Last week I posted a video to my social media (see here) of myself doing a ridiculous drop set and I had a few people contact me and say. “Do I need to be training like that? You looked like you were in extreme pain, is that safe?”
The short answer is no, you don’t have to train like that. There are hundreds, if not thousands of methods that can get you results.
It’s a matter of finding ones that you can identify with and are safe for you. It’s about finding a style that can navigate you from point A to point B in a safe and efficient manner.
Be careful when a coach or a trainer says you have to train a certain way, because it’s not always the truth. There should be no one-way to do something in order to get results.
If I gave all my clients, both online and face-to-face, that style of workout, then chances are I might not have many of them coming back and I could potentially injure them.
Discomfort can equal pleasure and achievement
The amusing part of it is that it was probably one of the most fun workouts I have done in a long time… Because I’m generally focused on a strength style of lifting, I don’t ever really go to that level of volume; and it pushed me into an uncomfortable direction of training. When I was actually in the moment of training, yes, I was experiencing a big level of discomfort… but once I had pushed myself through that set, there was a huge sense of achievement. I had made it through and felt like I had accomplished something!
Conditioning yourself to levels of discomfort on a regular basis will provide great returns. Let’s be honest, just about all exercise or training pushes you into a certain level of discomfort. If you’re a gym regular, then you become accustomed to it and derive a level of satisfaction from it. On the other hand, if it’s your first workout in years, chances are your tolerance will be low and the pain won’t be something that you enjoy.
This is applicable in not only my physiology, but also in my psychology too. I feel good when I’m challenged and I push myself. I remember those workouts and re-live them. However, the workouts that I do that I don’t push myself in, I don’t remember or particularly enjoy.
The analogy is that in ten years’ time, you won’t remember the easy choices or things that don’t push you. Will you remember the times you skipped the gym and went home to watch re-runs of Seinfeld? Or when you didn’t ask that person out on a date…?
One of my favourite quotes on this topic, is from a Olympic strength coach, Jerzy Gregorek: “Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” See Tim Ferriss’ interview with him here.
Remember, making those hard choices will give you much more satisfaction and when you look back on past decades, you will have achieved something. Don’t play the short game for comfort, push yourself and reap the rewards.
P.s. If you enjoyed this article see my article on Getting outside your comfort zone for breakthroughs in performance.
See video version of this article below