The recipe for a great workout is simple, right? Training + Nutrition + Recovery = a killer body! Right? Well, this is almost accurate, but not quite. Let’s take a look at the most crucial link that you might be missing out in your workout equation.
Interactions and detailed studies with sports trainers and gym experts have found multiple cases of the most dedicated clients putting in more than reasonable efforts and still only able to achieve barely satisfactory results. Some were the most dedicated clients you would come across, in their training shorts, working out as soon as the gym gates were open, following the diet down to every grain, training, and recovering properly but still unhappy with the results!
This led to many people concluding that they were just not doing enough. Do more became their first cry. They exclaimed: work harder! Come on, you lazy bugger! However, little do they know, the problem doesn’t lie in laziness or lack of passion. Let’s delve deeper.
This pattern of shedding blood, sweat, and tears in the gym and yet not getting where you needed to be, has been observed by fitness enthusiasts for a long time. For god knows how long, there was immense thought put into what could be done to make it better. Let’s look at a possible (albeit hypothetical) scenario.
One day, one of the trainees at a gym opened up his lunch, and lo and behold, it contained the famed brown rice and pulses: the staple of a person undergoing intense training for intense results. Then, the trainer asked this gym member ”How do you feel after this meal?” and his response was “full”. He added, “how else am I supposed to feel?”
In that response was the answer to why the results were not up to the mark. You might ask: why is it that pushing oneself was still not enough? There was a stark feeling of not feeling satisfied with the results. The conclusion is that the process is not satisfying enough and that is projecting itself into the results.
The old approach of gym trainers is to look at training in an extremely process-oriented manner. Want to get buff? There are routines for that. Want to lose weight? There are routines and diet charts and all kinds of macro controls to help achieve those results. However, what these processes ignore blatantly is mental health. Everything in the process to train, from putting on your compression underwear to driving up to the gym and breaking sweat should be filled with satisfaction.
The x-factor, indeed, is emotions. Emotions and feelings play a big part in the training. When you end up cheating on the routine, you curse yourself for slacking off. The negativity of guilt flows through the cheat day into your routine. The law of diminishing returns starts applying to your workout schedule. Trainers and people who workout alike, start thinking about the body in extremely mathematical terms.
The fact of the matter is, emotions and mental health can never be dictated by numbers. Your satisfaction is the result of many complex decision-making systems instilled in your body which are, of course, driven by your subconscious mind.
If in your subconscious, you are not satisfied, it might project itself years later when you dedicate hours into your workout routine, which you do not like or doesn’t seem to work well for you. This is the root cause of the reason why some people never hit the levels they set out for themselves as goals they want to achieve.
Hold On! Don’t Leave It Up To Chance
Saying it’s all up to emotions and leaving it at that, however, is also not going to quite cut it for you to hit the lofty fitness ambitions you have set out for. Everything, including emotions, boil down to a few basic things, and monitoring them isn’t as hard as we might assume.
Our subconscious is the driving force behind our behavior and emotions. Behavior is a result of what we feel, as our feelings are our first line of information processing. First, something happens, then you feel something, then you respond.
Event + Feeling/Emotional Response = Reactive Behavior
It mostly serves us well by letting us know when there is danger, who we can trust, and tells us about what we truly value. This is where the expression “follow your gut” comes from, as it can be difficult to articulate why you are having a particular emotional response in time to make a rational decision.
Will You Die For It?
All this talk about being happy and satisfied emotionally is great. However, it is very easy to fall in the trap of liking something when it’s new and fresh, something to expand your horizons both physically and mentally. Don’t think workouts are just a physical game, as your head needs to be at the top of its game too.
So the question you should pose to yourself is … Will I stick to this routine if my life depended on it? Will you love the process with the same intensity 10 years later, like you did when you first started? Is this something that is a part of your happy time? If you have answered in the affirmative, then and only then, should you go through the turmoil of pushing your very extendable limits of physical and mental strength. The formula then becomes:
Training + Nutrition + Recovery + Satisfaction = Sustained Effort = Mastery Level Results
Go get your sweat on! But only if you love it to death.