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Zen Enso

Why You Aren’t Getting What You Want

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You reap what you sow.

But no one talks about the time between the planting of the seed, the amount of effort it takes to grow and care for that seed, then reaping the benefits afterwards.

Patience seems to pervade everything that I’ve accomplished and done this year. Dictionary.com defines patience as “quietly and steadily persevering or diligent, especially in detail or exactness”. In what way have you have expressed patience, in a world full of Tweets, Snapchats, text messaging, and continual distractions…?

Many years ago in grade school, I remember picking up a book called Aesop’s Fables and reading a particular story about the Tortoise and the Hare.

Scratchboard_Tortoise_And_Hare

The story, for those unfamiliar, starts out as a wager or bet between the hare and the tortoise in the form of a race. Initially as a kid, I never understood how the tortoise could win. The hare, who was visibly faster, stronger, had every intention of beating this tortoise. The hare, meanwhile wanted to enjoy the fruits of merely being ahead, and so took a nap in the middle of his own bet, and eventually lost. And so the tortoise persevered despite all odds – mainly because he caught the hare sleeping on him as he kept on plodding forward, slowly and surely each step of the way.

Like the tortoise, I’ve been hustling. I’ve connected with some awesome people. I’ve visited with, chatted, and have learned from some amazing people this year as well. I’ve worked with some very memorable individuals – coworkers, clients, and athletes. So don’t sleep on me, my clients, or my athletes yet.

As I reflect on the past year (2013), here are a few of my thoughts when it comes to displaying patience with regards to the various aspects of fitness, strength training, and relationships.

Fat Loss

When it comes to my fat loss clients, I do my best to empathize and simultaneously excite them to come into the gym. But in reality, once you have a set plan in motion, patience is crucial towards realizing a transformative change.

Sometimes you’ll see 0lbs in change during Week 5 of your program. But you’ll see 7lbs drop in the next week if you’re patient enough.

Did you see that coming in the first week? Probably not. But in the era of pop-up notifications, internet trends, and celebrity workouts, my job of expressing patience with regards to fat loss in the long term is difficult, to say the least.

Action Step for the New Year: Start a plan. Keep a daily, weekly, or monthly log of your foods. Watching what enters your body through nutrition is more important than burning 200 calories on a treadmill and feeling accomplished.

composition book

Strength Training

For those of us with strength and hypertrophy goals, there is a time and place for Personal Records to be broken.

I’ve followed 3 strength training programs this year (all at 16 weeks a program), and just recently (in the last 1.5 months) improved my squat by 20lbs (405lbs), bench press by 15lbs (260lbs), and deadlift by 10lbs (425lbs) from the previous year. The message that I’m trying to convey is that it took over 48 weeks, 192 training sessions (at 4x a week training), or 288 hours of lifting (clocking in at 1.5 hours of lifting on average), JUST to improve my main lifts by 45lbs.

Please enter the url to a YouTube video.

As an amateur powerlifter, I’m both excited and disappointed. Excited because I know I have a lot of room to grow, and I’ll be lifting even greater weights soon, and disappointed simultaneously because I sacrificed other things (sleep, social time with friends and family, along with the time itself) for this higher purpose of strength.

At the same time, this is the first year I wasn’t getting beat up from my lifting routines. My form on these exercises has been on point more than any other year I’ve been lifting, and it can only get better from here.

To translate it down the line, when it comes speaking with athletes doing a dumbbell bench press for the first time, I have to explain to them that starting with 30lbs will suffice for now – eventually they will be using the “Hundo’s”. Rushing a deadlift before an athlete is ready for that movement is likewise, a recipe for disaster. Let’s work on mobility. Let’s work on stability. Then come back to that 315 Trap Bar Deadlift. It will come with time.

Action Step for the New Year: Start an exercise program, and don’t miss one training day. Intensity and excitement will go up and down. Continually going into the gym, hitting your numbers, and aligning the rest of your sleep and nutrition habits can take you further.

There are 24 hour gyms out there, and strength is easily maintained if you keep at it – even with 4 or 5 hours of sleep. There is no reason to complain about your decline in strength if you miss a lifting session however.

Deadlift - Bottom Portion

 

Personal and Professional Relationships

When it comes to relationships, rushing trust in a person, whether personal or professional, is a faulty step I’ve both made and had to learn from. Displaying patience on both ends is again, crucial to developing a lasting relationship – whether a professional relationship, which can entail understanding a client’s point of view, giving them the benefit of the doubt, which ultimately comes down to trust, or a personal relationship, in which it also helps to do all of the above. Put in the time to work things out. Trust each other if possible.

Action Step for the New Year: Be present when you are with others. I’m not one to judge about pop-up notifications and text messages – I have a smart phone as well with a Facebook app on it. But at the same time, I do my best to respect people’s times and value the time that I spend with others. Do the same, whether it is your clients, family members, or friends.

Big Takeaways

Some things you can take away by practicing patience are to practice mindfulness when the process of a goal is taking place.

Kids won’t magically get bigger in one day – it takes a long time. (Or in my case, I just stop growing taller.)

They won’t be throwing 90mph tomorrow, or the next day. Maybe in a few more years if they follow a smart exercise program and can display… what? Patience.

You can lose 15lbs in one week. I’ve done it. But it required a large drop in carbs, sitting in a hot tub, and not drinking water as well. I looked great – but also felt awful at the same time.

Make a plan, and control what you can control.

Then reap the benefits afterwards.

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Keep it funky.

MA