Progress. Steps forward. This is how you transform your body.
“DUH!” But most people don’t really understand this concept, otherwise 100% of people would reach their fitness goals. To help you understand this secret of “progress”, I have broken it down for you into 3 parts:
- Where you want to finish
- Where you are now
- Commitment for the long haul
Let me start with a story. In ancient Greece a man named Milo dominated the Olympic wrestling arena, a six-time champion. He was the biggest and strongest in all of Greece. But before Milo gained this fame, he was just your average guy. An average guy that decided to become the strongest, most muscular man in Greece. And the easiest way to accomplish this, Milo concluded, was to train himself to carry a bull around town. He decided where he wanted to finish.
Knowing that he was much too weak to carry a bull around town, Milo began with a new-born calf. A calf, he thought, would be a reasonable place to start for his current abilities. Milo was honest about where he was then. He did not attempt to carry a bull that first day, as it would have resulted in sure failure. So, he threw the calf over his shoulders, and carried it around town. That night the calf ate, slept and grew. Milo ate, slept, and grew. The next day, Milo carried the calf around town again. And again the next. And the next.
It takes 2 years for a calf to fully grow into a bull. And so, for 2 years Milo carried that calf. Progressing steadily day after day. You cannot acquire the ability to carry a bull any faster than a calf can grow into a bull. Milo understood this, so he made a commitment to the long haul. And, after 2 years, Milo was finally rewarded. The calf grew into a bull, and Milo grew into a man with the strength and muscle required to carry a bull. He went on to be a six-time Olympic wrestling victor.
Where you want to finish. The first step in transforming is deciding how you want to transform. Your body only changes in order to handle the challenges it faces day to day. So… Stop thinking that you want to look a certain way, say “20 inch biceps, a six pack, and 7% body fat”, that is not a specific physical challenge, thus it is an incredibly complicated goal. So simplify it. Start thinking that you want to look like you can handle a certain activity. Examples: “on any given day I want to look like I can: do 10 one-handed pushups, squat 400 pounds or run a marathon”.
Why do this? Because saying “I want to look like I can do 10 one-handed pushups on any given day” is a simple goal to accomplish, just progress to a point where you can do 10 one-handed pushups and I can guarantee you that you will look like a person who can do 10 one-handed pushups. (Look at some calisthenics pros on YouTube to see what this type of person looks like).
So now we have a definite goal, one that is simple to progress to. I can just start where I am now, progress a little bit each day, and eventually with time I will reach my goal, and thus transform my body.
Milo’s definite goal was that he wanted to acquire the ability to carry a bull around town. This goal was simple to accomplish, just start with a calf and progress little by little every day. To acquire the ability to knock out 10 one-handed pushups, just start with a simple regular push up and progress little by little every day.
Where you are now. In order to get to where you want to finish, the only place you can start is where you are now. Many people fail to transform their body because they are not honest about where they are now.
The first mistake they make is to be too ambitious about their current abilities. How many times have you, or someone you know, jumped into a very very intense workout program, miserably tortured yourself, and then gave up without really getting anywhere? That’s because it is impossible to progress if you never get started, and if you “start” ahead of where you actually are, you are not really starting, you are just dreaming. You will lose every time if you start at a level you cannot perform at. However, you will greatly increase your chances of success if you begin at a level you are comfortable with, and progress steadily ahead.
Milo didn’t start out carrying a bull. He started out carrying a calf.
To progress to 10 one-handed pushups, you do not need to start out with the crazy intense workout that the pros do, you need to start where you are right now, even if that means only 5 regular pushups.
Commitment for the long haul. A calf cannot grow into a bull any faster than in 2 years. Milo could not acquire the ability to carry a bull any faster than in 2 years. All major transformations take time, transformations that happen overnight are exclusive to fairy tales.
You have to stay motivated for your goal. Milo stayed motivated by the fact that each day the calf was growing, thus each day he was progressing, and just as sure as the calf would grow into a bull, Milo would reach his planned destination. Stay motivated by the fact that each workout you are progressing to your definite goal, and sure enough you will reach your definite goal in due time. You will transform your body.
DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting you train yourself to carry a bull.