It's a Marriage not an Affair

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It's a Marriage not an Affair

Post  Chris on Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:33 am

Just some thoughts about training that occurred to me recently.

For a good while I have thought that there was an inordinate amouint of drama surrounding the topic of training and the mentality of people who partake in physical training, especially martial arts training. On any given day I can guarantee that I will see at least one example of each of the following.

A blazing argument about what is "good" training and what is "bad" training.
A glorious and triumphant review of the latest boot camp, zumba, kick fit craze
A bitter and vindictive row between people who were previously comrades in arms in one area or another related to physical exercise and training.

I honestly and truly believe that most people run into trouble when they view training in the same light as a love affair rather than an marriage.

When you are in the midst of a love affair you only see what is immediately in front of you. The exciting new thing that has captured your imagination. In training this creates zealots who after a week are shouting from the rooftops the benefits of their latest love interest. They are enraptured and enthralled... BUT.... their affection has no depth. They don't know enough wbout what the training is giving them mentally, physically and emotionally to guage effectively its long term impact on their life.

When you are in the midst of a love affair you are running at 100 miles an hour. Living at a pace that is unsustainable. This is the problem with new training regimes. The first flush of affection burns out and before long the individual finds themselves incapable of lasting the pace.

Nothing feels as good as the beginning of a love affair. It is exciting, challenging, fulfilling. Within the field of physical training once this initial buzz wears off they are like a junkie seeking a new fix. Constantly looking for the new high.

Short term fulfillment is the name of the game for too many people who train.

When you are married to your training then it becomes a part of your life. It isn't an additional thing, it's not something that you do outside of your "life" it is simply part of who you are.

When you are married, you aren't looking for the new thing, you are looking to develop, deepen and grow. Change for changes sake is not the name of the game. The idea is to build on what you have, the hours, days, months and years of committment to a cause. The new shiney thing may be an addition to who you are but your training is what you are.

When you are married you are in for the long haul. The days when you can't be bothered to try. The days when you are bored, irritated, exasperated and feel like you aren't making headway at all. Those aren't the days when you look for new affiars and new excitement. Those are the days when you lace up the training boots or shoes and accept that today sucks but tomorrow or the next day will be better.

I am always flabbergasted with people who have the attention span of a mayfly. They are constantly looking for the next thing in their lives without ever taking the time to understand the thing they are leaving behind. I find it laughable that so many can believe for example that a lifetime of neglect or poor practice can be reversed with a six week " get shredded" programme or a "drop a dress size for Christmas" campaign. Training isn't a periodic thing, it can't and should not be measured as a project that has an end date.. it is a lifetime committment.

I have no issue at all with anyone wanting to try something new, whether that is part of their training or in other areas of their life but I find it amazing that some people can constantly be moving between "new" things without ever really putting in the grind and foundations to achieve a measure of competence in any of them. I like people who get married to their training. Not people who are married to opinions about their training and have closed minds but people who are married to the pursuit of their goals. That's a lifetime achievement that should be as natural as breathing.

I read a great anecdote once, can't remember where I got it from unfortunately but it speaks volumes about training and how some people view it. A guy bought a new rifle and had a few quid left over. He went around asking everyone he knew how much he should spend on a nice new scope for his nice new weapon. He got a multitude of answers giving him advice on which scope to spend his money on then the one absolute gem that cut to the heart of the matter. It simply advised, "take the money and spend it on ammunition at the range."

That's the difference between an affair and a marriage in one sentence.

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Re: It's a Marriage not an Affair

Post  Socrates on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:11 am

Hey Chris.

Have you read Easy Strength? It's a good book on strength training for athletes (including weekend warriors...) by Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John. You can get it for the Kindle here:

The authors have done a lot of work on putting people who train into different categories. To cut a long story short, pretty much any adult who trains martial arts in their spare time is in Q3.

The book has an amazing bit of advice for everyone in Q3. You need to divide your total training time up into three blocks. The authors recommend spending about 80% of our time on mastering the skills of one main activity. Another 10% should be spent improving one or two physical qualities in the gym. One of these qualities will be strength. Another could be power, explosiveness, hypertrophy or whatever.

The remaining 10% is for everything else: cross-training in another activity, warming up, cooling down, conditioning work, stretching/mobility, rehab/prehab, roadwork, sprints, "the exciting new thing that has captured your imagination" or whatever...

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