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Thoughts for the Day: 10/2/13

So I had a late hockey game last night and didn’t get home til around midnight. As I woke up, walked outside, and opened my truck around 5 am, I noticed that a few things looked different inside. The console was partly open and there were a few CDs thrown on the front seats.

I, Hanson resident Josh Mavilia, am now the proud victim of a car break-in.

What throws me off is that I’m 99% sure I locked my truck, as I always do at night when my IPod is inside (which I won’t have worry about anymore).

Whoever it was, they took my 5G IPod Nano and backpack (which contained a large bag of beef jerky, some dirty workout clothes, a toothbrush, a thing of Burt’s Bees, and my only belt). They left multiple jackets, an entire tent, boots, CDs, my PVC pipe and lacrosse balls, and the $1,000,000 stash of cash underneath my back seats (just kidding, seriously, there’s no money in that truck).

The most precious cargo in my truck.

I’m not going to lie, I think I almost benefited from this more than that guy did. I needed to clean out that backpack and the IPod needed to be replaced.

At first, I was so surprised that they took a backpack full of dirty gym clothes that I thought my mom played a prank on me.

Anyway, as with everything else in life, there is always a positive side to things, so I’m here to summarize all of the strength and conditioning lessons that we can learn from being the victim of a crime.

1. If you can only carry so much, be sure to choose wisely

Whoever did this did not follow this rule. What he should have done was emptied the backpack and filled it with things other than dirty gym clothes.

However, I’m talking about your strength and conditioning regimen. If you can only carry so many exercises or you only have so much time, you need to fill your exercise backpack the right way. Pick the bang-for-your buck exercises, the things that are going to give you the biggest ROI (return on investment – I took one finance class so I know these things).

Dial in your training to maximum ROI!

I personally love limiting my exercise selection to only a few, good choices. When you cut off the fat, you can better concentrate on the things that need to be concentrated on, like the big lifts and conditioning movements that work.

Push. Pull. Squat. Sprint. Soft tissue work. Mobility. Complexes. Olympic lifts. Single leg work. Prehab. Whatever is important to you, do it. And do it more often than you do it now.

2. Don’t be afraid to switch things up on the fly

As I realized what had happened, my first concern was, “How am I going to listen to music on the way to work this morning?” Well, I took that IPod cord and plugged it into my IPhone. I wasn’t afraid to switch things up when a situation presented itself.

Always be ready for speed bumps. Things are going to be sore, imbalances will be discovered, and anyone that does anything fitness related will eventually flatten a tire in the proverbial fitness pothole.

You will need to change your program up once in a while for these reasons. Maybe you’ll hurt your knee, or your shoulder, and you’ll need to switch things up. Don’t worry about it! Embrace the change and the chance to work on a different skill set that has perhaps been lagging behind.

Maybe you’ll be at the gym and you’ll be limited by the available equipment. I know I am all the time. Dumbbells aren’t big enough? Do your bulgarians with a barbell. Use this as a chance to try a new variation of that exercise. Or be creative and find a way to do the exercise anyway.

Creativity is one of the most valuable assets that any coach, S&C professional, personal trainer, or general fitness enthusiast can have in his tool belt.

3. Don’t sweat the little things

It’s easy to look at this story and say, “Well, it’s easy for you to accept, it’s just an IPod.” It’s more than the IPod, so you can’t let the IPod get to you. You can’t sweat the IPod.

You can’t sweat the little things in your program. Hm, should I use a 5×3 or a 3×5 rep scheme for this exercise? What if I don’t get exactly 8 reps? Am I doing enough facepulls? How many grams of carbs should I eat today? What if I only run 3.7 miles today instead of 3.8? Did I hit my biceps hard enough today?

Stop.

Know what counts? The big things. Progressive overload. Specificity. Frequency. Intensity. Consistency. If you do those things, you will get better at whatever you want or reach whatever goal you have in mind.

4. Don’t leave beef jerky unattended

This one goes without saying, but nothing good ever happens when you leave beef jerky unattended. Sometimes, my clients and coworkers decide to have a jerky feast against my will. Other times, Sasquatch breaks into your truck and takes your beef jerky right out from under your nose.

The suspected perp.

It’s all fun and games until someones beef jerky gets stolen. Damn Sasquatch.

Conclusion

We can learn a lot from a small incident like this and, with a couple stretched analogies, we can see how lessons in the weight room directly carry over to everyday life, and vice versa.

What’s funny about the fitness industry is its tendency to sweat the small things and ignore the larger principles that have stood the test of time. Most people don’t need to worry about whether their intervals are 20 seconds long or 20 minutes long. Most shouldn’t worry about whether they’re hitting their biceps hard enough. Or at all. The same goes for their six-pack.

There are only a few true principles that have outlasted all others.

  1. Show up every day and be consistent. Don’t miss days. Don’t skip meals. Not every day must be perfect, but you must give effort each day.
  2. Focus on the big picture before the small stuff. Big lifts. Lean meat, vegetables, and water. Some form of running. Some form of mobility. Focus on one of those each day. Except lean meat, vegetables, and water. Focus on those err’day.
  3. Be creative. This amounts to have fun. Don’t let exercise get in the way of life. And don’t let it make you unhappy. If you like to run, run more. If you like to lift, lift more. If you like to eat chocolate cake, stop eating chocolate cake (that was harsh, sorry). Just realize that balance is key and must be present.

That’s about it.

Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife. And lock your car.

Run and tell that, homeboy.

 

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