I’ve seen people jumping from program to program, looking for that magic formula to make them into the superhero they mainly want to view in the mirror, but for most, especially in the case of general fitness, that magic program isn’t out there, you’ll spend a gym lifetime looking, hopping from this to that, the flavour of the month in the latest fitness magazine, most won’t find it.
We’re all individuals, we all have different needs, strengths, weaknesses, imbalances, goals, things we love to do, hate to do, but what we all need, and should have in common is a strong head, heart and lungs. The program, for the most part, isn’t the problem.
Everything you do starts between your ears. There should be some thought process into every part of your training. Plan and assess everything with a clear objective.
Is what you’re doing today, this week, this month going to get you to where you want to be further down the line? Don’t just arbitrarily follow a program you’ve pulled off of the Internet or out of a magazine without thinking about where it is getting you.
Everything you do should have a purpose, short term, the here and now, mid term and thinking further down the line into the future.
Is what you’re doing making you stronger, more balanced, more powerful, fitter, leaner and so on?
If the answer is no, you’re not sure, or you feel you’re just standing still, you’re not improving, why are you still doing the same thing?
To quote Albert Einstein ‘Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.’
Don’t just think from a physical standpoint either. You may look at a workout and decide actually it isn’t what you need physically, but maybe it is one that puts you under some sort of psychological stress that will test you in other ways?
Something as simple as “Death by Burpee” or a 2000m row for time may not be the most beneficial thing to you physically, but the mental navigation of ‘can’t vs. won’t’ has great value.
The mind needs training just as hard as the body, actually harder in my opinion. Physical strength is worthless without a strong mind. How someone responds in a moment of psychological stress during a workout can tell you a lot about a person’s character. Are you willing to throw yourself on the fire to achieve your goals or do you shy away and quit at the first sign of doubt in your head? Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. If a workout doesn’t scare you from time to time, you’re self-limiting your potential.
Along with a strong mind, must come a strong heart full of passion for what you are trying to achieve. The more heart you give it, the more committed you are every time you walk into a training session, to your recovery outside of that, the better the chances of achieving a higher level of outcome. Everything is linked. Connect all the pieces of the puzzle and you’ll be winning.
Bind a strong mind and heart to a strong set of lungs, and you’ll start to become a solid all round athlete. Being strong and powerful is great, but if your interests are in general fitness, then you have to have a strong set of lungs to go with it. You need to breathe often, and hard. Don’t just live inside the protective bubble of your comfort zone doing the things you only enjoy. Build some real genuine horsepower. To repeat an opinion I’ve said before, there is little worth in having the frame of an Austin Martin if you have the engine of a beat up old Morris Minor.
The overall point - Think everything through, plan with a purpose, don’t just flit from program to program without giving it your all, build a strong mind, grow a relentless work ethic, give everything plenty of heart and build a set of strong lungs, and you won’t go far wrong in your pursuit of being an all round strong and fit individual.
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