You’ve heard it a hundred different ways before from who knows how many people. You’ve got to…
- outperform your last performance.
- increase your lifts by 5% each week.
- set a new personal record every time you train (e.g., #preveryday).
- consistently progress to more challenging tasks.
- do more sets, reps, or exercises each workout – even if only just one more rep.
- train harder, faster, or dare I say, better – every single day.
And when it comes to fitness training or strength and conditioning, that’s just the way that the Kaizen principle has been applied – Kaizen being a Japanese term that refers to improvement. But more specifically, Kaizen is often associated with the lifestyle practice of continuous improvement, which is a key principle of success. And if you’re at all interested in fitness or strength, then applying the Kaizen principle will be absolutely necessary – whether you’re familiar with the term or not. Because you and I can’t get around the principles of overload and progression, which requires that we consistently seek to adapt to greater demands in order to increase or maintain our fitness results.
But here’s the thing, if you really think that you’re going to add weight to the bar every single week or actually set a new personal record every time you train, and do this for the long-term, then you couldn’t be more wrong. And I wouldn’t want to disappoint you and find out later that you threw in the towel because you thought you were a failure when you didn’t measure up to your ambitious expectations.
I mean, think about it. If you added just 5 lbs to the bar every single week – in any given exercise – then in just one year, you’d be lifting 250+ pounds more in that lift. And in four years, you’d be lifting 1,000 pounds more. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been training since I was eleven years old, and my best lifts are still only three digits long. And let’s just say that I can only add several pounds at a time to my lifts for so long before my progress starts to peter out. And these days, that usually happens in a matter of weeks – not months.
And if you’re not a weightlifter, then let’s just say that you set a new PR in some bodyweight exercise such as pushups or pull-ups every time you train. And maybe you only add one repetition to your max per workout. Do you really think you’ll be doing 100+ pull-ups in one set after a year or so? I think not, but all the power to you if you’d like to try.
Now, please don’t take this the wrong way and think I’m trying to discourage you because I’m not. And I’m not saying that achieving incredible things isn’t possible, but I am saying that the road to success in fitness or athletics is rarely hunky-dory and straightforward. In fact, this meme sums up the process quite well.
And that’s usually the way things go. You’ll have ups and downs. Good workouts and not-so-good workouts. Maybe even a few “I shouldn’t have even done that” workouts. You might set a huge PR one day, and the next be dragging your feet, barely able to salvage any semblance of a workout.
Continue reading The One Thing They Didn’t Tell You About Kaizen and Fitness Training
Today, I’m going to share 15 things that 15 years of fitness has taught me about what really matters when it comes to physical training, among other things. I think that this will be a nice change from the endless argumentation and bickering over mostly insignificant or otherwise inconsequential issues that is so rampant in the realm of health, fitness, and weight loss.
Now, some of these points may appear overly simplistic, but don’t overlook the immense value of the hidden truths they contain. If we could only internalize, practice, and embody these ideas to the point of forming a new identity, we would amaze ourselves at what we can achieve.
So, without further adieu, here are 15 things that really matter when it comes to your health, fitness, and quality of life.
What doesn’t matter: how many pushups, pull-ups, or sit-ups (etc.) you can do.
What DOES matter: that you push yourself every time you train to do and be better.
What doesn’t matter: whether you can qualify for the Boston marathon, or run a marathon at all.
What DOES matter: that you get out there and run because you want to and because you can. Period.
Continue reading 15 Lessons I’ve Learned From 15+ Years of Fitness About What Really MATTERS (Do This Stuff to Succeed)
I’ll never look at a turkey the same way again, or any other fowl for that matter.
You see, this past summer, a friend of mine invited me to attend a local chicken processing workshop with him, where we would be taught how to process a live chicken into chicken meat – from A to Z – killing, plucking, cleaning, you name it. I was quick to accept because it has always been an interest of mine to know how food gets from the farm to my plate. It’s also something I want my children to understand someday – that food doesn’t just magically appear on grocery store shelves – that death is required so that we may live.
Now, although I’ve eaten many-a-chicken before, I’ve never had to process a chicken until this class. So, I showed up not knowing what to expect, except that we would be getting our hands dirty. Needless to say, this would be an interesting experience for the whole group.
Continue reading Why I’m Especially Thankful for Turkey This Year
So, you’re on your way to the Moscow subway, which is obviously where you go every morning (who doesn’t?). You’re on time as usual. But today, you notice a new, snazzy machine resting beside the normal ticket machines. It turns out that this special machine offers subway tickets just like the others do, but it doesn’t deal in rubles. In fact, it does not accept any money for payment at all. Instead, the only currency it accepts is exercise, or more specifically, squats.
Think I’m crazy? Well, this is actually real. A Russian organization called Olympic Change installed these special ticket machines in Moscow subway stations to promote the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The machines are equipped with a camera, a screen, and a platform to help you count your reps. And after you finish your 30th repetition, out pops your ticket. And apparently, this machine can also tell if you’re cheating, too. You can see it in action in the video below.
Note: If you can’t read Russian, make sure the Captions feature is enabled in the Youtube player (ie CC button).
Now, maybe it’s just the peppy music, but I think I might be warming up to this kind of thing. But if I really think about it, I guess I have mixed feelings.
Continue reading Free Subway Tickets For Exercising: Good or Bad Idea?
I used to tell people that they are physically capable of performing 10X more total work than they thought they could. But apparently, I was wrong! Mark Divine, founder of www.navyseals.com and SEALFIT explains that you are capable of at least 20 times more than what you think you are. And I’d imagine he’s the type of person who would actually know, having been an active duty Navy SEAL for nine years and a reserve for over a decade. This is someone who has put his limits to the test every day for a long time.
And get this. He believes in you, too. But you have to change your beliefs if you want to tap into that potential. As is the case with many forms of change, it takes a shift in your perspective in order to start making that change a reality. So, if you’d like to challenge your perspective today, then watch this short video, especially if you want to start exploring your true potential – whether in your fitness training or other life pursuits.
Continue reading You Are Capable of 20X Your Perceived Potential