By Paul Winter

When I was a kid, my mom always repeated the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out.”

What she meant by this was pretty simple – whatever you put into your brain or body was what you could expect the output to be in return.

Spend all your time binging series’ on Netflix while going through processed sugars like a starving hippopotamus? You’re likely to not get much in the way of a performance return.

This is a pretty obvious statement when it comes to nutrition and feeding yourself on mental garbage, but how many of us keep this kind of mindset steady while training?

Whether we are lifting weights or grappling, it can be very easy to allow whatever kind of day we are having, our various distractions, or even just an undisciplined mind get in the way of our “take away.”

Mindless reps aren’t good reps.

Neither are lazy ones.

When we approach our grappling session or our lifting, we should ask ourselves, “what am I trying to get out of this?”

If the answer is “high value,” as it should be, then you must know that in order to receive that, you must also put it in. Your return on your investment will be of the same quality – so if you put garbage in, expect to get garbage out.

Here’s a few ways to make sure that happens at each training session:

Keep your day to your day.

If you’ve had a shitty one at work, with the spouse, if the kids are driving you crazy, whatever the case: you’re not special. Half the people in here might be dealing with some high level drama.

Leave that where it is – it will still be there to deal with when you leave, but think about it: you can drag that into your session, maybe complain some to coach or partner (who almost surely don’t care), and let your ruined day ruin your training session, or…

You can “punch your way out” of a bad day, using the victory of a totally on point, mentally dedicated session of training, to strike back, to reverse the flow, to change your mentality toward things, and get back into the war with a solid “kill” under your belt.

Hit It Like It Owes You Money

Feeling a little tired, a little unmotivated, under the weather?

Take that shit someplace else.

This spot is for killers. For strength-seekers and power-sharers, who come in and spread their energy throughout the environment, and let their extra spill over to those who might need a little more.

Be one of these people, who give to the environment, and not one who only takes away.

Second, perform every single rep of whatever exercise it is – clean and jerk or rear naked choke, or some other dirty sounding maneuver – like it owes you money and you want it back.

Or, like Greg of Wolf Brigade Gym says: do the reps like they’re costing you money to perform.

Because they are.

Their cost is membership dues, their cost is physical investment, their cost is time.

Don’t disrespect the process or yourself by wasting any of these.

Finally, understand that down time isn’t “off time.”

The big changes and growth doesn’t always happen in the gym.

It happens in the kitchen, through continuation of the discipline you’ve established through your physical program and training.

It happens in the shower, as you’re mentally reviewing a grappling technique, and all of the sudden, “oh shit, I get it!”

It happens through understanding that this pursuit of strength and combat effectiveness is a lifestyle that doesn’t start and stop at the front doors- you have to take it out into the world with you, and apply yourself to it everywhere.

You have to keep it front and center to avoid poor decision making, and poor choices.

You have to feed it daily, and remember:

Garbage In, Garbage Out.