What am I getting at here? Let’s say your goal is fat loss. You decide you’re going to run to help with your fat loss. You pick something like couch to 5k, and work diligently, building yourself up from a couch potato to a physical specimen about to crush your first 5k. You cross the finish line, get your medal, and post a picture of facebook that gets at least 14 likes. Congrats. Did you lose any weight?
I feel like the message got lost somewhere along the line
Runners and former fatties aren’t the only ones guilty of this, not by a longshot. Many lifters lose progress to their pet lifts and ego. Someone decides they want a big chest, so they decide to chase a 315lb bench press. They bust their ass, do their research on building a bigger bench, throw on chains and bands, and hit their bench goal, only to look in the mirror and still see the same bird chest they started with.
What is the ultimate falling out here? It’s the failure to understand that methods are just that: methods. Methods are not goals in and of themselves, they are simply the path toward the goal. Your metrics should always revolve around progress toward the goal, not progress in the method. If your goal is to lose fat, and your mile time is getting worse while your weight and waistline is dropping, you are doing something right. If you can build a 50” chest with a 135lb bench, congratulations, you have met your goal.
Ok, maybe we need to lay down a few ground rules
This necessitates a degree of brutal honesty with yourself. It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people say your goals are. I’ve known tons of guys that ultimately wanted to just look good, but were uncomfortable with admitting that vanity was their primary motivation, and kept chasing strength goals with the hope that they would accidentally look better. Not only did they not meet their real goal of looking better, but because their hearts were not actually in getting stronger, they spun their wheels for years and made minimal progress in that regard as well.
There is no shame in your goal, whatever it is. There is, however, a great deal of shame in failing to meet your goal.