Have you heard about the 10,000 hours of practice required to become great at anything? (A known theory popularised in the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, that states that it takes 10,000 hours of practise to become great an anything.)
Right now you might be wondering why I'm exploring this topic here, but it's quite simple, really. To master anything, whether it be your diet, workout schedule, career, life choices or mastering life-long goals (like sculpting your best booty ever), it's essential to understand the value of deliberate practice and how you can (and should) incorporate it into your life. It's the key to the acquisition of new skills, continual improvement, and, ultimately, mastering a task or element within your lifestyle.
I'm not saying that you'll have to spend 10,000 hours in the gym! In fact, the 10,000 hour rule has since been proven to be a ballpark figure, with evidence that as little as 4,000 hours of deliberate practice can be sufficient to master a skill. Regardless, it is a useful tool to highlight the value that deliberate practise can bring to improving your “gym skill set”.
So what sets you apart from the over-achieving triathlete or stage diva who scoops up all the accolades? Why do some people just seem to take setbacks in their stride and still finish on top? And a little closer to home, how do some women just seem to have it all – a great balance with work and family, and still have killer bodies?
By implementing deliberate practise, getting to your ultimate goal becomes more realistic, whether it's acquiring a new skill or building the body you've always wanted.
The four components of deliberate practice – your ticket to greatness. Practice makes perfect (or so they say), but simply doing the same thing over and over again is not the only ingredient for improvement. Experience does not necessarily lead to improvement. However, incorporating these four components of deliberate practice will:
You must be motivated to improve as you'll need to apply maximum effort to achieve your goal.
You need to be knowledgable, or aggressively increase your knowledge base related to the task. Expose yourself to challenges and experiences.
You should have a very responsive feedback loop in place. Monitor results (like testing body fat or doing fitness level assessments) or have expert coach or mentor feedback on your progress. Consistent testing is also required because it is difficult to learn and advance if you do not have feedback on demonstrable improvements.
Repeatedly perform the same or similar tasks. Focus on the areas where you are not performing well and improve on the technique or approach of these tasks. (Again, having feedback is essential). When it comes to sculpting a better body, this is a bit of a no brainer: Repeatedly focus on your training methods and incorporate variations to ensure progress.
With that said, deliberate practice must be intentional. To benefit from your practice you're required to constantly challenge yourself.
The process for building a better body (or booty, as this issue focuses on), or improving life skills are quite similar. And, ultimately, what you put in, is what you get out.
Train hard, and stick with it! Spring is just around the corner...