It’s pretty easy to give up on the gym. Some people get frustrated if they don’t see gains immediately. Other people come back after a long layoff, take on too much, and burn out fast.
Most of the time, the best results come from simply sticking with it. Training is hard. It makes you sore. It hurts your feelings. But it’s always worth it when you see results, and results come from consistency. It’s like the old adage says: “success consists of getting up one more time than you fail.” And as it happens, we have a little success story that’ll hopefully inspire you to do a little more sticking with it of your own!
Meet Matt. About 4 months ago, Matt walked into the gym weighing 260lbs. He’s 20 years old, and has no athletic background whatsoever. By that I mean he couldn’t do a pull-up or a push-up. He couldn’t air squat. He couldn’t jump rope. He was severely out of shape, to say the least. We had him deadlifting a 16kg kettlebell for 10 reps and it was kicking his butt. On his first visit to the gym, he christened the puke bucket after a single 500m row.
It’s a difficult thing to participate in an activity that, frankly, you’re really bad at. You’re forced to confront your weaknesses, and it takes some cahones to be willing to do that. Matt has complained through every rep of every workout. Nonetheless, he’s shown up consistently 2 to 3 times per week for the last 4 months.
His latest weigh-in was 205lbs. That’s 55lbs lost in a mere 4 months, for those of you too lazy to do the math.
The remarkable thing is that Matt hasn’t come close to being a poster child for diet and exercise. His main dietary change involved eliminating the copious amounts of soda he was consuming and cutting down on some of the bread and pasta he was eating. Two big changes but a far cry from going Paleo or measuring his blocks. He mostly eats meat covered in various kinds of sugar sauce. We harp on him constantly about eating vegetables and fruit, but our success is limited.
Yet Matt’s workouts have improved noticeably. No, he’s not a firebreather. No, he doesn’t “crush” the workouts. He still can’t do a pull-up. He can air squat, but his form breaks down pretty rapidly during workouts. But he puts up with our constant yelling about squatting deeper and incessant urgings to eat fruits and veggies. He can now get through a 20 minute workout without throwing up. He can deadlift 225lbs. He can work 100 times harder than when he first walked in the door. He can wear shirts that haven’t fit him since high school.
Matt’s a great kid and we’re immensely proud of him. So many people are afraid of CrossFit and can list dozens of reasons why they “can’t” do it: “it’s too hard”, “eating Paleo or Zone is too time consuming”, “the exercises look too challenging”, or “handstand push-ups are impossible.” Matt is a shining example that the main thing you need to do to get results is show up.
Matt shows up, and that’s what’s important. So the next time you think of skipping a day or giving up, remember that results come from sticking with it!
Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.