CrossFit City Road’s Tom McAdam tells us why accepting responsibility for where you are now will help you get to where you want to be. "I’d be a wealthy man if I had a penny for every time I heard someone blame ‘poor genetics’ or a ‘slow metabolism’ for their burgeoning midsections" he says. You'd better read on.
The largest barriers to progressing in the gym are not physical; they are psychological. The most important thing you can do to ensure you get the results you want from training is to recalibrate the way you think. Here is the short story: You have exactly the body you deserve. Nothing more; nothing less.
Looking in the mirror, we often find faults in what we see and there is a strong temptation to externalise or disown those consequences. We say to ourselves, “I don’t understand. I eat well; I exercise plenty. Why am I still not lean?” Or, worse – we explain away our shortcomings. I’d be a wealthy man if I had a penny for every time I heard someone blame ‘poor genetics’ or a ‘slow metabolism’ for their burgeoning midsections. While justifying our own lack of progress, we also want to trivialise others’ success. Muscular guys are always on steroids and slim girls are anorexics and cocaine addicts.
You have to stop this right now (not just you: I’m addressing myself here, too). When you look in the mirror, what you see is a perfect reflection of thousands of choices over many years. It is an unbiased, objective assessment of how well you have done, how hard you have worked. No-one or nothing ‘did’ this to you. You have exactly the physique you have earned. Every time you skipped the gym; every time you had pizza instead of grilled chicken; every time you partied and drank yourself silly, your body noticed and it recorded a notch against your progress which stares back at you now. Your body is a savings account and just like a savings account, interest is not paid on deposits you didn't make. This applies equally well to performance. If you don’t like your squat PB or you 5km run time, then you didn’t work hard enough.
I’m not just saying this to preach or to scold you for not having worked hard enough. No one is perfect. What I am concerned about is the way of thinking that is at the root of all this. The truly damaging thing about disowning your own results like this is that it prevents you from ever making progress. The story you are telling yourself is a story in which you are powerless. Because if it really is the case that you are already doing everything possible to get the results you want, you’re eating perfectly and training hard and yet you are still overweight and unfit, then you might as well give up. If you really are saddled with terrible genetics and a dysfunctional metabolism, then you have no hope of moving forward. And by subscribing to this narrative you are already writing your own ending.
The problem is that you don’t believe you are in control of your own destiny. Not really. Not fully. There will always be something holding you back.
The first step towards progress is accepting that where you are right now is exactly where you deserve to be. No-one, or nothing else is responsible for your body – not even your parents. You, and you alone, have brought yourself to that place. By accepting that, you make your current situation a beginning and not an end because if you have brought yourself to this place, then you can take yourself somewhere else instead. And now you understand that every choice you make has a profit or a cost. This new perspective allows you to see the power of your own actions. Start making the right choices now and they will be visible in some way, at some point. Genetics cannot stop you. A less-than-optimal metabolism cannot stop you. And the success you see around you cannot discourage you. These are all external and irrelevant. Everyone can change their bodies. Everyone, without exception. Start making the right decisions now and watch the interest compound to startling effect.
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any comments or questions. Or if you just want to tell me what a preaching son of a bitch I am!
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