Now that you’ve (hopefully) set a goal and made it public, the next step is to make a plan. A goal without a plan is a dream. Dreams are for when you’re asleep or for five year olds. Goals are for people with real aspirations. Many people will say that without a plan you’ll never reach your goals. I don’t fully agree. Goals are inherently magnetic. They’ll pull you in their general direction. As long as you stay consistent for a long enough period of time, you’ll probably still get there. However, having a plan puts your goals on the fast track, and increases the odds that you’ll reach your goals in a more suitable time frame. Be as specific as possible. Be accountable for your plans as well.
When I broke my ankle in middle school, I got it fixed and got sent to rehab. All of the exercises I was given were incredibly basic; they were all things I could do on my own at home. In fact, I was supposed to do them every day that I didn’t go to PT. At my 4 week follow-up, I asked my orthopedic why I needed to go to PT 3 times per week when I could just rehab myself at home. He said the difference was compliance rate. When people walked into the PT clinic and went through the exercises at least 3 times per week, they met their rehab objectives at least 85% of the time in 12 weeks. When they were given the same exercises but were unable or unwilling to do PT, the success rate dropped below 10%. When you have to show your fact in a PT clinic 3 times per week a) you’re going to do the exercises AT least on the days you go and b) you’ll probably do them on the other days because you’ll know your therapist will notice if you’re been slacking.
A rehab plan is not unlike a training plan. They’re both physical activities directed at a goal (functional ROM vs. PRs). Being accountable for the outcomes (the goal) is great. However, being accountable for executing the plan is even better. Being mocked by your PT for not re-establishing sufficient strength and ROM after an ACL reconstruction doesn’t cut it, it seems. Nor is it very professional, as an aside. When you’re accountable, not just for meeting your goals, but for taking all the proper steps to get there, your success rate increases dramatically. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a coach. Odds are, they’ll know a couple tricks you don’t, but 90% of what they do with you will be basic stuff you could have figured out yourself (or already know). The difference is, you can’t miss workouts, or you get chewed out when you do. You don’t just have the social pressure at the end of the road. You have it every step of the way.
In the spirit of transparency, here’s my plan:
Sleep at least 8 hours even night my schedule/schoolwork allows (i.e. sleeping 5 hours because of a big project is okay. Sleeping 5 hours because of youtube isn’t)
Stay on top of my prehab work. My piriformis WILL get rolled every day, and my hip flexors WILL get stretched every day.
Pushups and either bw squats or KB swings will be performed to exhaustion (muscular or cardiovascular) at least 4 days per week.
I will not slip up on my diet due to stress/cravings
You’ll notice there’s nothing about lifting heavy things. That’s because I’ll do that regardless. Plan for the things you know you’ll have problems with. I love lifting heavy things. I do not like dieting or volume work. If you are prone to miss training sessions but sleep like a baby every night, then don’t plan for sleep. Let that take care of itself. But make sure you have a plan to get your butt in the gym as often as you need to.
That’s all for the night. Set some goals, and plan how to reach them.