MPH will be closed from Saturday, July 3 through Monday, July 5 for the Fourth of July holiday. We will resume a normal workout schedule on Tuesday, July 6.
For Time: Growth of an Effort-biased Program
Time has a way, among others, of rearranging, then redefining an otherwise completely understandable inquiry. Three weeks ago, ours were simple questions, and yours were good responses; never mind ones we have addressed at least once—obtainable with short use of this site’s “Search” function.
Standard answers to those inquiries are “coachability” and teaching as a means to learn and develop. In the case of the former, fast, precise processing and application of the information we provide is necessary for success, whether you receive this data during the mid-workout chaos, or during a quieter, more intelligible interaction after the dust settles. You also improve understanding and performance when you teach, guide and support each other. This occurs first through careful observational techniques, then by using what you have learned to provide clear, useful cues to other athletes on the workout floor. In the end, our instruction and your personal experiences are best used together to breed consistency and achievement. However, these are not the things that now concern us, nor are they foundational to success.
This conversation began because we often receive questions and hear concerns from athletes regarding their progress. These range from hopes of improving pull-ups, to desires of hastening weight loss (and weight gain), to fears of beginning our program or recovering from major surgery, to name a few. We welcome all of them and often leave the interested with tangible takeaways like nutritional recommendations, and pre- and rehabilitative programs. However, it occurred to us recently that so much of what we demand from our lives and our fitness is driven by what we lack—the romance of what might be, instead of the authenticity of what is.
We can only travel from this moment, this time, as incomplete or undesirable as it may sometimes be. Our quality of fitness takes just moments to demonstrate progress, but months and years to show flashes of success. There are no shortcuts, and no promises that the actions we take during training will be impressive, but they will always be productive. Many of us fail well before those realizations, though—well before considering our commitment to the intensity of any hour. There is an enormous, needless diversion to asking questions like, “Is this enough work?”, “Should I do more?”, and “Don’t I need more strength/cardio capacity (first)?” The diseases of hyperactivity and over-planning, like inaction, contaminate our ability to simply be where we are. We ask bottomless questions about who we are, and sometimes package answers with numbers: our heaviest deadlift, maximum pull-ups, “Fran” score, etc. But, we cannot be defined by these metrics—these are achievements, not labels, and they only last an instant in time, anyway. The drive to define ourselves in any manner is just ego, and it is, indeed, ego versus evolution each day in here.
Every workout, we receive new challenges: different exercises, a different group of people or a coach, perhaps a different set of circumstances—amount and quality of sleep, food, stress. We can speak very globally about how to improve these things, and even about adding accessory work, but not at the expense of the energy that we would otherwise spend being present and pushing for the one pure effort in every moment. Progress will occur when we allow it to, beginning and ending by making the most of opportunities gifted to us in every workout.
This, admittedly, is all just another way of saying…simplify, capitalize. There is fitness in everything, and more is not often better. Ours is an unpretentious, effective and proven formula: embrace the community of athletes and the coaching provided each workout, emphasize the quality of each movement, and always work with intensity. Temporally, each day’s efforts will look different on paper, but the dedication to giving everything our greatest self must always remain the same. We call this the “best hour of the day” because during this time we can ask extraordinary things of our minds and bodies, and then we can fight like hell to try to get them. At the same time, we must be patient and allow time for progress to occur. We might do this for a glint of prospective happiness, but we really should do this because at any second, when we reject everything else but the task at hand, what is directly in front of us, we truly are ourselves. 3, 2, 1, go.
Rest—for the next three days.