It isn’t a very popular quote “get small” especially when it comes to your physical fitness. We are supposed to get “huge”!! get ripped!! If you read an article that advised you to get “small” you’d quickly shy away and proceed to the latest BodyBuilding.com post. We don’t lift heavy objects forged in steel to “get small”; however, sometimes its the mindset you need to progress.
Progress isn’t a straight line up and anyone who tells you different is selling something. Progress is an up and down process. It’s a roller coaster of successes and failures all lumped together. If we look back at our human existence we see what “progress” looks like, and it’s not pretty. Take into account the housing market. Remember when people’s homes continued to increase in value? Realtors would tell you that the home you lived in would always be worth more tomorrow. Well, it doesn’t take a financial genius to figure out that was a bunch of bullshit. Of course nothing could continually increase forever. And, as we saw in 2009…. the housing market was no exception. What they sold you was an overpriced home and a bum mortgage. Face meet floor.The housing market regressed, it crashed hard on its face. We to can crash hard on our face, so expect it. Get small.
There can be many a reasons why you hit the “wall” on your path to progress. Whether it’s an injury, a plateau, or just a mental block. Getting small and refocusing your efforts will pay off.
Regress to Progress
The parody that is the housing market is one that will truly describe how you, throughout your life, will progress, regress and plateau. Theres no way around it; however, this is the path. You can’t keep increasing your personal best without stepping back and “getting small”.
Now, what I mean by getting small is returning to basics. getting back to the simple movements that got you to where your are today. Getting back to the fundamentals of movement. Revisit the lifts that are the core to more complex movements. such as the, bench press, bicep curl, military press and barbel row. To get even more fundamental regress back to the push up, sit up and anything that ends with the word “plank”. Your body weight can provide some of the most challenging work outs. These simple movements will rework the core of your daily movement and reset the path.
There’s endless data out there describing cutting edge workouts. From superset’s to drop sets and everything under the .com fitness sun. Some will scoff at the traditional 3 sets of 8-12 rep range. The elite “Crossfitter” may throw up a bit in their mouth when confronted with this approach. They may call it archaic or a “globo gym” routine; however, these routines have their place especially if you’ve hit that wall. And if it worked for Arnold, it should work for you. Pull back the reigns and get back to the movements that built your foundation.
Focus through the chatter
In the beginning it can be difficult to focus on your goal. Most want to be lean, muscular, increase strength, conditioning and muscle size all at the same time. Your mind is switching channels and you need to minimize the number of channels that are being clicked through. Biting off more than you can chew is a sure way to fail. Get small on your goals. Focus on one at time.
This can be difficult with the amount of information out there describing the newest coolest workout. Keep it small. Keep it simple. Build the basics. Build your foundation. Once you’ve mastered an aspect of your goal, move on to the next. Always focus, it’s very important to not become over stimulated with varies theories. Pick one and stick to it for a while.
You goals won’t always be the same
My current goals are much different when compared to the 23-year-old self. 23 year old me would have laughed at a man doing a Turkish get up or better yet Yoga. With age comes wisdom, or I’d like to think so. If it isn’t wisdom that comes with age than its your body reminding you that you’re not a spring chicken anymore. The ache in your knee or the pain in your back. We learn as we get older that savagely tossing heavy weights around daily isn’t a good idea for our longevity.
Yes, goals change and your approach will change to. What we learn as we age is recovery is crucial. Proper eating and rest. We scale back the volume of heavy sets and realize there’s more to our fitness path than getting “big”. As we get older our path will continually change. Whats important today may not be so important tomorrow. The ultimate goal of fitness is to maintain it for your entire life, not just to show off big muscles under a medium t-shirt.
Getting small isn’t admitting failure. It takes a wise man to admit they cannot continue such a rigorous training program forever. Scaling back, returning to basics, focusing on small aspects of our goal and getting small in your approach is how progress continues throughout your life. There will always come a time to get “big” and push your limits, as you should; however, remember getting small is important to maintaining that fire and not burning out before your run is over.