Showing Up

Jul 7th, 2012

Category: Fitness

Showing Up

Candace Hand Stand Push Up

Candace at last year’s 2011 NorCal Regional Competition

Hunter S. Thompson, an interesting character if ever there were one, has this famous quote attributed to him, "Half of life is just showing up." That quote is so common now to become a cliché, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Thompson, therefore it stays. That it is overused does not make it less true. Progress in the gym is additive. The work that was done yesterday provides the foundation for work done tomorrow.

I mentioned in various postings on this site that strength is built slowly. It also tends to erode more slowly when a layoff occurs than something like cardiovascular fitness. However, when you stop training, you start to get weaker. Getting weaker is the opposite of progress and we want to avoid it whenever possible.  Thus we return to the point. If you want to improve, you must first show up. Again and again. Whether you feel like it, or not.

Here’s a dirty little secret about strength training: almost any reasonably laid out program will make you stronger, especially over the short term. "Reasonably laid out" of course means that you are squatting below parallel on a regular basis and otherwise performing multi-joint barbell exercises. There are no magic programs to increase a trainee’s squat strength that do not involve hard work and persistence. Some programs might be more effective than others and some programs might be dependent upon the level of advancement of the athlete doing them. Whatever the case, the most perfectly conceived program will fall flat when a trainee misses workouts on a regular basis.

When a trainee starts missing several workouts, then they aren’t really training anymore. Training suggests that a goal is in mind. Work is being consistently done for a reason. Working out without a goal is just exercising. That’s not to say that exercising is a bad thing. Moving is better than not moving. However, we can do better. Training leads to progress. Progress results in increased capacity and provides motivation. None of this is possible without first showing up, even when it is easier to stay home. Train hard.