As a professional sportsman, athlete, motocross rider or whatever else I call myself I often wonder how many hours, minutes and seconds we waste travelling. This is what your mind will do as you are sitting at gate D16 for your flight to Southampton on a chilly morning in November.
You don’t just think about how much time you’ve binned walking, sitting or lying around on airport floors over the years: you actually break it down while drinking another cup of coffee. One hour, sixty minutes or three thousand six hundred seconds; well I do anyway.
Many times your brain works in a myriad of different ways to complicate matters and make things seem so much more intricate or stressful than they should be…like worrying about the size or weight of your baggage, where your passport is or what seat you have to gain the best possibility of a holeshot exiting the plane only to just be caught waiting once again at the baggage reclaim. More often than not your OGIO 9800 is one of the last bags to come through the black flappy thing.
I have narrowed this down to just airports for now but the mind boggles to think how many hours are also spent in the camper traveling to races, stuck in 5 O’clock rush hour traffic on the Brussels Outer Ring on the way back from riding or just waiting for a mate at the gym to hit the weights at six in the morning.
Time. It’s easy to reflect on how I could have better used it to improve myself over the years. It’s interesting to think that by now I could probably have studied nutrition, physiology or even learnt Japanese! Just the fact that I’m writing this tells me that I could – or should be – doing something more productive with my ‘free’ time. I know it’s incredibly important to rest body and mind at the correct moments as an ‘athlete’ but the same has to be said for training the brain by keeping things firing ‘up there’, always wanting to be better in any way you can. After all, the brain has been referred to often as a ‘muscle’ so why not train it? How often do you actually feel worse just sitting around staring at your iPhone scrolling through Facebook, instagram, twitter on repeat or wandering through the shops with your wife following her every footstep just feeling burned out from doing nothing?
The flip side works some ‘scientific magic’ between the ears where, using your non-resting recovery time – the time you’d normally be just gazing in to the iPhone – to learn something, plan something, or even just attempt to complete a sudoku. When you do this it normally leaves you feeling motivated, driven, fulfilled and goes towards a small gain for the day.
I suppose the main point of what I’m getting at here is that small gains (or marginal gains as it’s often called) could be huge in anyone’s sporting or general life story and success. Think of all that spare time that everyone has at some point or another as a window to improve yourself, improve your game or performance at the weekend. Start by targeting a specific goal you want to achieve and break it down in to as many sections as you can think of. Now imagine if you could improve on each one of these areas by only 1%, these gains could add up to a remarkable improvement in your overall performance.
Take Jimmy from Scotland who wants to win the 2018 Scottish Clubman championship for example. It doesn’t take long to realise that he could probably improve his physical condition, nutrition, fluid intake, weekly training plans, bike set up, sleep pattern or recovery. For someone at clubman level this list won’t be longer compared to say an MXGP pro but the facts are that any gain even as little as 1% at any level is something better than the individual had before. It therefore gives you an edge, an edge that might just be all you need to take a step on to the next level. There’s always a next level, you just have to find the door and open it.
The actual reason I started writing this load of chat was to give something for my followers to read, relate to and inspire me to come up with different ideas on how I can keep them up to date with what we do. There must be so many simple things that comes along with traveling the world doing something that’s your passion week in week out that Jimmy would enjoy reading, watching or listening about and then trying to implement in to his own life resulting in successes that he previously didn’t think were possible.
I’ve started here with some random stuff but this may be something that takes-off and could just inspire me to keep you guys just that little bit more in the loop than your average top MXGP star might. Anything you’d like to hear about then I’m open to ideas.
Hard Work, Works.
Pic by Ray Archer