The Sprint vs The Journey
The sprinter goes all out right out of the blocks. Everything is extreme. Extreme exercise program, extreme nutrition program, extreme calorie reduction, extreme restrictions! 110% at all times. These are the people that are training for the short term. Ignoring technique, mechanics, proper progression/regressions. It’s all go, go, GO! They want to get results and they want them yesterday.
The journeyman is all about the process, learning as they go through proper progressions. They make small changes in habits and stick to them over the long haul. They understand that they have many many years ahead of them and they would like to enjoy them healthily. Along with any fat loss or muscle building goals comes the goal of being able to move better and to not be miserable during it. They want to be able to enjoy life.
So which one are you? Are you the sprinter, training for the here and now? Are you the journeyman, training for life?
I would opt for the journeyman. You want to be able to do what you are doing now, 5, 10, 20 years from now…within reason. You should be able to do a push, pull, squat, and deadlift. Maybe it’s already hit that time that you dont even squat or deadlift because “it hurts your back” or “hurts your knees.” If that’s the case, it’s time to rethink your training program.
How often are you getting hurt? Nagging, chronic injuries? More acute, sudden injuries or pain? Again, maybe time to re-strategize.
Look, starting an exercise program is an awesome idea. Whether you are looking to build muscle, lose fat, gain strength, get faster, train for a particular sport, whatever; training is a great idea. There a a myriad of positives when it comes to exercise, but as with anything, we can get carried away. Whenever I see people start an exercise program, my first thought is “awesome, it’s great to see people moving and taking care of themselves.”
This leads me to my next point on exercise. Exercise is not punishment. That is exercising for the NOW, not for LIFE. The warm and fuzzy feelings I get from people starting a training program quickly disappears when you take a look at the approach to exercise that many take. Unfortunately for many, exercise has become synonymous with punishment, as in “I have to X amount of cardio to make up for the cake I ate” or “OMG I ate so bad this weekend I have to kill myself in the gym this week.” That negative connection to exercise is often why most people fail in their training endeavors. They make the mistake of viewing it as punishment, as something negative. Exercise is something you GET to do, something your ABLE to do. It provides multiple benefits, physically, emotionally and mentally.
What is your view on exercise? Or better yet, what constitutes a good workout for you?
For most, it’s about how big of an ass kicking they can get. They want to crawl out of the gym, be sore for days and leave a pile of sweat and/or puke on the ground.
Exercise should be challenging for sure, but if it has you to the point that you can’t function the next day or day after that, did you really accomplish anything. Now I’m not saying DOMS isn’t a thing or that you should never feel sore. That’s not it at all. Soreness is going to happen. It’s the bodies response to a new stimulus. But is that soreness the result of pushing you towards the adaptation you want or further away?
This obsession with being beaten down stems from the fact that there is a misunderstanding with how exercise benefits our body. We have this preconceived notion that in order to it to work, we should be sweaty, tired, and sore. But it’s not about how much you can sweat; you can just sit in a sauna for that. It’s not how tired it makes you or even about how sore you are the next couple of days. It comes down to how is it making you better. Is it bringing you closer to your goal or further away? Really, the biggest indicator of whether it’s working or not is if you’re seeing the results you want.
Part of the blame falls on all the fitsporation that you see on Instagram or Facebook. Things like:
With garbage like that, its no wonder we have a dysfunctional view of exercise. All that is BS. I don’t regret not working out. What I actually regret is not giving myself recovery days. As I’m typing this, I’m on a recovery week from 12 weeks of intense training with a ton of volume. I needed a deload week before I jump back to heavy training again. My body THANKS me for it. Pain is alerting you that something is wrong and you better fix it or suffer some serious shit. If you’re pushing through pain, you’re most certainly training for the now and not for life. So….
Are you exercising for now or for life?