Look up “train” in Webster’s Dictionary you get the following definitions (among others):

noun: a series of parts or elements that together constitute a system for producing a result.

verb: to teach (someone) the skills needed to do something (such as a job) : to give instruction to (someone)

As a trainer, I have two main jobs: to come up with a training plan (noun) and to train you (verb) in order to achieve the specific result that you are looking for.

Working out

Many trainers put their clients through workouts. Workouts are often just random exercises performed in any order with no particular thought put into it. Sometimes workouts are a bit more organized with more thought put into them. Training purists may decry the idea of unstructured workouts as not real training, and thus a waste of time.

However, sometimes workouts are all someone needs, or wants, because the client isn’t interested in any particular goals. They are more interested in moving around and getting some exercise–a worthy goal in the current era of sloth and gluttony.

On the other hand, if you want some real measurable results, if you really want to change your body, generalized workouts won’t do.

You need a training system.

Specificity in Training

When athletes train for sports, be if figure skating or football, they do training sessions specifically designed for participation in that sport.

When people train for a job, they receive training that will enable them to do that job.

When you learn French, you train and practice French.

Most people train to improve their body’s appearance.

There are only two things we can do to change the appearance of our body: lose fat and gain muscle.

In this case, proper weight training brings about predictable and highly desirable results: an increase in strength and muscle.

Ditto for a fat loss diet: designed correctly and implemented, it will result in fat loss.

Knowingly or not, if you get great results you undoubtedly utilize a training system, because only a system will lead to sustained muscle growth and sustained fat loss. This is because at its core, only a system will have progression built into it. Without progression, in the form of lifting progressively heavier weights over time, your body won’t add muscle.

Further, systems have measurements involved; results are recorded and analyzed. Systems are flexible; they can be adapted to the individual or changing circumstances.

Kind of Like a Diet?

Yes, a system for exercise is much like a diet designed for a specific purpose. It’s designed to get you from point A to point B.

Interestingly, people often realize the need for an organized diet set up to systematically reduce their body fat (though how to do it is usually a mystery), yet they don’t realize the need for an organized training program designed to systematically increase their muscle mass and aid in fat loss.

People who never follow a training program and just do “workouts” never seem to be as successful as those that do. They may have some initial success, but further results fail to materialize.

Find a System and Make it a Part of You

You need to find a training system compatible with your goal. Furthermore, you need someone to teach you the system, or learn it on your own. Most people have a hard time learning a training system on their own. They don’t have the time, the patience, or they’re completely confused by the vast amount of seemingly contradictory information out there.

Sometimes you need guidance. Get a knowledgeable trainer.

The trainer’s job is to provide a system, personalize it for you, and teach it to you.

Your Responsibility

Your responsibility is to learn the system.

I love it when my clients ask questions. It means they are involved in the process. They are immersing themselves in learning the system, instead of just reacting to what I’m telling them.

To have real success, you need to live the system, to own it, get inside it, understand its parts, how it is working and acting upon your body.

If the system doesn’t become part of your life, you’ll most likely be one of those unfortunate souls who never experience the results they so desperately seek.

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The Problem of Desire

July 17, 2014

in Life

“There are two great disappointments in life: Not getting what you want, and getting it.”

The Problem of Desire

As humans, we desire.

We desire stuff.

Some things we desire are absolutely necessary for healthy survival: basic food, water, shelter, friendship (humans are social creatures).

Others aren’t necessary at all: fame, money, cars, big houses, status, sex (unless you want to procreate), dessert, big meals, gadgets, the latest phones, the big job promotion. These are the things that we tend to desire, thinking that we need them.

Sometimes we think we’ll be happy once we have something, but not always. Happiness doesn’t have to be in the equation, although often it is.

What makes desire stronger is when we see other people possessing what we want. We often covet what others have, as long as we deem what other people have as favorable or valuable.

The irony is that once we get what we want, we quickly move on to wanting something else. Once the initial euphoria wears off, we find ourselves back at our normal state. We start desiring other things.

We’re disappointed when we don’t have something, and we’re disappointed when we finally get it, because we find that the object of our desire didn’t actually mean anything. It was hollow.

Wisdom

Interestingly, virtually all of the non-deity based wisdom of recorded human history has stated that our frustration and anxieties stem from our unquenchable desire for things.

Socrates, Plato, Greek Stoicism, Epicurus, Taoism, Buddhism, Marcus Aurelius and his Roman Stoicism, Transcendentalism in the United States. History’s greatest thinkers, often from vastly different cultures and different periods of time, all came to the same conclusion as to the corrupting influence of our uncontrollable desires.

Western religion, of which Christianity I’m most familiar, also doesn’t place emphasis on material items.

All of these traditions teach that it is the the unquenchable nature of desire that is the source of our unhappiness and anxieties.

Desire and Fitness

Simply desiring a better body, even if you attain it, will generally not make you a happier, more contented person. After all, there will always be people with a better body than you, with bigger arms, a better butt, longer legs. It’s hard to be satisfied. No matter how good you end up looking, there is someone else you could want to look like.

I see this all the time. People who are in great shape never think it’s enough. You could look at a fitness model and imagine how great they must feel about themselves. You’d be mistaken. Often, they still think they have too much fat, or their muscles aren’t big enough.

The internet and Instagram make the situation worse because you can always follow the latest body “de jour”. Never mind this complete stranger could be on steroids, HGH, twenty years younger than you, or just have better genetics. This goes for women and men alike. You’d be surprised how many women take illegal substances.

The first step to restore sanity is to stop following people with hot bodies on Instagram and following their workouts. I say this slightly in jest, but there is truth to it.

Don’t Desire!

Buddhism says “be desireless”.

It’s naive to think that you can cut all desire out of your life. Desire is normal. What you can try is to be aware of your desires, of your natural covetous nature.

When you find yourself desiring, step back from your desire and look at it objectively. Realize how this desire causes you negative feelings and anxiety. Will quenching this latest desire bring any lasting good into your life?

Has obtaining the objects of your desire in the past made you more happy beyond some short-term euphoria? Doubtful.

Using exercise and diet to look a certain way tends to be an exercise in futility. We are never satisfied with how we look and there is always someone who looks better.

Instead of desiring to look like someone else whom you follow on Instagram, perhaps you could focus on being the best you. Perhaps you could focus on the process. The process requires commitment, honesty (with yourself and others), sacrifices, self-control (not giving in to impulse) and discipline; all traits that go into building character.

Eat healthy, exercise, and build character. You’ll be rewarded with a better life.

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Training Truths from a Legend

March 27, 2014

A bodybuilding legend died recently. Larry Scott Two quotes from the article jump out at me as they show the reality of training. 1. Aspiring bodybuilders often asked Mr. Scott his secret to success. He shared it in an interview with the martial arts trainer Steve Cotter. “I generally tell them to take lots of […]

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Levanta Cola

March 5, 2014

Struggling with underwhelming glutes? Realza tu belleza! Digale adios al espacio vacio al rededor de su citura, realze sus caderas, moldee sus piernas, compresione su abdomen, y estilize su figura. Los Jeans Colombianos son la mejor opcion para usted! Highlight your beauty! Say good-bye to the gap around the waist band, lift your hips, slim […]

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The Big 4 Mistakes

January 17, 2014

Here are four mistakes that are consistently made by people who struggle to make bodily change. The Big C Humans are terrible at estimating calories. We consistently overlook small amounts of food. Unfortunately, these small amounts of food can mean the difference between pounds lost and pounds staying just where they are. Years ago, I […]

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