The 5 Stages to Fitness Training Mastery

The 5 Stages to Fitness Training Mastery

26 Aug

The 5 Stages to Fitness Training Mastery


The 5 Stages to Fitness Training Mastery is a model in which the five predominate stages of physical development are broken down. It is designed to allow you to find your starting point and then embark on your journey to training mastery. Each stage is comprised of necessary experiences that, when compounded into the next stage, continuously ascend your training ability. This transforms you from an ego-centric mental identity to an integrated mind and body unified under pure intention and discipline. 

Those 5 stages are:

  • The Building Stage
  • The Achieving Stage
  • The Growing Stage
  • The Thriving Stage
  • The Mastery Stage

Stage 1 - The Building Stage 

Builders learn the do’s and don'ts regarding proper mechanics, breathing patterns and new experiences across your training modality every day. Examples of these are remembering to breathe while doing a specific movement under fatigue, finally firing in sync with all muscle groups leading you to a new personal best. Increasing your movement efficiency leading to less “wasted energy” You see where this can go. 

You as a builder are limited by your neuromuscular system’s capabilities to coordinate and integrate new patterns as well as your psychological capabilities to sustain focus. This is completely understandable when you are up against new experiences day to day. 

Sustained focus is the key, but it can easily be disrupted. For example, you may be focusing on breathing while doing your set of work, but you can be completely disconnected to your body’s integration of it neuromuscular coordination. Since your attention is very narrow and not pointed to the proper focal point, your form then starts to break down. This is a common occurrence within this stage and staying focused on the key points requires persistent effort and reflection.  

Overcoming this initial stage requires complete trust in the process. It is difficult to find a connection piece to everything you are doing day to day and how that is preparing you for your next chapter. What is key is the mindset that each session is preparation for stage two , imagine stage one is a puzzle left from your future self. There are pieces scattered everywhere, but every session you find a piece of that puzzle and you pick a spot to place that piece in the bigger picture. There is an unlimited recourse of education via the internet, books and coaches that will be additional tools that you can utilize to propel you into stage 2  . You will most likely be here for the majority of year 0-1 if you are a first time trainee. Those who have experience in sports or previous training backgrounds may adapt at a faster rate. 

Stage 2 -  The Achieving Stage

At this point you’ve gained an adequate level of competence over your training. Neuromuscular foundations are set and breathing with proper patterns can be integrated within a single field of focus.  As you gain a larger field of focus, you gain greater capability of integrative capacity. Your training has become more of an in the moment experience with heightened navigation, minimal effort and that unknown awkwardness regarding your training has diminished. Woo-hoo! 

You become very goal driven in this stage. For example, you may have 5 sets of work and you set an objective to increase your output by ~10% per set just so you have a target of progression. There is this spark of intrinsic motivation to find out what you are capable of here. Training in this mindset creates a connection of intensity as it is now attached to targets. 

There is magic in this stage and you will feel it when you are there.

You as an Achiever has transcended the fundamentals and included them in the overarching bigger game plan. This is an entirely new stage of training. Pursuit for more specific results and willpower to progress increases immensely within you. The limitations lie between your mind body connection.

Stage one and two of mastering your fitness training sessions are the predominant stages where the majority of novice trainees will sit unless they figure things out on their own or are guided by a knowledgeable mentor/coach. You are in the chase now, you are looking into competitions or formulating your specific goals. 

In order for you to graduate into the growing stage you must specify the target of your journey. You need to formulate specific goals, targets to achieve what you desire. Once you have found those targets educate yourself on learning anything and everything revolving around them. Referring back to the novice trainee timeline this may occur during your second year of training.

Stage 3 - The Growing Stage

The defining feature in this stage is when you integrate your mind and body. 

This is where training becomes so enjoyable that you gain a deep sense of assurance that you’ll forever adopt this into your life. 

You have transcended the limitations of identifying your mind and body as separate. You become SELF which is larger and far more capable than the less mature view one’s SELF, where you were in the builder or achiever stages, which splits physical and mental resources instead of combining them.

As emotional and physical capabilities become more symbiotic, your training upgrades. Your intention is now solely submerged in your training where you aim to become unified and integrated with every movement and every rep. 

This experience is you growing into the present moment. This becomes a flow state of commanded attention and full engagement into training. Results of increased strength, flexibility and performance will now become a normal byproduct of the time you put in. They are no longer the core purpose you engage in training, though. This is where a coach is going to be your best investment Why? Your goals have now surpassed you and the right path to choose becomes blurry until you find someone who can guide you to and through it. At this point you have 2-3 years under your belt and most of the training details become automatic for you to complete.

Getting into this zone draws you deeper into your training day in and day out, rep after rep, breathe after breathe. This level elevates you to move with greater will, precision and purpose.

Stage 4 - The Thriving Stage

Passion and inspiration start to cultivate for you during this stage. The completion of training becomes a passionately driven and inspiring activity. Training now supersedes the limited attachment and investment into an enjoyable flow-like experience. Training can now be viewed as a natural expression of your passion and inspiration for living life to its maximum. Passion and inspiration open you up to deep levels of intrinsical joy and pain. Admission to this stage of training is the complete vulnerability of oneself into the present moment. This stage may take a bit longer to overcome. It comes down to what you start thriving for. Your goals may be bigger than ever requiring you to dedicate more time, mental bandwidth and training may become the number one priority in life. You start to sacrifice and manipulate your entire life-style to work around your training goals and vision. This stage is very rewarding because you start to take ownership and control of your path and vision. You went from not knowing where to start in your training to now future projecting your results ahead of you and seeing what the path will entail. You have invested 4 years into yourself at this point and realize your work is paying itself back in a sense and you have created your own training model that will lead you to complete fulfillment. 

You have to develop the confidence to “die” in the moment; when you do you will gain greater reward with each passing second you commit to it.

Stage 5 - The Mastery Stage

The highest stage you can achieve within your training is Mastery. It could be 5 years or more to arrive at this point. This will be the first time you fully understand the infinite capabilities you possess. You are doing and being at once unlocking your accumulated talents. Your repeated cycles have led you to full embodiment of your training and life. Training is now your vehicle for the refinement of excellence, use it! 

The accumulation of a timeless integration of discipline, play, pain, effort allows you with high proficiency to emerge yourself with the engagement wholehearted. Discipline is the vehicle, and when fueled with intention you have a potent formula for growth and transformation beyond the norms of your ego’s habits and conditioning.

Whatever stage you are at, we are all climbers and must climb the same ladder. This approach can spark your development on the path to mastery regardless of where you may be in your training. Most importantly, submerge yourself and enjoy the process. 

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CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. Big Dawgs' uses of the CROSSFIT® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and Big Dawgs is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.


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