• Vic’s Log, September 7: The Journey of a Thousand Miles

    Vic’s Log, September 7: The Journey of a Thousand Miles

    Most people are amazed at how early civilizations managed to build incredible monuments without the help of any kind of elaborate machinery. Think about Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, or Chichen Itza for a minute. Even better find some photos of these monuments on the web and imagine how people carried huge stones over surprisingly long distances. Two key elements come to mind: effort and consistency.

    Of course they needed impressive manpower (not always participating of their free will), but the fact is that nothing happens easily. Over our evolution as a species, we continually look for more efficient and faster ways to do things. We want to spend less effort and save more time.

    This thought process eventually pushes us to find shortcuts to reach any goal: elevators, copy machines, microwaves, etc., etc. But when it comes to physical training and achieving long term results, there are very few hacks and tricks that work. The two key elements are still there, as they were a few thousands years ago: effort and consistency.

    Effort 

    In sport science, the principle of Supercompensation has been studied over and over. In simple terms, our body is extremely good at adapting to whatever we ask it to do repeatedly. If your training is always the same, with the same movements and the same resistance (a.k.a. weight), at the same speed, and with the same level of complexity, then we reach a plateau where no more progress is made. No muscle gain, no weight loss, and no skill improvement. We need to constantly, but incrementally increase the demands on our body and mind.

    When a skill becomes easy with a specific kettlebell, or a specific weight on the barbell, it’s time to add a bit more weight or to find a way to make this skill slightly more difficult or complex, but still keep it safe.

    Consistency 

    In training, like in diet, the rule is to maintain consistency all the time. You wouldn’t think that sleeping non stop for 3 days then staying constantly awake for a whole week works. We know that doesn’t end up very well. The bad news is you cannot train once a month for 8 hours and expect to see any results — unless massive muscle soreness is the result you desire. Not only will you make more progress by training for an hour twice a week, but the quality of your training will be massively improved. Starting fresh at the beginning of each session amplifies the physical results, the skill practice, and your ability to recover faster and to avoid injuries.

    So is it better to train every day? Ideally yes, but only if you are able to recover completely between each session, and if there is enough variability in your training.

    In summary, build your body like they built the pyramids, but without the whips and the chains – unless you are into that. Train often, train smart, and periodically challenge yourself. Remember that the pyramids weren’t built in a month. Everything takes time. There is no magic pill or amazing body hack. Consistency and Effort will ALWAYS get you where you want to go.

    Training ideas for this week:

    Idea #1: Commit to at least three classes this week

    • For the first class of the week, go slightly lighter than usual, focusing on perfect form and quick precision.
    • For the second class of the week, use a slightly heavier bell, as long as you can safely maintain good form. Focus on power and strength.
    • For the third class of the week, go back to your usual bell(s) and see how your “normal” bell now feels. Depending on how it feels, decide if it’s time to bell up more permanently!

    Idea #2: If you are training at home and decide to bell up, it’s maybe time to trade in for a slightly heavier bell, or work on leveraging the one you have (ask us for ideas, we can help)

    Idea #3: Every day you’re not taking a class, spend at least 15 minutes training on your own, doing some mobility drills or calisthenics (we all know the GFE!).

    –Vic Verdier

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