Friday, March 26, 2010

Work Hard Play Hard



"Work hard, play hard" is a statement I can't stand as much as "it is what it is." It's one of those statements that really tells me nothing but sounds good to say (to the person saying it not the person hearing it.)

People always ask me, "can I get to my goals?", "are they do-able?", "will it take me a long time?" What I tell people is, getting to your goals is not a big deal. You can't put it on some pedestal. It's not even that hard. If you do the right things at the right time and approach it scientifically you will just get there. It's not some miracle. You just have to do the things to get you there. When you put together a bike, its not a big deal or a miracle. You just have to go and put it together, and you know the outcome will eventually happen because it comes with instructions.

Our body doesn't necessarily come with an instruction book, but that doesn't mean an instruction book doesn't exist. It does and people use it all the time, the scientific evidence based approach to fitness. When clients ask me how long it will take, I tell them it won't take too long at all as long as they do the work. When clients complain about an exercise, I tell them this exercise is no big deal. It's not hard work, you're not doing more than you can do, it's just work so let's not make it anymore than it really is. You're putting one piece of the puzzle together.

It's only hard work when you feel like there's something better you could be doing with your time, or you just hate it. BUT once you feel like there is nothing better you could be doing with your time, that you enjoy it, then it's no longer hard work and it's now become a lifestyle change. You have made the right lifestyle choice that guarantees your success. It's what separates the winners from the losers. And only when it becomes a lifestyle change does it become easy. All it means when sometime tells me they work hard and play hard is that they hate their work and they have to play harder to compensate. I love my work and never consider it hard.

I trained martial arts twice yesterday, one block for 2 hours, one block for 3. Would it make other people crumble? Yes. Did I consider it hard work? No because I enjoy it, it's a lifestyle choice I've made.

The thing I get confused about the most is when a person who isn't even burned out quits on an exercise just because they hate it. In all my years of sports and martial arts I've never seen a coach assign an exercise and an athlete quit on it unless they just collapse. But otherwise we never had an opinion about what we were doing because we wanted to be there, because we ultimately want to win. Exercises should be dynamic but if the "fun factor" becomes a primary goal and not a secondary, then you will have a funny looking body. There's too much emphasis on something being fun, too much emphasis on "feeling it."

People come into the gym with some preconceived idea that they should always "feel it" where they think they should feel it. The most important things in an exercise are:

Can you do it properly with no dysfunction.
Can you do it with proper posture.
Are you being challenged.
Is it safe.
Is there any pain.

These are the top concerns because feeling it is just superficial, it tells us a little about the muscle (that you obviously don't feel something in a muscle that's underdeveloped and you won't for a while until it develops more) but nothing about the nervous system. Throw all those preconceived notions out of your head.

At the end of the day, you may dislike it, you may have a lot of questions about what you're doing, you may have your doubts, all the negative thoughts and preconceived ideas that will bring you down. I can go on and on to try to reason with someone rationally but sometimes none of that works as well as telling someone to just "DO THE DAMN THING!"
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