!!DO THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK TO ADD KG’S TO YOUR BENCH!!
These kinds of slogans and ads are everywhere. Whether it’s fat loss, strength gain or giant muscles, you can be sure to find lots of attention grabbing headlines, with lackluster real world results.
Well, I’ve got my own to throw into the mix.
Ready for it? It’s not a technique twist, it’s not a new super food, it’s not a piece of equipment.
Hey, I never said it was a short term trick…
The problem a lot of people run into with training or nutrition programs, is that they’re so damn long. In an age that we can get across the world in less than 18 hours or less, stream high definition movies and get Prime next-day delivery, fitness seems to be dragging its feet.
After a couple of weeks, we get bored and fall off the wagon. Maybe not by a lot, but it’s the beginning of the end. Discipline falters, and the cracks become crevices. Before we’re halfway through, we’re already thinking about what to do next.
Now there have been many technological advances, and our understanding of motivations and sticktoitiveness has improved along with it - there are plenty of apps, tricks and pieces of advice trying to help us see the plan through to the end. These are all great tools and can be used effectively to see us through tough spots.
However, while our tools have changed, the working medium has not. Our bodies still take time to adapt and grow (or shrink), regardless of how clever our programs are. Some styles will work better than others, but there’s always going to be an extended time factor involved.
We can be diligently working our way along the path, until something catches our eye. Maybe it’s a new path, maybe it’s a worse path, maybe it’s a hammock to take a break in. We wander off, to kill some time and break up the monotony, and now we’re on a new path.
This one might be better, or it could be much worse, that doesn’t matter. We’ve changed course, and trying to find our way back has no guarantee that we’ll get back to the same place. Even retracing our steps it can take a while to get back to where we were, no closer to our goal destination.
If we stick to this new unknown path, who knows where we could end up.
This is what happens when we commit to a training or nutrition plan, and then go off script. If we start program hopping, we can potentially lose all the progress you’ve made from the work thus far, ending up in a situation we don’t want. It could be better, but we can’t know for sure as we’ve not followed the original path through to the end.
That’s not to say it’s bad to swap programs, goals, or styles - variety is the spice of life - but we can’t expect to reach a certain outcome or destination if we don’t follow the path. If we don’t at least commit to seeing it through to the end, we can’t make any reasonable judgements.
If we have a plan and then start adding in random exercises or swap certain foods without reason, we’ve changed the course of what we’re doing. If we’ve not thought it through or consulted with whoever made our program, we can’t know what effect it will have - only that it will probably change our end outcome.
That’s not to say a little change is bad - I’ve got a whole post of suggestions on how to change a workout when it’s not going well - and sometimes it’s required for the situation or environment, but it’s change that isn’t well thought out or relevant to what we’re doing that does us harm. Even worse, a complete change of style or pace, so we’re losing the progress we made on the original plan and starting from square one of this completely different one - all this does is add extra time to our journey!
It’s for this reason that we need patience when carrying out our plan to see it through. This can be a little daunting at the beginning, but there is a solid, tried and true method of improving our patience.
WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT?
Just be in the moment. That’s it, no meditation or fancy mental exercises - just take each moment as it comes.
If you’re on Day 1 of 84 (a 12 week program), then be on Day 1. Don’t worry about how long you’ve got to go, just keep your head here. If you’re on Day 1 Breakfast, enjoy your breakfast. What flavours are there? What textures? What kind of smell does it have? Don’t concern yourself with what tomorrow or the next few weeks have in store, just be in the moment.
Yes, you will need to plan ahead and work your schedule around stuff, but don’t make that the centre of your universe. That’s a route to feeling anxious, and worrying about worrying. Instead, have a general plan set up, and cross the bridge when you get to it.
The same goes for training, if you’ve got a long session ahead of you - don’t worry about it. Just make sure each rep is as good as you can make it, each step is made with purpose and you’re doing the best you can. From the mental side of things, a lot of people psych themselves out of a set, worrying they’ll be too tired or it’ll be sore, and end up quitting before stepping up and attempting it. If you’re in the moment, you step up and do your damnedest to put one foot in front of the other and cross the bridge. If you fail, you fail. But you’ll know, and have the opportunity to do better next set or next session.
By being in the moment, patience comes along by default. There’s no trick to it, it’s just finding a way to stop looking at everything else besides the path that’s right in front of us.
Instead of thinking “oo what’s that person doing” or “hmm I haven’t had this in aaaages” or “Big Pete said this was the way to train for big biceps”, it’s acknowledging its existence, and getting back to our own path.
Again, there’s nothing ultimately wrong with switching plans or goals, just know that we’ll never know how this one would have turned out. Worse case scenario - we end up back at square one.
Other plans, exercises and foods will still exist in a few weeks time, so we might as well see this one through to the end.