Monday, October 14, 2013

About Training - Exercise Is Normal, Programming Success is a Skill

Most people workout with a short-term goal in mind. I like looking at health in a different way…
  • The goal is not to lose 40 pounds in the next 12 weeks. The goal is to regain your health for the rest of your life.
  • The goal is not to bench press 300 pounds. The goal is to be the guy who never misses a workout.
  • The goal is not to sacrifice everything to get your fastest time in next month’s race. The goal is to be faster next year than you are today. And faster two years from now than you will be next year.
Ignore the short-term results. If you commit to the long-term process, the results will come anyway.
Furthermore, stop acting like living a healthy life is a big deal. You can go to the gym every week. That can be “normal” for you. Not a sacrifice. Not an obligation. Normal.
What’s funny is that when you commit to being consistent over the long-term, you end up seeing remarkable results in the short-term. That’s the power of average speed.

Read more:

This is a great read.  I know of no one who would find themselves in the gym, or working out in some way, who would say after ten years "gee I wish I had not made time to be active."  Or, "wow, it sucks to still have strength, health and mobility."  The challenge is - what makes it possible for some but not for others to consistently train?  Some do the minimum necessary, some are putting hours into chasing their demons, and some can't get themselves to do either.  Why?

I think the work that best explains the difference is that of Tony Robbins.  A summary:  You do those things that your unconscious mind associates to either cessation of pain or experience of pleasure.  Your unconscious mind will owrk harder to avoid pain than to get pleasure.  Your unconscious mind will also ignore a lot of pain - think of fighters, marathoners, CrossFitters - to get pleasure if it has associated more pleasure to getting the workout done than it associates pain to the workout.

How can you use that information?  You can "work it" in two ways.  One, don't bite off too much when you start training.  If your first workout is over the top, it teaches the UCM "pain."  Two, give yourself a reward for doing something, anything, to get started.  The frustrated perfectionists fail here - nothing is enough for them to feel good about, thus everything is both pain and failure.  Three, ALWAYS give yourself credit for doing ANY workout, and give yourself more credit/reward for doing several in a week, or for going every other day, etc.

The reward can be a square of chocolate, a text of victory to your friend or coach, or it can be earning for yourself the right to do something you like doing.  Imagine the perception of working out you would have if every time to worked out you received $1000.  You may not have a $1000 to give yourself for doing a workout, but you can find something that would give an equivalent amount of pleasure.  If you are reading this and have an example, please post that in comments.  My example - what do pro and college athletes do after they make a play?  They have a ritual, an arm pump, a holstering the gun motion, a jump and point to the sky .... something that helps them anchor an attachment to the powerful, good feelings of success, something that becomes associated to the pleasure of success, and something that they can draw on when they have a set back (or set backs).

Is this just mind games? Yes, and no.  This is how successful people are successful.  They either have huge unconscious drivers that make lack of action very painful (not the ideal), or they learn to give themselves good feelings for taking the actions that lead to success.  What is maddening about this is how simple, easy, cheap and cool this is - and how difficult it is to learn and implement all day every day once you "see" how it works.  Like my coach, James Murphy told me years ago, "People overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years."

Imagine - what could you accomplish in ten years of working out for an hour 5 days a week?  5 of 128 hours training.  2500 hours of training over ten years - how would that change the "you" of ten years from now?  How much better would you feel eat and every day after your first month of that kind of activity?  Is there anything else you could do for 3-5 hours a week that would guarantee that you would feel that much better?  If your answer is the same as mine, let that desire for good feelings guide you to a 5-10 minute workout tomorrow, and a 10-12 minute workout the next day.  Work you way way to a 10 minute warmup and skill session, followed by a 10 minute high intensity (for you) workout.  CELEBRATE every workout no matter how pathetic you think you are doing - the only thing that matters is that you do something.

If you do something, you will eventually be doing something you are very proud of, if you do nothing because nothing is "enough".

If you do nothing you will never earn that right to feel proud of what you did.

Something is always better than nothing.

"Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today."  CELEBRATE every win, no matter how small.

1 comment:

  1. Paul,

    How accurate you are! It is funny how people can sometimes forget that the one thing that let's them succeed at a 5K is the exact same thing that allows them to feel good at succeeding at a marathon, is the exact same thing that allows them to feel good at a 50 or 100 mile race. The pleasure of putting one foot 12 inches in front of the other. Failure to celebrate the steps of the process is failure to sustain long term change! I agree, nothing is too small to celebrate!

    You asked for an example...when I was in college six foot tall and a whopping 240 lbs of beer and pizza, one night in a fit of anger made myself run 3 miles. I decided in that moment that I could run 3 miles every other day. I would reward myself by coming in after my run (always late at night) and have 1 really good beer, watch MASH reruns and be with friends. Every day for lunch I took the healthiest eating choices, drank 2 glasses of water first, and nibbled 2 delicious small chocolate chip cookies. No more volume beer or pizza for me.

    Fast forward 20 years and in one year, I ran a 50 mile race, 40 mile trail race, 100K race, 3 marathons, the Disney Goofy Challenge and a 100-mile ultra marathon. The thing is that when I bonked at mile 95 after over 24 hours of running and said, "I Quit" guess broke that pattern of thought so that I finished? Doing what I did from day #1. The one thing I mastered most...choosing to put one foot 12 inches in front of the other...and being able to be happy and celebrate that one tiny victory. (nothing is to small to celebrate mastering!)

    I don't say that to impress any of your readers but to impress upon them...I understand your mindset! If you would have told that fat, angry kid that in 20 years he could have those great experiences, I would have bet MY LIFE that it would never happen.

    The power of the human spirit; courage, drive, determination, engaging the will to be, do and have more is limitless!

    Thank you for the opportunity to share and continue to have a Powerful Day!