Winning the Workout


I first heard this concept presented by Wayne Goldsmith at the American Swim Coaches Convention a few years ago. I immediately found it an intriguing concept and one that has virtually become a mantra for athlete’s that I work with. Another way to rephrase it is that it is not so much what you do it is how you do it. The ICE – Intensity, Concentration and Effort acronym grew out of the concept of winning the workout. ICE gets you in position to win the workout. The essence of it though is that before you can even think about winning a game, a match or a race you must “Win the Workout.” This is highly individual. I encourage the athlete’s I work with after each workout to ask themselves a simple question – Did I win the workout? A simple yes or no answer will suffice. This is their responsibility and key to their own personal management. The more workouts you win the better position you put yourself in to win the competition. In pro sports too often I heard the losers lament that I will turn it on when the lights come on. You can’t and won’t, you perform the way you train.

It is a step by step process with each training session seamlessly flowing into competition. Here are steps to help with winning the workout:

Be clear on what you want to achieve in the workout

Decide on the best methods to help you achieve your goals in the workout

Be sure to measure what you want to achieve

Make sure the workout is in context with the whole plan

Perform the workout with ICE

Evaluate the workout objectively

Remember it is a process, a means to an end. Winning the workout is an excellent way to keep your eye on the prize while achieving short term incremental progress toward a long term goal. Go for it!

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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