By Michael Blevins Breaking Muscle
The popularity of short content in the fitness industry is staggering, especially considering the complexity of the topic. Grabbing attention for attention’s sake now overshadows the importance of high-quality content.
I am told I should try and grab your attention in the first line, which I will later tone down to make a more reasonable point. This is because human behavioral studies show people are more likely to participate out of negativity or objection rather than agreement. You only need to look at the comments section of a controversial YouTube video to confirm this.
The Internet Is Playing Dumb
The sad part about this guidance on my ability to attract readership is that it’s true. You can’t make a point if no one will read about it. I’m told not to exceed 1,400 words because you’re too impatient to develop an idea beyond that, in the literary sense. This is precisely why people scour the Internet and click on the easy-to-read answers to fitness problems.
Reading and deciphering 1,200+ pages of Verkhoshansky requires time and usually a really good reason to do so. The Lore of Running by Professor Tim Noakes will clear up hundreds of thousands of questions pertaining to multiple disciplines. But the general population won’t make it through the almost 1,000 pages, because it isn’t broken down into bullet points and sold to you in a conducive time scale.
“6 Ways to See Your Abs by Summer” is written specifically for the person who will never see their abs – ever. “10 Tricks to Fix Your Squat” won’t work for you because you’re too busy trying to trick-fuck your way to an impressive number by reading garbage instead of squatting. It’s not that these articles don’t have pertinent information, as the authors are generally well-regarded, but the information is a BB gun in a world that requires a high-powered sniper rifle.
Define Your Purpose
So despite my disdain in writing a short “list to fix” article, I am not disingenuous, and I do have one reason why these articles provide next to nothing for you.
You won’t answer your fitness problems with an infographic or a convenient list. You need a change in your intention.
Most people have no real reason why they do the things they do. Why do you want a six-pack? Why do you need to be stronger, and how strong is strong enough? We have to dig deeper into the reasons why, beyond the attention we might receive from posting a well-lit bathroom selfie. Our longevity depends on it.
We want to move because it will improve the brain. This struggle to better ourselves is characteristically human. With nothing more than inane effort, we make insignificant progress – or worse, we become insignificant people.
This progress only occurs with underlying purpose. There is a reason Nietzsche quotes are scattered over motivational fitness pictures. It’s because they carry intent, fortitude, and are inarguably brilliant. The greatest feats by human beings have had drastic philosophical purpose, so it follows that you should design your efforts to have the same meaningful aspiration.
Do Not Quit
Life is especially defined by not quitting. Our practice of this quality gives training purpose and meaning. The exploits we hold in high esteem are regarded as such because they involve moving past the desire to quit and declining the self-imposed invitation to take the easier road.
A simple way to manufacture this effect in training is to give yourself a way out. Construct workouts that make you question your own ability to finish, right around the halfway mark. Train in a way that allows you to explore your own integrity, and then, simply put – do not quit.
Some old training partners and I used to enforce this rule: “If it is written, so must it be done.“ Whatever goes up on the white board must be finished, no matter how you might underestimate the work. A 1-30-1 ladder of dumbbell thrusters had us question our own sanity about two reps into the declining portion of the workout. But finishing nearly 1,000 reps in a little over two hours left no question as to whether we had intent and integrity.
Effort Is Universal
The application of intent and integrity transcends sport. It removes barriers between sub-cultures that are normally separated by cult-like affiliation. Effort is universal. The acknowledgement of this can shape your journey and open doors to many gyms, relationships, and ideas that will otherwise elude you.
What you have in common with the people who have already achieved what you wish to accomplish isn’t found in a list. It’s found in a philosophical, purposeful approach to effort.