So a few years ago I had big dreams. Dreams of achieving something great and being at the top of the mountain—being the man! Who doesn’t want that? So my focus was on getting there as quickly as possible, and the only way I knew how to get there was to train harder, run faster, and compete more often. There were times I spent anywhere from 4-6 hours in the gym, thinking I would get better results in a shorter amount of time. I was obsessed with seeing instant gratification and never accepted that it takes time to see true results!
Now I know I am not the only one that had this issue. Our society as a whole is obsessed with these things! It may be in sport (as was in my case), or with money, or with “them gains” in the gym. We worry so much about the end result that we overlook and disregard the most important piece of the puzzle with achieving something great—the journey!
In my case, it was train hard, train hard, train hard, then boom – get hurt. After some recovery time I had to start all over again (usually back from the beginning) and restart the vicious cycle of overtraining. After being out and behind by more than a month or two, my mindset was to catch up, and the only way I knew how to catch up was to train harder than before. My sports career was a broken record of frustrations, disappointments, and discontent.
Fast forward a few years – after the high school games, after the collegiate career, and after a short time in the professional circuit, and my mindset has done a complete 180. I started to understand and see that while I was trying to achieve greatness I had let the journey pass unnoticed. Most of my time spent in the gym was spent worrying about reaching the end goal, when I should have been spending my time enjoying the process of progress. I have found that slow and steady improvements (both in spirit and physique) are what really keep the body moving and individual motivated.
Let us stay away from the psychology for a moment, because that can be another article all in itself. Let’s look at something pretty basic instead: A bench press example, because everyone knows in every gym across the country how significant a bench press is to measure abilities, athleticism, and overall manliness. (Reread that line with a hint of sarcasm if you did not pick that up the first time). I am going to have you do a bench press for two days out of the week, and currently you can do about 225lb bench one time. So now, each week I am going to add 1lb to the bar. A relatively insignificant amount of weight, I agree, but watch what happens if I continue on this adventure.
In one year we will have added an additional 50 lbs to your bench press, so now you are maxing out right around 275lb (a pretty nice jump) – but lets not stop there! In two years we will have amassed an additional 100lbs to your bench. So now you went from a 225lb bencher to a 325lb bencher! How many people do you know can say that? Most people I know who can bench 225 never really master anything above that. Most of the time it’s because if they do go up in weight, they end up getting hurt from trying to do too much all at once.
Ok, so say you are not worried about your bench press, but more interested in dropping those extra holiday pounds for the summer. Well lets go on all kinds of diets and weight loss supplements, and hey why not, get that tax refund back and go for lipo! Then because now you are skinny you go back to your old ways and in a year or so you blow up again (most of the time bigger than you were before). Rather than take the slow and steady (tortoise and the hare approach) we obsessed over instant gratification—not taking into consideration the long-term effects. This is missing the key concept of health and wellness. Its not about how good you look or how strong you are now, its about how resilient you are, how good you feel, and how accomplished you feel in the future. It’s the little things in life, (or a workout) which have a more profound effect on the body and mind. Keep it simple to keep it safe, and keep achieving your own greatness.