We are always in such a hurry for everything.
We get our coffee in a drive through, we have the world's information at our fingertips, and we want a flatter stomach in 3 weeks.
Fast doesn't always mean better. For coffee, there is now the Slow Coffee movement that celebrates the process of making an amazing cup of coffee.
There is more enjoyment in learning if you slow down and read a book or two on a subject rather than just reading the Wikipedia article. For example the difference between reading the heroic stories of WWII or just an overview of what happened. One is a fuller and more enjoyable experience.
Fitness is no different.
Firstly it actually takes longer than the magazines at the newsstand would have you believe and it's actually better if you take it slowly.
We hear the frustration in your voice when you say that you haven't lost enough weight yet, your arms aren't bigger enough yet, or you haven't mastered the power clean yet. You'll get there. Just keep going and while you're going keep your eyes open for the awesome things around you.
Low trajectory toward a distant horizon
Picture a tall mountain with two ways to climb to the top. One way is straight up a vertical cliff face. This way is potentially the fastest of the two but requires a lot of effort, there is only room for one person at a time, and has a high degree of difficulty. Most people get injured or die.
The other way is a slow gradual slope. It takes 4 times as long to get there but there's a nice path with clear directions, the path is wide so you can travel with friends, and there are great camping sites along the way.
Which path would you choose? Both paths get to the top but only one does it safely, with guidance and with friends. Are you tempted by the fast dangerous route? I am. A little. But only initially, when I really think about the potential outcome I'm more than happy to slow down and just try to get at little closer to the end each day.
When I was few years younger I pushed myself really hard in the gym. I worked out 2 times a day and saw a huge improvement in my fitness. I was also constantly fighting back problems and tendonitis.
Today I workout 3-5 days a week for about an hour. I eat pretty well and rest when I feel I need to. My level of fitness hasn't grown in huge leaps but I am fitter than I was a few years ago. I get fitter all the time and I'm rarely injured (accidents happen). I'm never going to compete in the CrossFit games, that's perfect because I have no desire to. I know that I have a functional fitness that will serve me well in life and that when I'm standing in line at the store I'm most likely the fittest person in line. That feels good.
If your fitness is going to keep you out of the nursing home and allow you to be out on the trail of life having fun with friends then you need to be playing the long game.
In the gym, we try to be a little better than yesterday, knowing that we'll probably never be perfect but we should still endeavor to be better.
Take a minute and think about your short-term goals. Are they in competition with your long-term health and fitness? Are you in such a hurry to back squat double your body weight that your mechanics aren't sound enough to withstand that load or the volume of squatting it's going to take to get there? Are you so focused on losing weight that you're missing the opportunity to develop new lifelong nutrition habits and teach them to your kids along the way?
We want the best for you. A long life full of fun, and adventure.
Now, go live better.