Trust the Process
By Erik Castiglione
We live in a world filled with instant gratification – particularly when it comes to health and fitness. It’s unfortunate because it permeates our mindset, and it leads to a couple of the most common pitfalls we see that hinder people’s progress in the gym: program hopping and trying to do too much. Program hopping is when you can’t stick to a single program, and end up doing a week or two of one program, and then switching to another, and then another, without sticking it out to end. I think we’ve covered random programming ad nauseum on this blog, so I won’t get into it. But suffice it to say that program hopping effectively creates a random program.
Trying to do too much can manifest in several ways. When it comes to exercise, it usually looks like adding additional WODs on top of what we’re already doing in class. If a member has extra time after we finish our daily strength and conditioning, they may pile on an additional metcon. This is particularly common when we have a less intense bout of conditioning that doesn’t leave athletes crumpled in a heap. Or, it could mean going to another gym to get more work: some extra body building at a Globo gym, or king of the mountain at spin class. Unfortunately, when these additional workouts are haphazardly piled on, they can and usually do interfere with an athlete’s recovery. We’ve previously covered how the body adapts to training, and recovery is the key to this. But, with the instant gratification mindset, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that if some is good, more must be better. And, inevitably, we end up overloading ourselves.
Why do we do it? Because progress isn’t always quick, and it isn’t always linear. We expect that if we do everything we’re supposed to do, we’ll see continuous improvement. When we test our max lifts, we expect them to go up every time. When we test benchmark workouts, we expect our times to decrease or our reps to increase. In fact, the reason we program the way we do with max lifts and/or benchmark workouts every month or couple of months is so that you can see and gauge your progress. And, it works for most of our members, most of the time. Unfortunately, progress isn’t always visible, and we occasionally hit plateaus. Maybe we have a mobility issue that is limiting performance. Or, maybe it’s a lagging muscle group. Our affected max lift may not improve for a little while, and then suddenly, the work we put in to fixing our weakness announces itself with unexpected grandiosity. Have you ever been stuck on a lift for months/years, only to hit a 20+ PR seemingly out of the blue? I have, in several instances. The key is to keep working, stick to the plan, and TRUST THE PROCESS. All the mobility work/accessory work that seems monotonous and fruitless WILL pay off.
The same is true with nutrition. When we make changes to our diet, whether we increase protein intake, add in more micronutrients, or whatever, we expect immediate results. How many times have you started something new only to give up after a week because you felt like you were getting nowhere? Once again, that’s not how nutrition works. We are the product of everything we’ve been doing to this point, and it takes TIME for our bodies to adapt to change. For example, if you have a history of overindulging in hyperpalatable foods, you may have developed insulin resistance. This means that your cells won’t respond to insulin, so your blood sugar remains very high. This is not something that can be fixed quickly. So, if you make a dietary change, you need to give it at least 2 weeks, and then you can evaluate the change by looking at your progress. At that point, you or your coach can make incremental changes. Once again, it takes TIME.
Nothing with nutrition or exercise is instantaneous. And very little happens quickly – you need to give your body a chance to change. You want instant fat loss? I can recommend an excellent plastic surgeon for liposuction (hi dad!). If surgery isn’t in the cards, then stick to the plan. You’re here at Viking Athletics because you sought us out, and you stuck around because of our expertise and your experience. So, trust us to help you. Trust us to do our jobs and get you the results you want. TRUST THE PROCESS.