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[caption id="attachment_3166" align="aligncenter" width="775"]One day classes at Krav Maga Raleigh will be this intense. One day classes at Krav Maga Raleigh will be this intense.[/caption] With the big push towards tests at the end of the year, we’re already seeing people step up their training. I thought it would be a good time to talk about conditioning because it’s crucial to a good test performance and one of the most important and misunderstood aspects of training. And because I value pageviews more than literary intergrity, for this article I’ll use the popular and SEO-Friendly “Listicle” format. 1: You Still Get Tired This is the big one. We all know that training hard is, well it’s hard, and it would be awesome if suddenly one day we got to a point in our conditioning where it wasn’t. But that’s not going to happen. If you push yourself you will always be tired, and since our classes (and especially our tests) are designed to push you hard, you should be getting tired. You don’t have to pray for the sweet release of death every class, but at no point should you expect training to magically get easy. 2: You Recover Faster Where you’ll really make improvements is in your recovery. You’ll still feel obliterated after finishing a hard drill, but 30 seconds later you’ll start to feel alive again. So when you’re taking a three-hour test, there will still be multiple times during the test where you think you’re about to fall over, but you’ll recover and come back strong. 3: You Go Harder Ultimately as Krav practitioners, we’re concerned with, “How hard can I fight?” A fight is a max-effort exercise, like a sprint, and we want to deliver the maximum amount of power in a (hopefully) relatively short time. We can catch our breath after we’re safe, but under no circumstances can we afford to give anything less than max effort to protect ourselves. No matter your conditioning level you’ll use 100% of it in your fight. The goal is to get more out of that 100%. As you train, especially if you are doing the fitness classes along with the Krav, you’ll see your strikes and combatives get much more powerful. You still get tired throwing them, but at least you’re getting winded while knocking someone out instead of giving them love taps. 4: Hard Training Isn’t as Emotionally Devastating A final indicator of good conditioning is that training hard isn’t as soul-crushing. I’m sure we’ve all had that class or workout where the pain went way beyond physical, where you were suffering at the very core of your being. General Patton is credited with the saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all,” and it’s true. There’s no overt reason why a hard workout should affect you emotionally: Your life isn’t on the line, and you know that if you have to, you can stop at any time. But something about extreme fatigue affects you deeply, way beyond the physical struggle. But each time you get to that point you grow more capable of dealing with it. And I don’t think every workout needs to be a near-death experience – in fact I think that’s a terrible idea – but to me, being conditioned means you’re able to deal with the physical AND mental rigors of a workout. So as you’re preparing for your test, or just for life, make sure you have the right goals in mind. If you’re hoping to reach that point when working out is easy, you’ll either be disappointed or slacking. Strive to hit harder, lift heavier, and recover faster. And when you get really tired don’t think, “This sucks.” Think, “This is right.”

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