“Training is like farming. You do all these things today that you can’t see producing a result in the hope of a future payoff. You plant the seeds, water and fertilize, and scare away the birds, all in the hope that one day some little green shoots will pop through the soil.”
“When these shoots start to show that’s like someone you haven’t seen in a while telling you how great you look and asking if you’ve lost weight. Looking at yourself in the mirror every day, your gym weights maybe not having budged for a month or more, it can be hard to tell. But little by little the shoots grow. The muscles become more visible, you get faster, or your clothes fit differently.”
“And seemingly, all of a sudden, as if it happened overnight, you’re fit.”
– Michael Boyle
Fitness is not an overnight concept. It can take months for progress to occur and sometimes you just mess it up and your crops wither and die.
When this happens in training it’s time to go back to your training diary and see what was working before you went wrong.
This whole process isn’t helped by modern society. We want it all and we want it now. I’d argue that if more people spent more time in the gym maybe the credit bust might not have happened.
In life, you can buy whatever you want – just put it on the credit card. But there’s no credit card option with training.
In training you get exactly the fitness and strength you deserve. No more and no less. That’s probably not a bad lesson for many people today. You want it, be prepared to go work for it.
Don’t be surprised if it takes you the rest of your life to get what you’re after. The longer and harder you work for something the more you’ll appreciate it.
I remember when I started first going to the gym – I was fifteen. I made all the gym mistakes I write about. It has been a long and transforming journey so far. No one is good at anything on the first attempt. That’s another great lesson sport teaches us – perseverance.
Lance Armstrong has a saying that if you’re training over seventy percent you’re not building yourself up, you’re breaking yourself down. It’s like putting money in the bank.
Each session done right builds your fitness bank account up – slowly accruing fitness session-by-session, day-by-day. Go too hard too often and you wind up having to use your credit card.
The only problem with using your credit card all the time is sooner or later you wind up in debt. The problem becomes that in training terms “debt” means injury, illness, and burn out. You can’t deficit spend on fitness.
Learn to be patient. Work on the skills of fitness. It takes time. You’re certainly not going to become fast overnight nor have a six-pack. Be okay with that.
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