What does it take for any athlete to make it to the very top, what are their habits, what do they have in common, how did they get there, what do they eat, how do they train, what is their mentality and what are they really like? These are all questions that intrigue us. My name is Tom Coleman and I have worked with elite athletes, teams and coaches and gained insights and answers to many of these questions. I can offer my thoughts on many of these questions and share my expertise in working with some of the best athletes on the planet including Conor McGregor.
Strength of Character
Most people are familiar with Conor McGregor’s rise to fame. He fought his way to the top, he dedicated himself to a dream with such a belief and determination that nothing was capable of stopping him. This type of strength goes far beyond the physical, it runs deep, to the very core of a person. There are such fine margins in business, in sport and in life. Failure, doubt and pain is just as important as success, confidence and exhilaration. Because these things shape our character and coming through them gives us a deep appreciation and understanding of ourselves and what is valuable in life. Conor McGregor and so many other athletes have come through this and found this is, in the dark days of training, in the hours in the gym, in the rain, in the pain and the sweat of being relentless despite failures. Failure is certain for us all -once we accept that, then the next question is -what are we going to do after? That is really what might determine if we are going to achieve our goals or dreams. All the elite, professional athletes I have worked with have come through this, they have all suffered with doubt and failure but continued to apply themselves with openness and determination. They often look for why they failed and re-doubled their efforts -the advice – be relentless not only in your training but in the pursuit of knowledge and how to apply it.
Training & Performance
It was such an amazing experience to be able to attend the training sessions of the most amazing athlete on the planet. Looking at the team of people that was assembled for the McGregor camp was unreal. Since I first attended SBG in Dublin and met John Kavanagh, I was so pleasantly surprised. The whole energy, vibe and attitude was one like relaxed yet amazingly professional. There was an overwhelming sense of family. Everyone knew their role, their job and got down to it. A huge amount of planning was obviously involved in the sessions, the expertise was phenomenal, the team of people were at the top of their game and nothing was left to chance or overlooked. Every element of how Conor was performing and recovery was assessed, measured and improved. Being part of that process was invaluable for me. So many different elements to balance, to monitor and improve -His nutrition, his performance form an athletic perspective, his movement patterns, boxing skills, his rate of recovery and sleep. The tiny percentages, fine margins that accumulate to make the difference.
Most of the athletes I work with are very tuned in when it comes to Nutrition. What do these guys have in common? It’s usually kale, blueberries, sweet potato, nuts, seeds and lots of other healthy foods. What they also have in common is a willingness to improve. In my experience, one of the biggest problems that people have in Nutrition is being closed minded and holding on to their ideas because it agrees with their philosophy or current practice. What I really liked about Conor McGregor was when he said to me –“You tell me what to eat, when to sleep, when to train and I’ll do it”. There was no question, there was trust, he was open. He recruited the best and he trusted them. In fact, nearly all the athletes I have worked with have been the same. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it – end of story. My secret to Nutrition is in eating the most nutrient dense foods available. Keeping it simple and not going crazing with food fads.
Sleep- The Science of Recovery
How well athletes recover can be a blind spot for coaches and teams. My whole focus was to be able to bring a number to that equation and thus improve it. The leading coaches in the world are starting to realize the importance of sleep and the impact it has on recovery and thus performance. Sleep has a direct impact on reaction times, shot accuracy, time to exhaustion and many other areas effecting athletes. I worked with the whole team including Conor on measuring and improving sleep and mental fatigue.
People have an inbuilt perception of how Conor McGregor is based on what they see in the media. My experience with him was very different. The first thing to say is that he treated everyone with respect. He greeted everyone present in the room on arrival and was very polite. He was very focused yet without any tension. He was always seeking to improve, looking to be better and giving it all in training. His attitude was first class, there was no ego there. He was very obliging, humble and friendly every time I had to deal with him. It’s something that John Kavanagh instils in all the fighters in SBG and it is hugely refreshing. I have dealt with some athletes who have egos and people are treading on egg shells around them. These guys usually don’t reach their full potential as people are afraid to be completely honest with them. Your attitude will really determine so much in achieving your goals and so much of what McGregor has achieved has been down to his attitude.
Achieving Your Goals
Each one of you determine what that might mean for you. It is a personal thing. I worked relentlessly, with so many failures, doubts and worries. But many successes as well. Getting to work with Conor McGregor was a personal goal of mine for a number of years and I was lucky enough to achieve it. I did make all my own luck in saying that. I made the decision, I worked relentlessly, I faced many failures but I have also enjoyed every bit of the journey. Anyone who ever had any success had to put the hours in. Every athlete I’ve worked with has had to do the same. My message for all of you who have a goal or struggle with doubt is – be relentless, don’t let one failure define you, embrace it and move on.