"But, often when I dig a little deeper, it is discovered that the destination was created to justify the journey."
(Sindre @ 100kg)
A lot of people in fitness have a bit of a binary mind when it comes to training. It is all or nothing. They feel that if they want to progress, they need to train like an olympian and go “all-in”. This is often the mindset of folks with longer training histories, who are starting to see the progression of their #’s is starting to crawl. It is also a mindset observable with beginners who want to skip being a beginner and train like an animal to fast-forward their progress. This “all in” mindset believes that the other side of going all in is lame, complacent, not challenging oneself, and acceptance of where one is at. This is non-goal having is for the weak, meek, or those who just don’t want to be great.
I challenge this thinking now, because I used to be an “all-in at all costs” kind of guy then.
If you are someone who has been training consistently (minimum 3x/week for 46 weeks per year) for 8+ years (loose estimate), but are not a professional athlete, things start to change. Chances are that as you have aged, and gotten deeper into your career and/or family life, you find that you can’t train as much as you used to. But the problem is that since you have already put in so much time, if you actually want to hit some new personal records, you actually likely have to train even more and/or more intensely than you used to. This is because as our training age increases, your rate of adaptation and change decreases. In other words, even though your training may be at its peak in terms of volume/intensity in your 6th year of training, you most likely did not see anywhere near the rate of change that you did in your first couple years. This is normal, and a reality of a long career of lifting.
But where does that leave this unfortunate person? They have lived a life focused on progressing lifting numbers for many years, but come to a place in life where they realize that they are no longer able to keep progressing due to the time it takes to train at that level. For some, this brings them to a rather sad point in their fitness journey….
"If I can’t keep getting stronger/better, what is the point?”
I have heard these words verbatim before. For some, merely maintaining one’s fitness or strength feels like failure. Why keep driving if we can’t keep our foot slammed down onto the gas pedal? That’s the funnest way to drive and quickest way to get anywhere.
(Pro tip: You also run out of gas sooner)
I have quite a few clients who once fell into this category, and that is how and why they came to me for coaching and guidance. My answer to their queries of “what to do next” usually involves two words....
Why and Process
When someone can no longer keep driving at full-speed, and anything less feels pointless, I like to ask that person why they were driving in the first place. Sometimes its because they had to get somewhere (win something or prove something) for whatever reason, and that is fine. However, if they were only training to achieve something, then once that thing is achieved, continuing to train may become a passionless waste of time.
But, often when I dig a little deeper, it is discovered that the destination was created to justify the journey. What I mean by this, is that it is not uncommon for people to really like the process of training, but feel they need to justify their love of training by attaching a goal to it.
Well, what if we do something blasphemous and just remove the goal/challenge. Can we not train simply because we enjoy it in and of itself? Now if we do so, then we may have two distinct type of people training in our imagined gym. Neither is right or wrong, but one may be better for 99% of the population.
Type A (achievement focused)- "I am training because I want to achieve x,y,z, or become x,y,z."
Type P (process focused)- "I am training because I enjoy it, and the byproducts of doing something I enjoy are x,y,z, and it still allows me to become x,y,z."
Now, these two have different motivations for training, but it has been my experience that… Type P people actually end up continuing to experience gains and enjoy their training a lot more. The Type A people will achieve some things surely, but since they are training only to get somewhere, the beauty of the process is often lost to eyes blinded by their end goal.
The remote coaching client in the video above was Type A when we first met. Intimidatingly so. But, unfortunately his car (body) ran out of gas (adrenal fatigue) as he had had his foot on the gas for too long. He had to decide what was next for him. Luckily, this beast was actually more of a Type P than one would have guessed. Now he trains because he enjoys it (clearly, listen to that laugh), and still experiences a HIGH level of fitness. He is also playing around with a snatch weight that his Type A self used to struggle to lift when it was something that had to be done. Additionally, since his foot is no longer so heavily stuck on the gas pedal, he has made major gains in life (noticeable across an ocean) by continuing to be a great father, husband, and dedicated leader of a great community at his Crossfit box in Norway.
Do you love it? If you really do, then just enjoy the drive, you don’t need to even be going anywhere. Leave a #typep in the comments if that sounds like you.