Coach Leo Frincu with his star pupil, UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey
Coach Leo Frincu with one of his star pupils, UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey

Most people don’t need more work. They need better results. What would you do if you found out that the reason you’re not experiencing the results you want is because you are working too much, or too hard?

If you are like most athletes you are spending a lot of time lifting, running, drilling, rolling, sparring and doing other training regiments. If you are like most athletes, I know you are probably training a lot… and very intensely.

I doubt you want to hear this but believe it or not, your body can only take so much punishment before it breaks down and starts to plateau. Unless you are using performance-enhancing drugs, physically, you can only grow so much and so fast. Therefore; I have news for you. I witness a lot of inexperienced athletes, and if you are one of them, you’re probably doing too much and too fast.

Nothing is wrong with being inexperienced, it’s being ignorant that gets us in trouble. We all have our limits, and you are dreaming if you think your body is different than any other human being.

However, there’s also some good news for you. All that hard training you’ve been doing probably has put you at the very top of your physical abilities. In order to further improve your performance, you must first accept this fact.

Without a doubt, you are going to say, “I can do more” … or, “I can get stronger”, or “I can be faster”. And you might even say, “Leo doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. I agree with the first statement. You can do more, and you can definitely get a little stronger, or a little faster.

Either way, you will need to put in a lot of extra work and time to achieve very little. And your body will certainly pay the price for your gigantic ego and lack of confidence and knowledge.

If you’re one of these people you have two choices:

  1. You can stop reading and get back to your old routine and experience the same results.
  2. You’ll continue to read with hope that you’ll change something, which will eventually bring better results.

Most athletes think that more work equals better results. This is completely incorrect. Besides the tremendous amount of stress that you put on your body, you are also creating an internal state of anxiety.

It is the same as a hamster on a spinning wheel. Doing more of the same type of work will not get you better results, it will just add more doubt to your abilities to perform. In the event of a defeat, besides being disappointed, most athletes go back and continue doing more of the same bad work. And this describes more than 95% of athletes.

Let me explain further: Fifty percent of all competitors will lose their fight/match in an upcoming competition, 25% will lose the next time they compete, and 20% will lose the following time. Only 5% or less of these competitors will continue with a winning streak.

I have a question for 95% of the athletes: When you lose a fight/match and say, “I’m going to work harder next time”, do you really believe you can actually work harder than you did before? Can you genuinely admit that you didn’t give your best in the first place? If you believe this, what makes you think this time around will be any different?

I am sure you’ve also wondered, “How in the hell am I going to do more this time?” Let me tell you, there isn’t more, only better. This time around you need to do something different.

What would you say if I told you that you literally need to slow down this time?

Yep, you heard me right, slow down!

Imagine looking out the window of a bullet train going 150 miles per hour. What would you see? There would be nothing but a bunch of blurry images. Well, you are “the high performance train” and these images represent your progress and mistakes. This is information about what is holding you back and what is pushing you forward. However, you can’t see this because you are rushing through the process/training. Since we do everything for a reason, it is easier to rush through and avoid dealing with ourselves rather than slowing down and acknowledging our qualities and flaws.

We are conditioned to go hard, and to go fast. We associate that type of pace with progress. We believe that is what’s going to makes us faster and even mentally stronger. There is a big difference between going fast (consciously and for a reason) and rushing through (subconsciously and for no reason, although there’s always a reason).

For most athletes, rushing though and going fast is often the same thing. Growth is an asset only when it’s acknowledged. Progress occurs only at one speed, yours.

Slowing down is looking within. Rushing through is looking outside. Slowing down means taking responsibility for our performance. Rushing through is blaming others for our failures.

A problem occurs when your growth speed is slower than another peer’s growth. You get in trouble when you all of sudden start comparing yourself with someone else. We only compare ourselves with someone else when we want to find something wrong with whom we are.

We are always going to compare ourselves with someone better, faster, stronger or even smarter than us. We only do this when we want to put ourselves down. Guess what? They are not you; and you are not them. We work so hard to walk in our idols footsteps, however; often times their shoes are too big, or their style just doesn’t match ours. It’s not their limits we are trying to reach, it is ours. It’s not their bodies we are trying to improve, it’s ours. It is not their expectations we should strive to meet. It is ours.

We attempt to copy a superstar athlete’s training routine and maybe even their eating regiment with hopes that one day we will perform as they do. I’m not saying to stop being inspired by someone. Rather, you just need to stop trying to be just like them. You are unique. There’s nothing wrong with being you. What would you do if I told you are good just the way you are? Often times, there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just something wrong with your goals.

If you want to start seeing better results you need to start setting goals according with your potential, not according with your peer’s standards. How will you tap into your highest potential when all you do is try to meet someone else’s expectations? How can you be happy striving to achieve someone else’s goals? How are you going to find out who you truly are if you are trying to be someone else?

There are a lot of famous athletes out there with brand names and techniques. We have Ronda Rousey’s arm bar, Romulo Barral’s spider guard, Edwin Najmi’s flying triangle or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s patented skyhook, just to mention a few. A lot of people will spend a lot of money trying to learn these signature moves hoping to also become a great athlete. You are setting yourself up for failure.

How about starting to acknowledge your qualities? What makes you special? What are you already doing that could be turned into something amazing? Guess what, you can’t acknowledge something good about yourself when you’re going 100 miles per hour. More work doesn’t necessarily mean better results.

If you’re not experiencing the results you want, take a look within. Who are you trying to be? Are you happy with yourself? Often times, it is harder to be yourself and easier to be someone else. You have to accept yourself in order to improve yourself. Accepting yourself is actually acknowledging your self…the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is what makes us special.

Being happy with yourself is giving the self-credit you deserve for your qualities. Being happy with who you are; is having the patience to improve yourself.

Often times, we engage in more work just because that’s all we know. We believe going a little faster or a little harder is what we need in order to achieve our goals. However, it is not ourselves we want to improve, it is our idols we want to become.

This concept is not self-improvement; it is self-denial. We use food, work, exercise, strenuous training regiments, alcohol, bad habits, and addictions to distract us from who we are and how we feel. Often times, we use other people’s achievements not to motivate and strengthen us, but to subconsciously enhance our already self-defeating beliefs. Often times, working harder is not going to push us forward but rather take us further away from reality.

If it’s goals we’re trying to achieve, it is our pace that’s going to take us there. If it’s our happiness we are pursuing, meeting our real expectations is what’s going to help get us there. Slow down and enjoy the journey. Sometimes it’s not getting there that counts, is how we get there that matters. Good luck.

leo frincu photosLeo Frincu came to the United States from Communist Romania with $10, a back pack and four words of English. Now, he’s a businessman, renowned trainer and mentor for UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Among his many athletic accomplishments, Leo is a six-time Romanian wrestling champion, four-time European champion and was also trainer and coach for the 2003 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team. Leo is the author of the book “Choosing Freedom”, which details the steps he took to leave the oppressive Romanian society through wrestling and how his experiences have helped him in the United States – going from a bus boy to successful entrepreneur. You can learn more about Leo Frincu on his website Also, follow Leo on Twitter @leofrincu and “LIKE” his page on Facebook.

Be sure to check out Leo’s new book: High Performance Mentality

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