletic endeavors, you’ll probably still need to start from the beginning with this program — the very beginning.
But don’t think of it as a step backward, because it’s not. Instead, imagine GST as a new language; you have to learn the alphabet before you can learn words, and you have to build a vocabulary before you can begin to string together sentences and strive toward fluency. As physical as GST is, it's a very cerebral process, as well. You'll need mental strength and commitment in order to excel, and you'll build brain power and focus along the way, too.
Habit #1: Show Up Early
In Coach Sommer's gym, athletes are expected to check in with him upon arrival and be ready for training before it’s time to start. It's easy to treat a workout casually or to be preoccupied with other things, but if you want to make the most of your training, it’s important to make the time for your workout special and leave any outside concerns on the doorstep. Remember, Gymnastic Strength TrainingTM is an opportunity to create an incredible body; don't show up late to such an important appointment.
Habit #2: Be Mindful
Once you begin your workout, focus on the task at hand, and give it your personal best. The cellphone and outside world can wait an hour while you train. Coach Sommer defines “personal best” as doing each set with the utmost perfection you can muster. It also means giving up the emotional aspect of training. The mind gives up long before the body on a set. Don't train with sloppy form or through pain, but do treat every repetition and every set as the most important you've ever done.
Mindfulness during your Gymnastic Strength Training workouts translates to results!
Habit #3: Be Prepared
Know what you will be doing before arriving at the gym. The GymnasticBodies courses — particularly the video demonstrations — are meant to be actively studied. Without an experienced coach beside you, this diligence is the only way to maximize your training. The students who glance at an exercise and blindly mimic it are those who often find themselves stuck when it comes time to test for mastery.
Being prepared also means knowing your long-term goals and reminding yourself of them often. Coach Sommer planned gymnast Allan Bower's career from ages 6 to 19 before even beginning to train him. While it isn't necessary for you to have that level of strategy, it is important to know what you want to accomplish over the long term and then stick with the plan to get there.
Habit #4: Show Passion
Take your training seriously, but don't be too serious. Gymnastic Strength Training is one of the most fun and rewarding physical pursuits you can undertake. If you train correctly, eventually you’ll be able to do every move you want, from an iron cross to one-arm handstands. Not every workout will be free from boredom, but the rewards will be worth it. Amateur trainees often feel they need to entertain themselves during every moment of training. Don’t fall into this trap; instead, take care of business today and then enjoy the benefits.
When Coach Sommer's athlete's train, they aren't lifeless robots. They joke around and have fun while still giving their training the proper level of attention. They also enjoy their skills in the outside world. The fun of GST is being able to do handstands up in the mountains, L-sits inside the pyramids, and impressive levers anywhere. Show some passion for what you're doing. After all, you'll only be a beginner once. Enjoy it.
Habit #5: Make Haste Slowly
Treat today as your priority, but understand that time is the most potent tool you have. As much as every student would love to immediately start advanced rings training, physiology does not work that way. True greatness comes from the accumulation of small acts of excellence over a long period of time. If you treat your training with the correct attitude and the right amount of discipline, you’ll find yourself reaching your goals far faster than you might have expected. Don’t lose sight of your bigger goals or set aside important preliminary work for temporary fun, because that’s how injuries happen.
Injury is the greatest obstacle to training. When you’re injured, you lose not just the time you’re unable to train but also the time it takes to catch up to where you were before your injury, not to mention all the progress you would have otherwise made in that time. So make haste slowly, and enjoy your training while treating GSTTM as the potent tool it is.
Coach Sommer's GymnasticBodies athletes have habits we can all learn from and we hope this insight into the mindset behind high-level gymnasts helps take you further in your own GST journey!