As I’ve written in the past, I’ve been lifting weights and performing some manner of exercise regularly since I was 14, and as I near my 30th birthday, I thought it fitting to list some of the things that I’ve come to accept as I get older. These are things that, when I first started training, I firmly disagreed with and fought, but as time went on, I came to see the light. In turn, I imagine that the audience that will benefit the most from them will not internalize them (much like I did not), but at least those that share my experiences can also share a laugh with me.
"Psh, so what that you can turn your skin blue and see into my soul, what could you POSSIBLY know?"
-“Someone else’s lack of success does not invalidate my own.” I’ve been posting on forums since I was 16, and I’ve been involved in huge, multi-day flame wars arguing about exercise methodology. One of the biggest sins anyone could ever commit against me was to claim that my methods “don’t work”. If someone dared to tell me that Westside Barbell, 20 Rep Squats, Pavel’s 3-5, or any other program I had success with did not work for them, it was on. Insults, slurs, questioning of masculinity, all manner of accusations and innuendo, nothing was sacred, because war had just been declared.
Why was I this stupid?
As I get older, I realize that it doesn’t matter if something doesn’t work for someone else: it only needs to work for me. Yeah, maybe if I wanted to get into personal training or coaching it would be super awesome for me to have a portfolio of the most effective programs for the largest populace readily available, but since I only train for me, it only needs to work for me. If someone else is unable to succeed with my methods, that sucks for that person, and hopefully they can figure out what works for them, but as long as I am progressing, I’ve got nothing to worry about.
-“Your body doesn’t know what ‘Wednesday’ is.” When I first started training, everything was incredibly regimented and structured. I had to lift weights Mon, Wed and Fri, and do martial arts Tues, Thurs, Sat, and Sun was a long run day, and if I ever missed ANY training sessions my whole week was “ruined” and I could feel my “gains” slipping away.
"Crap, I missed my Saturday Squat workout!"
This is just something incredibly common with beginners, and the biggest thing holding these people back is that they are handcuffed by the 7 day week. The 7 day week is entirely a human construct, not something the body knows how to operate on. We built it because it was convenient for a Gregorian calendar, but in no way does it dictate ideal training conditions. Once I got a job where the schedule was essential random and everyday was subject to change, I learned that, as long as I got in a training session whenever I could, I’d continue to get stronger. Some weeks, I’d cram in 4 lifting sessions back to back because it was when I could, and other times I’d be lucky to get in 1 lifting session within a 2 week span, but as long as I was consistently making the effort to train, I continued to grow.
The other thing I learned was about flexibility of a plan in totality. When I was a rank beginner, if my plan was to bench on Mon, squat on Wed, and deadlift on Fri, and I missed my Wed workout, I would just deadlift on Fri and not squat that week. I eventually learned how to just carry the workout forward, such that I would now be squatting on Fri, deadlifting on Mon, and benching on Wed. You have to break out of your Rainmanesque schedule and just keep training what you need to train. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll most likely “get back on schedule” anyway.