I was standing in a golds gym in bozeman, montana when a friend sidled up next to me; he nodded towards a couple of guys strapped into the pec-deck…. we had seen them here before, always working their routine; chest and bi’s day, back and legs, shoulders and tri’s. 4 exercises each muscle, 3 sets of 10 with a splash of cardio. same machines. same time… my friend, he nods towards these guys and asks me about consequences. he asks me what affect working on these machines, the same program day in and day out might have on a persons personality. linear movement. isolation. tracks. safety. how, he asks, does this affect their problem solving ability? he asks me if i think these guys are getting more conditioned than they are aware of. he asks me this, and walks away.
our conditioning determines our reality. a simple truth dropped on me that same week in montana. those simple words turned out to be the entrance into the rabbits hole. physical condition governs possible and impossible, separates game from sport from test from impasse. physical conditioning is the exchange rate in which we trade work for results. physical conditioning, however, can only get us so far. our mental and emotional (spiritual) conditioning governs how we see the world, how we react to stress, to joy, to competition and to failure…. we condition ourselves through language, through thoughts, through every unconscious action, we reinforce where we are at the moment. i guess the question is where do you want to be? it is so widely accepted that competition and sport is 10% physical and 90% mental, but does your training reflect this? do you have standards ? was that last rep “good enough”? what exactly are you conditioning? look to the alpine climbers for inspiration, 99% of a pull-up means you fell off the mountain and died. 100%, anything less is simply not. have standards. condition integrity. work smart. work with a partner. build trust and keep each other honest. learn that failing in front of someone is not the end of the world. that failing in the gym is better than failing in the real world. court failure, get to know your limits, the signposts of physical and emotional collapse. condition yourself to adapt to new situations. full range of motion conditions your flexibility. change directions. to go a little further than you once thought possible. develop a workout that actually scares you. just a little, just enough that you have to face the physical symptoms of panic. fear creates a clarity. a focus. savor it. experience it. control it. if you use all the knowledge you have, all the ass in your jeans, and a little grace from god you just might pull through. what, do you think, are the long term consequences of facing panic and overcoming it with hard intelligent work? what exactly are you conditioning? its not just what you do, but how (and why) you do it…
this is the 90%.
this is where philosophy has consequences.
raise the bar.
* training does not exist in a vacuum, nor does the philosophy behind it. the work we do is heavily influenced by mark twight and the gym jones project (www.gymjones.com), the works of idries shah, along with mountain athlete (www.mtnathlete.com), PAST skills (www.pastskills.com), and countless others….
we get what we deserve, or at least what we earn.