Monday, March 10, 2008

Know your role.

Tracy Reifkind has 1,2 amazing posts about her decision and journey to losing weight (actually she has many, but two stood out to me today).
I have seen in my own life, in those that I have trained with and those my wife or I have trained: people who train for an activity change their bodies faster, and more consistently than people who do not. In other words, if you become an athlete, a rower, a cyclist, a kettlebell instructor, a.. whatever, you will have more success in body recomposition than if you just try to "lose weight."
When you are training for an activity you no longer are burdened by "workouts" you "have practice." People push 10x harder when they are doing something they love, and have goals to meet. Junk food isn't worth it when you've got to put yourself out there and compete. Sleeping in is harder when you're going to miss out on doing this activity that defines you. It gives you a natural defense against saboteurs: "I can't (blank) I have practice in the morning."
The second point: training for "sport" gives you measurable progress points outside of the scale. Most people who ditch a training program do so because their progress stagnates, and they either under-eat, or chuck their training all together. Athletes have more opportunities for PRs, so they feel more successful, and they stick to their guns longer.
Thirdly, with activity based training, you get teammates. You get a community that wants you to succeed. They push, or pull you along, mentor you, and generally help you through the bumps in the road.
Finally and most importantly, you get a new identity. Your self image, and self talk changes. You're no longer "the jolly fat guy" or "the cute, but pudgy girl" you become " the rower," or "the triathlete," "the MMA fighter," "the competitive plate balancer."
Whatever, it doesn't matter. When you redefine, it takes the limits off of what you can become. That is the magic of it. People when pressed or stressed revert back to their "role."
"It doesn't matter that I missed that workout, because I'm just a fat guy," and a fat guy can miss a lot of workouts. An athlete, however, has to stop being an athlete if he misses too many, and people will do a heck of a lot to avoid coming up with a new identity.
So what does that mean for you gentle reader? It means don't be afraid to redefine. Don't be assigned an identity and the limits that come with it. Find what you want to do, and go do it. Do you suck at it? Good, lots of room for improvement. Train, practice, get better. Your body is the vehicle to take you to the places you want, not a cage limiting where you can go.


Jesse said...


That's great perspective, JB. It's worlds' easier to get in shape if it's for something you have a stake in rather than just something you see as a chore.

Franklin said...

Great post J.B.!

From now on when asked to partake in dubious caloric consumption, I will reply:

"Oh thanks! .. however I will have to decline as I'm in training for one of the up and coming Kettlebell Tactical Strength Challenges"

I have never participated in one yet but I'm sure within the next year or so I will.

J. B. Zero said...

Jesse, I totally agree. I see people at the gym "working out" the same way they take out the trash. What's the point. Life's too short.

Funny stuff.

Code name: 1% said...

As someone who has never worked out simply for the sake of working out, but rather because I enjoy it, I have to put in a big "duh" here.

I don't mean that in a mean way, I've just never understood why anyone would run on a treadmill for an hour when they hate it.

J. B. Zero said...

Well doc, people do a lot of things in life "because that's what you're supposed to do." They live boring joyless lives. It's a terrible waste.
count yourself lucky that has never been your personality.

Code name: 1% said...

Actually, now that I extend your comment to graduate school, I totally get it. I got a PhD and that process made me miserable for years. My reason: pure stubbornness and an inability to fully admit that I'd made a mistake.

And I didn't even get a tight ass out of the deal.

J. B. Zero said...

Well, at least not yet.