Struggling to make progress is exactly when you are moving in the right direction. There is a reason why eating the right foods is inconvenient, there is a reason why getting enough sleep is hard. The point is that until we address the former, the latter is not going to make much of a difference. This is why starting with the right perspective is so important.
Have you ever noticed that guy or girl who really wants to be in the greatest shape EVER but has never quiet gotten there? He or she might be you, me, or any number of people that feel they have been shortchanged by the ever ubiquitous term ‘fitness’. I know I’ve felt this way MANY times.
For years the idea of washboard abs and being ‘lean’ was my ultimate goal. I weighed my foods, took my supplements and did my cardio but I noticed that each time I used a particular method, it became harder and harder for me to look my best. I felt ‘stuck’ and I found myself associating my self-worth with my physique.
Why do we always feel that deep sense of worthlessness about abs, or any other form of narcissism? The abs, arms and body we enjoy should be a product of the work you can perform, of the movement that you have honed and refined. The ability to resist stress and do what you want with your life irrespective of perceived limitations. A simple example is just how many strict chin-up’s you can do perform. We don’t need to associate our self-esteem with success or failure, doing the work is enough.
‘Fitness’ seems to have moved towards the idea that being a beginner should never train hard and that effort is not something to be scrutinized. That coming undone is something to fear.
The rhetoric goes like this in modern advertising.
If you are fat, you are worthless. If you are depressed it’s likely you will be like that forever. If you have a headache you might have Cancer or, if you ask your boss for a raise you might get fired.
We all know what it’s like to be up at night asking Google strange questions about illnesses we know we are intentionally making worse by overthinking the situation.
Training, travel, these are just simple tools that anybody can use to get out of their comfort zone.
We can overcome all sorts of self-sabotage with training but only to the degree that we embrace the process and stay mindful of the journey. We just can’t say, “I cant” before jumping up to the chin-up bar and seeing what can be done. You might need a band to start with, or a coach, maybe a training partner but, if there is one trend stopping you from making progress personally/professionally it is simply over thinking. To me getting under the bar meant more than completing the lift, it was a symbol of the commitment needed to succeed.
One of the main themes that I see with clients is ‘stop, start’ or program hopping ruining not only their productivity but their training. I think that training is the perfect way to reset our understanding of effort (especially on holiday) because it forces us to come to terms with our own impatience.
A classic example of was the first time I was introduced to time under tension in my own training. It’s basically the allocation of a pre-determined tempo to a rep. My coach at the time had me doing chin-ups with a 40X0 tempo and I think I did 5 before I was not straightening my arms.
At that time it was such a new idea to me that my knee jerk response was to hate it but, it turned out to be one of the training methods that would help me the most over the years. Training is a great way to help us learn more patience.
Patience increases adaptability.