Hello, my strong friends~
I’ve been reading The Daily Stoic, and this entry from February 18th really resonated with me. I hope it does for you too.
Prepare For The Storm
“If we don’t have a plan, if we never learned how to put up the storm windows, we will be at the mercy of the external – or internal – elements.” –Ryan Holiday, author of The Daily Stoic
We’re bombarded with false impressions on the web and social media offering questionable supplements, programs, and diets. We’re offered false impressions of what the perfect body looks like, and faulty advice on how to achieve it. There’s some good stuff out there (no shortcuts), but way too much that makes it look ridiculously easy or impossibly hard to get strong and fit.
Put up your storm windows.
I had tried for years to become a faster cyclist, and I wanted to get strong and avoid injury in lifting. I finally hired a great cycling coach and gained skills, power, and endurance to enter and succeed in bike racing. I found a skilled trainer who helped me get stronger and overcome injuries to win a powerlifting competition. They were my storm windows.
An experienced personal trainer or coach will help you stay accountable and build smart habits. Your trainer will improve your mechanics, and create a program for you to appropriately load the bar or learn to lunge. Your trainer can help you weather the storm, both physically and mentally. My mental storm was anxiety about my cycling skills and challenging team rides, and my physical storm was the need to train smart after injuries. The best personal trainer knows you and knows that it’s less about exercise science and more about helping you create a plan that works now and for the rest of your life.
Be honest about where you are now in your strength and fitness level, how many times are you able to (or want to) work out per week. (Note: you don’t need to train every day.)
Be realistic about what you want to achieve, how long it will probably take, and how you will accomplish it – when is the triathlon, how much weight loss, what skills and equipment do you have expertise in, or what do you want to learn? What do you enjoy doing, and are you willing to do some things you really don’t enjoy? That’s a tough one!
The best way to get strong and healthy is to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be written in stone or so rigid that it can’t evolve. Set up a baseline of where you are now and have an idea where you want to finish. Create a goal the SMART way: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Whether it’s a raging storm or a drizzle, you can prepare for it. The thing about weather is that it’s always changing and unpredictable. Just like life.
“This is the true athlete—the person in rigorous training against false impressions. Remain firm, you who suffer, don’t be kidnapped by your impressions! The struggle is great, the task divine—to gain mastery, freedom, happiness, and tranquility.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.18.27–28