One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned regarding accountability and staying on track with your goals is to tell people about it. Vocalize it. Tell as many people as possible. The more people you tell, the more people will be let down when you decide that you have given up 99% of the way.
The first taste of this I got was during my first powerlifting meet last February, right after I had the worst stomach bug of my life. I literally couldn’t choke down anything but applesauce for a month, dropped 10+ pounds, and watched all of my lifts suffer.
I could say that I did it for me but to be frank, I felt like crap and no one would have noticed if I bailed if it wasn’t for the 100 or so people I told. Needless to say, I competed, had a blast, and am getting ready for my second meet this December.
On a side note, I decided to join the “No-Shave November” movement to raise awareness for prostate cancer. I am already 8 days in and want to tear my face off because of the itching. I know it is temporary so to keep me accountable until this madness ceases I am telling all of you that the beard stays until the Dec 11th meet…or until Lindsay makes me sleep on the couch.
Speaking of the the my upcoming meet, I heard a great quote this morning from Brett Jones while listening to the StrengthCoach Podcast. In this episode, Brett was talking about what it takes to pass the RKC test which is no easy feat. He always provides a lot of insight into training as he did in this episode but for some reason this is what stuck out to me today:
“Do the same thing every day…as long as you don’t do the same thing every day.” – Brett Jones, RKC
What does it mean?
For sake of oversimplifying Brett’s quote, I am going to provide you with one of my favorite quotes from Dan John. “If it’s important, do it every day. If it is not important, don’t do it.”
Now, I’m not saying that you should never do a bicep curl again. Some people may just like to do things like curls and crunches and that’s ok. Just don’t make this the basis of your training program or even what you do on a daily or weekly basis. In order to give you an idea of the things that are important to get done in the gym here are my lists of the important and unimportant.
Things that are important in a very particular order:
- Relieving pain
- Fixing posture
- Fixing core movement patterns
- Getting more stable
- Getting stronger at pushing, pulling, and squatting
Things that are NOT important in no particular order:
- Being awesome at bicep curls
- Being able to complete 100 burpees and not throw up
- Burying yourself by the end of each workout
- Having a ginormous chest
- Having ripped abz
So what are you able to do every day?
Short answer: Move
Practice skills such as pushing, pulling, squatting and hip hinging. I have heard that it takes something like 5,000 repetitions to get good at something and/or fix a bad habit. At the rate of doing things once per week that will take you years. If your squat and deadlift suck then squat and deadlift. Don’t waste your time on the minutia of doing things like mountain climbers or crunches.
If you can’t quite master a kettlebell exercise like swings or cleans then by all means practice a little bit each day. I’m not saying you should swing and clean with reckless abandon to the point where you can’t sit on the toilet or raise your arms to wash your hair. Just practice enough to feel like you made some improvement and pick up where you left off tomorrow.
Here are a few more points that Brett made to highlight this:
- Don’t train to failure. Ever.
- The harder you push, the more withdrawals you take from your strength and conditioning, making you weaker.
- Do just enough
- “At the end of the workout, you should be ready to battle for the kingdom, not like the war has been lost.” – Tim Rollins
- We should not be destroyed after a workout to the point where you couldn’t possibly do another thing.
- You need to go on with life after your workout.
- Training is enough to stimulate adaptation. It should not be enough where you are just finished at the end of the day.
- Develop the practice of “practice”, not “work out”.
- Enhance your skills every day.
To allow Brett to prove his own points, here is a video highlighting his ninja-like strength and agility.