Last week’s Transmission looked at three lessons the iron teaches on self-reliance, excuses, and discipline. It doesn’t end there. In its own ways, the iron teaches lessons that touch every corner of life. Here are four more lessons the barbell is teaching.
A barbell provides resistance. Through continuing to conquer the challenges of the iron, one begins to realize that only through overcoming challenge will one grow. A barbell that does not get heavier does not forge further strength. Continued strain against the weight forces the mind and body to either strengthen and overcome or get crushed.
Some avoid challenges in favor of comforts and content; however, there are no gains made in comfort – there is no drive for anything to change. Change is prompted by discomfort and is accomplished by the overcoming to regain balance. The Initiated individual understands this and continually seeks challenge. By continuing to seek out the challenges just as they continue to put plates onto the bar, one knows that they are growing and making progress toward a goal. Sore muscles are a reminder of the work put in just as the soreness and weariness that follows a challenge overcome signifies growth and progress made.
Strength takes commitment and dedication; but it also just takes time. It does not come quickly nor easily. The path to the end is not a straight line. Career, stress, injury, etc. all impact performance in the gym and are a part of the game that must be endured. How one makes and protects the time to train and recover will correlate to their progress in the gym.
In today’s age of instant gratification and participation trophies, many don’t know failure. Many expect their successes to come faster than what may be reasonable. They expect some reward for simply showing up. There is no drive to put in the time needed to come out ahead. Strength does not play by these rules and neither does any other meaningful pursuit – there are no shortcuts. Repetition after repetition, session after session, one must approach challenges with intensity and purpose to cut one’s teeth and develop the skills needed to win.
Gaining strength requires commitment to and belief in a plan of action. Commitment to a training block is needed to run the block through to the end and determine the validity or effectiveness of the block through analyzing results. If continually looking for the next best program or jumping from one training ideology to another, gains will be stunted and one will not be able to learn what does and does not work for them.
This is true of all things. If one continuously jumps from one pursuit to another, they are not allowing sufficient time to see one course of action through to the end. There is value missed – one will never learn how to close on a pursuit. There will remain some level of unfinished business if one does not commit to seeing things through to the end.
Stay after the weights long enough and one will eventually reach a level of strength at which the current weights lifted were unimaginable when first starting. As one has learned more about how to train, eat, sleep, lift, warm up, etc., they will begin to set their sights on higher weights – weights that were not in the realm of reality when first starting. Perspective shifts as experience is gained and ignorance wanes.
Any new pursuit carries a learning curve. Through lifting one begins to understand that focused effort, education, and application will result in progress. One begins to gain clarity through the challenges they have overcome. This clarity builds with strength, as confidence and ability continue to build.
The barbell’s power is in its simplicity. With no purpose other than existing, it manages to command respect from those who understand its language. It tests and builds into strengths the same weaknesses it exposes.
The iron shows a lifter what they choose to seek.
Seek the truth.
Yours in strength,
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