Monday, December 7, 2009

The Success of Personal Trainers and All Out Effort


Not all of us were born with the kind of genetics where we can eat whatever we want, hit the gym infrequently, and still look great and be an amazing athlete. Most of us have to work at it. But there is a myth around most health clubs and water coolers that physical fitness is based on some length of time one puts into working out or some measure of distance one runs. This is a common mistake. It's assuming working long is working hard. A store owner who puts in 12 hours at the store may think they work harder then their part time employee who works 5 hours a day, and they may even think their employee is lazy because they count all the times their employee is doing nothing. Now if the store owner is sitting at the register all day while the employee is the one who has to shelve and load and lift, of course the employee needs more rest and even if the employee only did 1 hour of actual constant work, that 1 hour would still have a higher energy output level than the store owner who sat in one spot for 12 hours. It's hard work, it's why the owner doesn't want to do it and hires someone else to do it!

When I was in school I never studied for weeks or crammed or shut my life down for midterms or finals. I never understood how one could rationalize a hundred hours of study for a test that had a 2 hour time limit. It's like taking a month of luggage on a one day trip. I did the only rational thing, I studied around 2-4 hours for a 2 hour test. I was Dean's list from freshman year to graduation and graduated with Suma Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. That was my reward not for the length of time I did something, but the amount of effort I put into something when I did do it. I guarantee no one studied as hard as I did in any moment of their week or month long cramming. Now of course there are exceptions in post grad studies or to get into a post grad program, but those tests usually take days not hours.

So I hope you are starting to see my point. No matter how many miles you jog, or how many hours you put in at a sweaty aerobics class, it probably will never match the effort it takes to do 10 pull ups even though that only takes a few moments. In fact most people who can jog a long distance or finish an hour long sweat class cannot do 10 pull ups. Whereas most people who can do 10 pull ups can easily jog a long distance or finish a sweat class without breaking a sweat! It is not a 2 way street here. Effort can make up for lack of time, but time cannot make up for lack of effort. 20 hours of a terrible golf swing will never beat 1 hour of perfect golf swings. Perfect practice makes perfect and it's hard to do anything perfect for a long period of time.

The science of physical fitness is based on doing the things that induce the greatest change, with the greatest amount of effort, to gain the greatest results. Doing the things that cause the least change, and putting all one's time into it, and expecting great results is insanity! Success comes before work only in the dictionary.

The science of physically improving yourself is out there. There is no reason people should be wasting all their time and not seeing and (more importantly) feeling any results. There is no more reason to blame the method, only the effort. Now what would happen if for the first time in your life you tried with all out effort? But every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. The strategy is simple. MAXIMIZE EFFORTS TO MAXIMIZE GAINS.

No one can exert that kind of effort on their own, not even our greatest athletes. Otherwise we would have a whole industry of self trained Olympians. So even if our best and brightest need trainers, what about those of us who are in pretty poor shape? Don't they need personal trainers even more? Even personal trainers hire personal trainers. I know, I have a whole set of trainers that help me with different things, but with that team and support nothing is impossible.

So let me ask you this:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
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