Fight Off Easy Fixes For Greater Patience
Fitness is a game of patience. It’s also a game where we are constantly tempted by bright shiny objects. We could always skip a few reps, cut short our full range of motion, force a less than ideal lift, or take drastic measures like hardcore diets to “speed up the process”.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in my young career, it’s that a bountiful amount of injuries or failures await those who have trouble waiting.
We have a lot of tangible examples where we can apply patience in the gym. It can be patience in your clean pull or patience for results. Either way, it is necessary to “wait” to get the desired outcome.
In a clean, it’s making sure to move into the right position to finish your 3rd pull so that we can have the right bar path to set us up for a successful lift. With our results, regardless if your goal is muscle gain, weight loss, increased cardio, strength gains, or a new skill, we want to remain patient.
This doesn’t mean we do not actively work towards our goals. Patience does not mean do nothing. It means we keep working on what works even when the going gets tough or quick fixes and shiny objects appear.
If our goal involves a look at our nutrition, a distraction might look like a diet pill or a new fad diet that “guarantees you results”. If your goal is strength gains, this might look like sacrificing form to get a heavier squat. If you're trying to get a new skill, a distraction might be attempting this new skill without going through the process of learning the fundamentals of learning the movement. This could look like going straight into trying to handstand walk out in the open without putting in work on the wall to develop shoulder strength or body awareness while upside down.
As apparent as it might seem that you shouldn’t take the quick fixes, we make these substitutes all the time. I’m guilty of them too (why I’m writing this post). Whether it's not sticking to tempos on lifts or cutting corners on our diet, we make all these trade offs out of a lack of patience: not just patience with the process but patience with ourselves as well.
Patience isn’t the lack of action. It’s choosing to act at a certain time, instead of now or even choosing to continue a certain action for longer than we would like. In the gym, this means that we don’t need to nor should we be lifting maximally or doing high straining movements all the time. It means that we actually choose to do those in a smart manner and less often.
In a way, patience turns our attention to the unsexy stuff in the gym. We start to see the value in the less fun, more basic and effective movements. Trading semi weekly high skill gymnastics(Muscles Ups) for daily skill and strength work(strict pull ups and drills). Trading heavy back squats and deadlifts every week for unilateral movements and accessory movements(split squats and squat band work).
The difference here is the foresight and seeing what makes you better long term. Choosing to feel and be great in the future over the short lived fun and “reward” of today, guarantees you longevity in life and in health.
I know about the struggle of being patient and learning how to utilize patience in a way that leads to success in the long term.
When working with clients, I like to focus on slowing down in the short term for massive gains in movement quality and fitness down the road. I do this by focusing on basic movement quality before high skill or heavier loads are added.
If you feel like you could benefit from some one on one sessions or personal coaching, shoot me a direct message, email(email@example.com), or reach out to the gym!
Cheers to a greater tomorrow because of greater patience and discipline today!