Every now and then I get that new competitor who wants to do a show, perhaps has seen a show, and is in the gym currently training, but isn’t really TRAINING, if you get my drift. He or she is going through the motions so to speak. They go to the gym every day, get their swole on and do their cardio. But they’re not TRAINING training. Real training hurts. Real training is painful. In real training, failure is a good thing, meaning that you don’t stop at a predetermined number of reps, but rather take it to the point of momentary muscular failure. With real training, you live in a world of discomfort. The first question I ask every new competitor is, “Are you ready to hurt?” And then I’ll say something along the line of “Get ready to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Sometimes that scares them, especially the women. Some buy into it, and we’re off and running. Others…well…others run. Oh, they may still train but they start making excuses for not showing up, start complaining about how much they hurt, start saying that they can’t be ‘sore’ for the weekend…really?? And you wanna do a show? Guys, no one said that competitive training is easy. Simple yes, but definitely not easy. It takes a strong mindset to do this. It takes a strong body to do this. And as the wise old ancient mystic sage, SO WATT once said (yes, he said it…I have his original transcripts, remember…), “Pain is temporary, but victory?? Victory lasts forever!” With that said, let’s peruse the wise one’s philosophical views on his next law – the Law of Discomfort. Enjoy…
The Philosophy of SO: Part V – The Law of Discomfort
SO’s fourth law, the law of discomfort, states that in many instances something causes more discomfort than a person is willing to handle, either physically or mentally, but one must endure such discomfort if it is worth having. SO learned through his education and teachings that many individuals want what they want, but few are willing to endure hardship, pain, and suffering for what they want. SO did his very best to instill in his students the simple philosophy he coined – “No Pain, No Gain.” SO had discovered years earlier that to achieve one’s ultimate goal, one must endure tremendous pain and suffering. SO had a saying that is still in use today – “There is no easy way to accomplish a hard task.” SO explained this to each and every pupil, but for some strange reason, they did not heed his wise words. I wonder what a conversation would be like if SO had a conversation with a potential competitor? Perhaps something like this…
In the very ancient time in the land known as The Hood, the wise old mystic sage, SO WATT was approached by a young girl who desired to train under SO’s tutelage. The young girl had heard of SO’s knowledge and wisdom in her distant native land of Wannabe, and traveled far and long to learn at the wise one’s feet. The girl wanted to compete in a newly-created class of competition in which she and other girls would parade across a high platform known as a ‘stage, clad in only two small pieces of fabric. SO had decided earlier to call this competition a ‘Bikini’ contest. The young girl believed that SO was the only one able to give her the results she wanted. SO had the girl stand in front of him, suit on. SO slowly walked around the young girl with his hands clasped behind his back, taking in every inch of her physique. SO looked her up and down, top to bottom, front to back, left to right, and side-to-side several times, stopping and pinching crucial areas on the girl’s physique, nodding his head, but expressionless other than that. Finally SO spoke.
“You have a good base and potential to begin with. I can help you build the physique you desire, but you must endure grueling workouts, and intense pain in your muscles for several days after your training. We shall call this DOMS, meaning Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This is the sore, stiff, and achy feeling you will experience after such grueling workouts. It shall last two to five days. After all of the soreness for a particular region in your body has gone away, we shall train said body region again. We shall call these regions ‘bodyparts’. I am the potter, you are the clay. I will mold you and shape you. You will work long and hard, doing things far more difficult and challenging than you have ever imagined. Is this agreeable to you?”
SO ran the girl through her first leg workout. She was excited, and challenged SO to push her harder. SO explained to her that since this was her first workout it would be wise to train smart and push just a little beyond her limit. “Muscles grow by a stress imposed upon them SLIGHTLY greater than they are accustomed to handling. There is no need to take it to such extremes so early in your training. The time for that will come.”
The young girl said, “I can handle it,” to which SO replied, “I am sure you can, but for everything I do, there is a reason. Trust that what I do will work for you.”
The young girl became indignant. “Is that all you got,” she asked SO? “This is sissy work. My Grandma-ma could do this…”
This angered SO. SO was the most patient of patient men, but one thing SO did not tolerate were individuals who spewed forth garbage from their mouths (SO later named this ‘trash-talkin’, but I digress…). He had no mercy after that. Set after set, rep after rep he had the young girl do, until she was a huddling, quivering mass on the floor. SO pushed her hard, but not so hard as to cause her to puke, because SO had learned long ago that, while puking during a hard leg workout was considered manly, it was neither smart nor safe. SO had mercy on her after the workout. He gave her nutrients to replenish and repair her body, and explained to her that she should never allow garbage to exit her mouth again.
SO said, “You shall be sore…very, very sore from this workout, so be ready.’
The girl, just as fast as she heard what SO said a minute earlier, promptly forgot it. “I can handle the pain,” she sneered. “I am woman, hear me roar!” SO simply nodded his head, with the slightest curling of his mouth forming a smile, continued to stroke his long silver-white beard, knowing what the girl was in for.
The following morning SO had a visitor. “Oh — my — gosh,” the young girl screamed! “What did you do to me? I cannot move. My legs don’t work. I can’t walk up stairs as I can’t lift my legs. I can’t walk down stairs without them giving out on me. I can’t even sit on the potty. I had to literally drop onto it earlier (hence the term ‘potty drop’ after a good leg workout…but again, I digress…). I did not sign on for this. I want to make progress but not if it kills me like this. I can’t be hurting like this every day. I have to be able to walk, to do what I do. How can I make it through the day feeling like this? This is crazy. This is insane. No one should have to go through this kind of pain just to build muscle.” On and on the young girl went, becoming more animated by the minute. Finally she shouted at SO, “ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? THIS HURTS WAY WORSE THAN I EVER IMAGINED!”
SO slowly nodded his head as he sipped on his green tea and simply replied, “So”?
The young girl gasped! She’d heard that SO was the most compassionate of the compassionate, and this was all she got – a stinkin’ ‘So’? SO continued to look at the young girl, legs crossed as he sat in his chair sipping tea and eating Edemame. KA-BAMM!!! A revealing thought suddenly coursed through the young girl’s mind!
‘I get it,’ the girl replied, nodding her head in complete agreement and approval. “So what you are saying SO, is that the pain I thought I would receive and the pain I actually received are two totally different pains. I thought I could handle this discomfort, but it’s worse than I ever imagined. There is no way I could have prepared for this as I have never trained like this before. As you said earlier, I am experiencing DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – that deep muscular ache that occurs after an intense workout. This is not the lactic acid buildup I experienced during the workouts that caused me to end a working set. Hopefully this DOMS kind of pain will not last more than a couple of workouts unless I radically change things up again and push to a new intensity level. You have taught me that the body adapts to new stress fairly quickly, so that is why we must continually push and challenge ourselves, for if we did not challenge ourselves then results could not occur, and we would not only be wasting our money, but your time. We must hurt to some degree literally every single workout to force muscular growth, but if we give ourselves enough rest between workouts and fuel our bodies with the right foods at the right times in the right amounts then we will grow to our genetic potential. I now know that I must endure a deeper level of discomfort to build new muscle. And I also now know that I must get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
The new pupil looked deep into SO’s ancient eyes. ‘Master,’ she said. ‘You have given me great wisdom and knowledge. I shall go forth and make it do what it do.’
‘Weedhoppah,’ SO replied, ‘You have discovered a great truth today – the truth of discomfort. You have learned that the right type of pain and suffering is your friend, not your enemy. You have learned that you must endure the most brutal of workouts if ever you are to achieve your best potential. You have learned that in this profession, failure is a good thing. You have learned well. Now go forth and be successful…and yes, make it do what it do.”
The new pupil left, realizing that she needed to go purchase Epsom Salt and massage therapy sessions if she were to grow and achieve her goal…To be continued – Peace…