In today's world it's a proven fact, and evident to see we as a society are in the worst shape we've ever been. It's a fact as well, which can easily be seen in any form of mass media, that despite this worldwide obesity epidemic we're also more conscious and obsessed with our physique's, or outward appearance then ever before. We are collectively in the worst shape body composition wise, yet like no prior time in history body composition is BIG business, and a public obsession.
I believe these two factors, over obsession with reaching a direct goal, and not reaching said goal or actually regressing in the opposite direction, go hand in hand. They are due to looking to closely at the end result and not putting enough weight, importance, and enjoyment into the steps to reach the goals. Its a fault in the public mind set.
Take a look at 90% of athletes and what do you see?
You see a strong, powerful, and desired physique.
Its these very physiques that many people wish to achieve, be it the slim tight gymnast, the massive and powerful NFL defensive lineman, or the ripped and jacked Olympic sprinter. Its also these very people the media outlets force on you as the ideal physique, and the ones to strive for.
The problem is people, and the media, are looking to put the horse in front of the cart.
You see and desire the physique and don't see the real picture of what it takes to achieve it. You take a mind set to the polar opposite of the athlete whom has the physique and you train directly for it as opposed to training for what caused that physique as a byproduct. You might even adopt the exact training plan and diet of this athlete, (as advertised in the latest for profit publication of course), but you don't adopt the critical mind set.
I believe the cure, to this epidemic, and to everyone reaching their goal of a lean powerful physique lies in athletics. More in the mindset (performance based) then the actual activity, though I'd love to see more people commit to a sport or activity and feel it could largely be a quick fix by asserting the mindset and activity in one swoop.
The athlete, the one who actually has attained this awesome physical presence did so NOT by aiming to look HOT, but as a byproduct of his or her athletic training. By striving to perform better at their given sport. By eating and training with a performance based mind. By setting ultimate and mini goals. By putting in the work every day, and doing so at an activity they love and enjoy.
Even physique athletes at the highest levels, who's actual goal in their given sport is appearance, use this performance based mindset 90% of the year. Why? It's the fastest and most measurable way to attain tangible results and traceable progress. If they perform better...if they get stronger in a particular exercise they will get bigger or denser given they eat for their goals.
Further more, and most importantly, athletic and or performance based thinking is positive, which keeps desire and motivation burning RED HOT.
* Athletes train and eat, they don't exercise and diet.
* Athletes continually reach and earn new training and nutrition stimulus as they conquer bench marks, as opposed to punishing ones self further when you adapt to a previous training or nutrition stimulus.
* Athletes set concrete goals and realistic steps to attain them, as opposed to broad unclear goals that are never reached or can be twisted and construed on a daily basis ("I just want to look good Nekid.")
Everything is done consistently with a focus on today's performance and how it adds to the whole. Things are done with a purpose, a desire, a passion and underlying enjoyment, as opposed to a concentration on the negative, self punishment and deprivation and doing things because they might help.
A lack of tangible reachable steps, a lack of joy and fun, and a focus on what you must deprive yourself from to reach your goals is no way to make a physical long term transformation.
Athletes and those who reach a great transformation be it in performance, body composition, or life in general, concentrate not overly on the big picture, but on the steps it takes to get them there. They make small manageable habitual changes and attain a great degree of enjoyment as they see calculated steps take them closer to that's ultimate goal.
In the following parts of this series I will share some personal examples from my own life in which I succeeded at this mindset, and several in which I failed miserably as it pertains simply to body composition. For the time being, take a step back, relax and take a long hard look at yourself, your goals and what method you use to propel you.
Phillip Stevens, BFA, MFA;
Director of Operations, Staley Training Systems
About The Author
Phil, while attaining both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in studio art found another passion, that of training and nutrition. A constant student, his real-world under-the-barbell and behind-the-fork approach has led to many an opportunity, experience, and change in his life as well as those he has worked.
Phil currently, aside from his varied work with Team Staley, is a working and showing artist ([http://www.philstevens.com]). His current personal fitness goals are to become a competitive force as middleweight strongman competitor, while building upon his power lifting experience in which he has seen as high as a top ten national ranking; with a two year goal of obtaining an elite ranking as a 242 or 275lb weight class RAW power lifter.
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