I was wrong
Sometimes, you have to admit you were wrong. Sometimes that can be quite hard to do, sometimes it means you have to swallow your pride and face up to it. Sometimes, however, you can be happy to be wrong.
I am happy to admit I was wrong.
If you have read a few of my posts on this site you may have detected a level of ‘negativity’ when it comes to what you can do and how far you can go when it comes to training and the human body. I say ‘negativity’ in inverted commas because that is definitely not the intention; I like to think of it as more of a reality check which then allows you to make attainable goals and learn to train for the enjoyment of it rather than just looking for results and getting dispirited when you don’t get anywhere near them.
But overall the message I’ve been preaching has been along those lines. I’ve even gone as far as to say that anyone who has been seriously training for more than three years probably hasn’t made any discernible progress since then because the body is not designed to become the superhuman levels of powerful you see in the enhanced world of pro sports and fitness modelling.
I definitely stand by that, but looking back over the past year on my training the results have forced me to realise I was wrong. You can make pretty big leaps of progress at any stage of your training career. How?
Up to the end of 2015, I had been lifting weights for around 10 years and as a natural lifter with averagely good genetics I firmly considered my days of progression basically over. In terms of adding significant muscle or gaining significant strength I didn’t think it was going to get much better for me, no matter how much I trained.
Since then though, I’ve had a profound shift in my life. I left my sedentary office job and became a full-time scuba diving professional. My whole way of life has changed, and I’ve gone from sitting in my chair for 8-10 hours a day to diving almost every day, being on my feet lifting equipment and tanks repeatedly. Anyone who has worked in the dive industry knows what I mean. I love what I do now, but the hours can be long and the work outside of the water certainly on the physical side.
You would think that having changed from a job where I had a huge excess of physical energy to one where I’m moving all day my training would suffer. In fact, it has made my body adapt, and that has produced an opportunity.
This past year, I’ve been enjoying my training more than ever. And that’s mainly because I’ve seen big progress in all areas of my strength and balance. Numbers that I’d been stuck with for literally years have been blown by and I feel as solid as I’ve ever felt when it comes to any of my lifts- from pull-ups to dips to bench press to squatting to core strength, everything is up, by a significant margin.
Take my strict overhead press for example, which is one of the hardest areas in which to progress beyond the initial gains. A year ago, I could hit 70kgs for 1 rep every now and again, if I was fresh. It was at the point where I seriously doubted I’d get anywhere near a bodyweight press, ever. One year later, I’m shooting for a 90kg press, with my current best at 87.5kgs. Repping 80kgs is normal now.
That’s a huge improvement on a difficult lift and a progression I still think is hard to fathom. And jumps like that blow my previous statements about not being able to progress much naturally out of the water.
So what’s the secret? I honestly can’t say exactly what it is, but it’s not a coincidence that this has happened since I changed my lifestyle and my way of life. It’s not as dramatic as going from a couch potato to super-active but I truly believe this leap has been down to my overall well-being just from enjoying life and generally being active. Being able to move and be physical every day, as well as being mentally happy with my life, has meant I’ve been able to tap into more of my training potential.
Just goes to show, you are probably capable of a lot more than you think. You just have to give yourself the opportunity to realise it. Physically, mentally, emotionally, we’re all able to evolve and re-adapt regardless of how ‘expert’ we believe we are or how long we have behaved a certain way.
As always, I love training because it shows me in a tangible way how to grow and how to become a better person. I love every moment I’m in there, chipping away, because the numbers don’t lie. You can demonstrably be stronger from one year to next. And if it’s physically possible, it’s mentally and intellectually possible too. No matter how long you’ve been doing something, thinking there is nothing much more to do or ways to progress, you can make a leap forward.
It just starts with shift of thinking, and a change. I was wrong, and I’m glad I am.