When you get really good at something, it’s natural to want to stick with that thing and make it even better.
But if you neglect other fundamental parts of training, your physical abilities can become one-dimensional and hold you back.
For Fiona Silk, whom we know and love as “Fi,” strength was her forte, and she was able to achieve some incredible feats as a result. However, the other two basic elements of training – mobility and control – were neglected and underdeveloped before she found GMB.
Once she changed her approach to training, Fi was able to improve certain areas she hadn’t been able to before, and get better results with her sport of obstacle course racing.
Fi’s Challenge: Overcoming Ego and Staying Focused
Before Fi started with GMB, she had practiced karate, kickboxing, and a good bit of calisthenics. Her strength was at a level most people would envy, but at a certain point she realized her ego was getting in the way of her progress in other areas.
At that time [when I discovered GMB], my training had become a bit bound up in learning new tricks and making YouTube videos. I was one of the first girls doing calisthenics in the UK, and my little ego ran off with itself for a while – all the likes and shares and comments and oh my head is swelling!
But I realised my training wasn’t really solid – I’d identify things I wanted to do, work towards them and nail them, but there was no bigger plan and there were also a lot of holes caused by avoiding things I didn’t like doing (and by not doing things I didn’t know I should be doing).
She discovered GMB by sheer accident, after winning Parallettes One in a Facebook competition, and the new training method spurred Fi’s desire to take ego out of her training. She then grew to love this approach and it helped her move past her previous limitations.
In going through Parallettes One, Fi discovered that her strength wasn’t as well rounded as she’d thought. Strength by itself won’t get you very far; strength with control and flexibility, though, will get you just about anywhere.
Though P1 is primarily focused on strength, the control and flexibility components challenged Fi in a whole new way.
I thought when I started P1 that my pushing strength was pretty decent, but oh how wrong I was! Seriously, I noticed my straight and bent arm strength go through the roof.
By improving her straight and bent arm strength, Fi saw improvements in her calisthenics performance, which got her accepted on to the Ninja Warrior UK team (they’re working on getting a UK version of the show together). But even more than her strength improvements, Fi’s transition to more movement-based work after joining the Alpha Posse had an incredibly positive impact on her performance and outlook.
How Fi Got Great Results From Training Her Weak Areas and Embracing Movement
P1 challenged Fi’s strength in different ways than she was used to, but since she naturally gravitated towards strength-based training, it was still within her normal scope.
When she joined Alpha Posse, though, Fi began exploring some of the movement-based Mini-Programs we have available to our members, along with our Vitamin course, and she saw great benefit from training her weak areas.
I enjoyed Movement Multivitamin, but found it really hard. The movement (especially the coordination!) side of things is not easy for me – I’m inflexible, immobile and massively uncoordinated, which makes following things on video hard, and also finding the motivation to practise them hard! It was rewarding to feel like I’d made progress, however small, and it also gave me some fun things to add to warm-ups and just play around with when I felt like it.
Fi realized she needed to take a break from only working on the area she was already quite good at – strength – and spend some time on the areas she was lacking in – mobility and control – in order to make real progress.
And what she found was an unexpected benefit in her obstacle course racing performance.
I’m not the best runner, but last year I was 8th in the Spartan Races, which is 18 kilometers, and that’s massive! I never, ever would have imagined I could run 18 kilometers, let alone get the top 10 finish in one of the biggest races in the country. With running, you need to move efficiently and not waste your energy being like a bull, but rather being more nimble. I see a big benefit from the mobility work I’ve done, like with the bear and the monkey, helping me get more agile.
You might think crawling movements, like the bear, monkey, and frogger (core movements from our newest program, Elements) would have nothing to do with running – and on the surface they don’t. But the benefits of working on mobility and flexibility, in addition to strength, go far beyond just crawling better.
And Fi saw those far reaching benefits in her performance abilities.
3 Lessons Fi Has Learned From Changing the Focus of Her Training
Fi’s experience with embracing movement and focusing her efforts in a different manner taught her a lot about her own abilities and how to get the most out of training. Here are the 3 most important lessons she learned.
Lesson #1 – Focus on one thing at a time
When Fi was going after tricks, rather than learning to use her body as efficiently, gracefully, and safely as possible, her training was a bit all over the place. She was trying to do a bunch of things at once, which prevented her from getting really good at any one of them.
The idea of focus and the fact that you can’t train everything and expect to make rapid progress has been the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from GMB.
It’s tempting to try to get good at as many things as possible, but real progress comes from cycling your goals, focusing on one thing at a time.
Lesson #2 – Let go of your ego
Fi ran into a common problem when she first started with P1 – trying to hit an arbitrary number of reps (an issue usually spurred on by ego).
I tried to follow it exactly and for some exercises got a bit distressed that I couldn’t do nearly as many reps as the program said to. But after posting on the Alpha Posse forums (which are GREAT for advice and reassurance!) I just did what I felt I could. I’m pretty good at gauging my own effort levels, so did that instead of killing myself doing all the reps I thought I should be doing.
We include a set/rep range in all our programs, but mostly as a reference. The most important thing is to learn how to gauge the number of reps you can do with good form.
Dropping the number of reps to whatever level your body can handle means letting go of the ego a bit and just doing what feels best.
Lesson #3 – Get support
Whenever we change the way we’re doing things, we can use the support of others who have gone through a similar process. When Fi shifted her training focus, she found the support of other Alpha Posse members very helpful in navigating some of the challenges she encountered.
I absolutely LOVE Alpha Posse! I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out about that in January – $25 a month to basically have unlimited answers to my questions?! Bargain of the century! I signed up then pretty much straight away signed up for lifetime membership. I feel like I have some experts and a community to both keep an eye on me, answer questions and keep me on the right track.
The value of a supportive community really can’t be overstated. No matter where you are in your journey, you’re going to run into challenges at some point, and when you have people to lean on, it can make all the difference in your ability to keep going.
Don’t Be Afraid to Do Something Different
It can be tough to push ourselves to do new and different things, especially if we’ve already gotten pretty good in a particular area.
This is as true in training as it is in life.
When we confine ourselves to doing the same things – exercises, activities, hobbies – and never exploring other avenues, we limit our potential, even in those areas we think we’ve “mastered.”
Take Fi’s experience.
Despite having a solid level of strength, even that area improved when she started training with a more well-rounded approach. By exploring movement, mobility, and training strength in a different way than she was used to, Fi reached new levels of physical achievement.
One of the most important things that has helped Fi get to where she is today is the ongoing support she gets from our online community. Especially while working on methods of training that were new to her, the support of the Alpha Posse had a tremendous impact on her journey. Join the Alpha Posse today to get the same level of support Fi has enjoyed.