Are You Too Committed?

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The other day I gave people an inside look into some of the books I’m either currently reading, or going to be reading sometime in the near future. One book, which admittedly I’ve been pimping quite a lot lately is Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.

You see, even when I read books that don’t talk about making people freaky strong (or are even remotely fitness related for that matter), I still try to take many of the concepts and ideas that I read about and see whether or not I can apply them to help or motivate my clients attain their goals – whatever they may be. Or, more to the point, help me to recognize more of the business and/or psychological components that goes into training people on a daily basis.

As much as we’d like to think that helping people get stronger, faster, leaner, or more badass is about individualized program design, exercise selection, and manipulation of things such as sets/reps, rest intervals, and tempo; there’s also a hyyooooggge psychological aspect that can comes into play.

That said, one of the more interesting things that I came across while reading the book was this whole notion of commitment. Without question, if you were to ask anyone what traits encompass an individual who routinely follows an exercise program you’d undoubtedly hear words like:

– dedicated

– goal oriented

– hard working

– is that a mack truck or your abs?

AND, of course

– committed

Something to think about, however, is whether not being committed is actually a good thing? According to the authors, not really. For example, when referring to fat-loss, we all know of someone who heads to the gym everyday only to follow the same, mundane, run-of-the-mill routine they’ve been doing for the past five years.

Not coincidentally this routine usually consists of 45-60 minutes of steady state cardio, maybe a few light sets of arm curls and leg extensions, an endless number of sit-ups, and me, in the corner, throwing my face against a brick wall (repeatedly), wondering why people continue to think that this is an efficient way to lose fat.

In short, these people are so committed to their old, archaic ways, and have been doing it for so long, that it’s simply too hard for them to let go. Put another way, they’ve fallen victim to the sway of commitment, and it’s quite literally preventing them from reaching their goals.

I know it’s kind of ass-backwards to say, but if we were to get them to DE-commit, and have them throw away their treadmill, incorporate more strength training into their routine, throw in a day (or two) of interval training, and help them understand that they’re wasting their time when it comes to sit-ups (as they say, a six-pack starts in the kitchen), I’m willing to bet they’d see remarkable progress in a matter of weeks.

Similarly, we can look at the strength side of things and notice the same thing – dudes showing up each and every day, performing 3×10 on everything and then wonder why their bench numbers never go up. It’s hard for them to look at a program like Show and Go (for example) and think to themselves that they could have been missing the boat for the past ten years. DOH!!

So, in the end, I guess the question then becomes – how committed are you?

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