Thursday, July 5, 2012

Being Comfortable

I was joking with one of my friends the other day, and were talking about where training is going, the latest trends and gimmicks and what really works and what doesn't and at one point I just started laughing myself silly.
Why was I laughing? Because I was picturing an athlete standing on one leg, holding a balloon in his hand. It would be a perfect exercise for prehab/rehab/core/water bottle carrying/ rotator cuff firing /balance and symmetry/posterior chain/glycogen super compensation/low carb...It would do it all! Really, I was saying that that is the way the strength world is going, what it is really coming to.There is a groundswell of "hardcoreness"out there, especially among folks who have to results right away( football, military,powerlifters) , but for athletes or for the lay public who just search for the "new" thing, its just easier to do what is, well, what is COMFORTABLE. and that is what it is really all about, isn't it? People are trying to find ways that make training less uncomfortable.

Its like diet. I hate to break it to you, but you will not lose an appreciable amount of weight without ever being hungry. The easiest way to do it(without getting into macro nutrient breakdowns) is to eat very little, and go to bed hungry every night. Not ideal, but it works. But have you ever read a diet book that tells you that you may be hungry? That it's a by product of losing weight? Only BodyOpus comes to mind for me, and maybe the Radical Diet . But diet books for the general public never say anything about hunger, that deep  gnawing in your gut that signals that the diet is working, that you will wake up in the morning looking better than the day before. Why? because they wouldn't sell a copy. Its uncomfortable to be hungry. My old boss, Rob Wagner,was approached by an athlete one time about losing weight, and Wagner, never one to mince words, said, "No, you can't do it." "Why?" the kid asked. "Because you won't be able to take the hunger", answered Wagner.

It is the same with training. You want to be strong? I'm talking strong, 700lb deadlifts, 405lb benches and 800 pound squats strong. You will have to go through training sessions where you will feel like your head is going to explode, calluses will rip from your hands and you will have trouble walking up stairs after some sessions. All of this stuff can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary, absolutely necessary. Nobody ever said that before to you? Its the truth. Be wary of snake oil salesmen who are touting an exercise that promises easy gains without the work. It doesn't exist.

And if you are an athlete, a weekend tennis player, a squash player, a fencer, a triathlete, you will get to where you want to be faster by choosing tough, hard to do exercises rather than easy, fancy ones. Yup, that means squats, cleans, deadlifts, presses, chins, dips, benches, rows and such. All of those exercise are , at some point when you are really pushing, uncomfortable. But instead of shying away from how that bar feels when it is on your back or when your shins are bleeding from a deadlift, welcome it, dig into it, love it. Because those feelings are bringing you to a place that you need to be in your training, and by being uncomfortable, are teaching you much more than any easy- to- learn gimmick exercise will ever do.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.