(s)training

Are you truly training or mindlessly working out? Do you have clear cut goals, deadlines and a plan?

Is this you?

Or just going through the motions, doing the same exercises and running on the same mouse wheel day in day out?

If you not pushing yourself, then why exactly are you in the gym? Are you trying to improve yourself or are you simply going through the motions. If you could look back over the past year, have you made any improvements in your performance or physique? Have you advanced in your journey? Do you even have a destination, a set of goal posts to aim for? Is there a time limit in place? Do you have checks and balances in place? A monitoring system to track your progress?

Don’t be like the millions of other mindless gym zombies, moaning and groaning around, aimlessly wandering through the iron & machines, no brain for their workout, no spirit behind their workouts. They begrudgingly workout, because they ‘have to’, their bodies automatically moving to the next machine, not due to purpose or instinct, but simply because it’s next on the list. Their autopilot brain selects the same weight they’ve pushed for the last few years, whilst they chat on their phones, talk to their buddies, browse through their iPod. No purpose, no spirit, no heart. Just lifeless masses moving from machine to machine. Their bodies, long adjusted to the routine they have setup, are at best staying the same, and at worst regressing and moving backwards.

How do you set yourself apart? First of all, set some time aside and figure out why you are working out, are you wanting to improve your health, improve your physique, get stronger, lift more weight or improve performance for sports? Whatever it may be, you need to set down some goals. They should be realistic and achievable but also be aimed high, shoot for the stars and even if you do fall short, you’ll be in the stratosphere anyway, so who cares? Remember when picking your goals, you can’t ride two horses with one ass. So intelligence and selectiveness are key here. Don’t pick too many goals and don’t pick goals that contradict each other.

Just as important is a time frame, this establishes accountability and an end. There’s no point saying you want to increase your squat to 400 and leave it at that, do you want to achieve this in 10 minutes, 10 weeks, 10 months or 10 years? Drop 10 pounds in 1 year? Not great. Drop 10 pounds in 12 weeks? Absolutely amazing. Deadlines can have an amazing effect on someone’s drive and motivation, remember those late nights in school/college finishing the report on the last day, do you think that if your professor told you to write that report and hand it in ‘whenever’ anyone would actually hand that report in? So why do that with your health? The results will never come.

Put in place checks, balances and a monitoring system to ensure that you are on track. Would you hop into your car and try to drive to a new unknown place without have a map/GPS? Would you turn a blind eye to the route markers and road signs because you assume you know you’re on the right road? What happens when you get lost? Can you adjust yourself to maintain the course? What measures are in place to keep you on track in your journey? Do you keep a notebook tracking your diets, workouts, sleep, progress? It may seem tedious, but takes all of a few seconds to write down,  little goes a long way here.

When you finally do accomplish these goals, do you have a reward in place? Now depending on who you are these may be intrinsic or extrinsic rewards. Your own sense of self achievement may be enough to drive you past this goal and fill you with that sense of elation. If not, then maybe an external motivator will work; a treat for yourself, a holiday, new clothes. Just make sure the reward isn’t too detrimental to your efforts! This reward will help you push yourself. Don’t allow yourself to receive the reward without achieving the goal. Don’t lie to yourself! This will setup a behaviour of positive reinforcement, much like giving a dog a treat for performing a trick, in time the external motivators won’t be needed and you will have established a behavioural pattern where you are your own motivation.

Finally, make sure your goals aren’t set in stone. As good as it is to have firm goals and never give up (that’s not the point here), you have to be adjustable when things happen and have contingency plans in place. Many things can happen that can throw a spanner in the works, injuries, sickness, work/school related, family issues, friends, relationships, the stress of life, travel, holidays etc. Whatever the case may be, minor or major setbacks you should never give up. Where there’s a will there’s always going to be a way. You may be setback a few weeks or even a couple of years, whatever the case, don’t let it stop what you’re trying to achieve. Read around, there’s bound to be someone out there that’s gone through someone simliar to you, or ask around someone out there is certain to be able to offer some words of advice. Water will always find a way to flow down hill. It will go over, under, around and even through solid rocks to get where it needs to be. Just like the water, you must find a way to push through any rocks that fall in your path.

Remember
  1. Set specific, achievable and high goals
  2. Put a time limit
  3. Have checks and balances
  4. Be adjustable
Persistence, Persistence. Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  Calvin Coolidge

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