Train to Win, Eat to Lose

A Health and Fitness Blog

Failure: The Pathway to Success

“Failure”.

This one little word has a such negative connotation attached to it, yet in the world of strength training it’s meaning is quite positive and powerful. In my day to day work as a personal trainer it is not uncommon to hear a client say that they “don’t like to fail”. The idea that they can no longer continue an exercise due to muscular exhaustion is something that discourages them and leaves them feeling quite negative.

In regard to strength training it is important to desensitize yourself from what you have come to generally think of the word “failure” to represent, and think of it as what it actually is…a pathway to success. C.S. Lewis has a great quote: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement”. I am pretty sure he didn’t specifically have strength training in mind when he said this, but I think it applies beautifully.

In strength training you must safely and effectively load the muscles through a pain free range of motion to the point of muscular exhaustion, i.e., the inability to move the weight even another inch with safe and proper form (I will leave the topic of the time frame/number of repetitions that this needs to happen in for another discussion). The goal is to always try for one more repetition (again, with safe and proper form) even if you do not think you can. If you complete that repetition you MUST try again, always working for even just one more inch. This is how you send the signal to your body to make those muscle fibers stronger and to start building additional muscle fibers. If you were to approach strength training with idea that success would be to not fail, that you should always be able to continue for extended periods of time, you would never illicit the response you need from your body to achieve all the wonderful benefits of strength training.

So remember, in strength training failure is by no means a sign of weakness. It is in fact a sign of strength, and of more strength to come.

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December 15, 2009 Posted by | Strength Training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Positive To See Positive Results

“Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

This wonderful quote from Eckhart Tolle can be applied to every facet of a person’s life.  After reading this quote yesterday, I started thinking about it application to health and fitness.

When someone begins exercising, they will normally do so with certain goals in mind.  It might be to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle, prepare for an athletic event, or to simply feel better.  Whatever the goal(s) may be, it can be an extremely challenging and uphill battle if you are surrounded by a cloud of negativity that follows you everywhere.  Achieving your goal(s) might be something that not only never get accomplished, or if they do, may never be realized.  Let me give you an example…

I was recently training a client over a 6 month period.  The goals of this individual were to reduce body fat, increase lean body mass, gain strength, and feel better overall.  From the very beginning it was quite obvious that this was an extremely negative person.  That being said, I welcomed the challenge of working through this negativity and helping this person achieve all of their desired goals.

Whether I offered positive reinforcement, advice, insight, or even good news that they were starting to achieve these goals, I was met with more resistance and more negativity every step of the way.  Despite all of this, my client still made the proper nutritional changes and showed up consistently to put forth a strong effort in their workouts. This resulted in some pretty amazing achievements.

At the end of 6 months of training, my client had dropped from 245 pounds to 237 pounds.  They increased their Lean Body Mass from 165 pounds to 186 pounds, decreased Body Fat from 80 pounds to 51 pounds (the drop of only 8 pounds of body weight is explained by the increase in lean muscle), and their Body Fat Percentage went from 33% to to 22%.  Keep in mind that in order to accomplish this, there had to be major changes to their eating habits.  In addition, their strength increased substantially based on the charting.  These are all spectacular results by any standards.

Yet despite all of this, my client felt overwhelmingly negative.  In their mind, they still were not seeing results and were not happy. They did not feel stronger, healthier, leaner, or even better in general.  All they felt was the feeling of negativity.  I could literally feel the negative energy emanating from them.

The inability of this person to acknowledge the good in their life, the abundance they already had, the amazing results they had achieved, shrouded them in a cloud of negativity that they simply could not see through.  When all was said in done, the client decided to take some time off in the hopes of (in their words) gaining some perspective and maybe realizing the results they had achieved.  It is my belief that this client will never return.  The perspective they are looking for is already within them.

You must be positive to see positive results.  Otherwise, you might be missing out on what is already right in front of you.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | Personal Observations/Reflections | , , , , , | 2 Comments