Learning the value of focus
Staying focused used to be a relatively simple concept. In my day, one would go to the gym, train a body part or two, maybe do some cardio afterwards and then head home to eat and get on with the day. I grew up wanting to be a bodybuilder - I fell in love with it back when I was 16. It was the story you’ve heard many times before: I bought a weight set for my basement, did the exercises on the included chart. After a few months I bought a book on working out, subscribed to Muscle and Fitness and started reading about the world of bodybuilding and training. The magazine would come out once a month, giving me time to try the new program of the month and see if I liked it and if it worked.
Putting in the time, for years
When I was feeling I was ready for the next step, I joined the local hard core gym and followed the workouts of the big “muscleheads." These were very simplistic routines, but the actual work involved wasn't simple. When you trained, you trained hard. It was challenging, it was brutal, and it was extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Months and months of discipline and hard work started to pay off. I followed this “routine” for years and years. As time progressed, so did my body.
During this time, I went to school to increase my knowledge. My passion at that time was looking for ways to improve my physique. I never would have guessed that this same passion would spill over into a profession that would allow me to help others improve too. My career was set, as I transformed into a certified personal trainer and coach.
We are not machines
I touched on my background very briefly to show what I mean by “staying focused.” I learned from a very early age that results take a long time to be recognized. I was satisfied with this, as it was the journey that was the main focus, not the outcome (that came later when I would eventually compete as a natural bodybuilder). In fact, it was 17 years after I first picked up a weight that I was truly satisfied with the image of how I wanted my physique to look. Seems like forever, right? That’s what staying focused is. It goes with any type of goal you want to achieve. You stay the course, work hard, make sacrifices, and continue this process until you achieve your goal.
Not every workout is going to be phenomenal. You’re not going to be strict with your diet all the time. What matters is consistency and persistence. To me, consistency and persistence are the two factors that make the difference in achieving your goals. We aren’t machines. We will have up days and down days, but we must embrace whatever type of day we have. That entails staying focused.
Why do most people “flunk” in the gym?
Again, focus seems like a relatively easy concept to follow. If all the gurus tell us so, then why is that most people “flunk” in the gym? Why such a huge drop out rate for gym goers? Why do more people seem lost and confused than ever before? I can sum it up with two phrases:
- Instant gratification
- Social media
I definitely think this has caused more attention deficits (myself included) than even television. With the advent of social media, everyone becomes instant celebrities, instant armchair experts and, my favorite, instant fitness experts.
Social media’s fitness experts
Let’s focus on these so called experts. Being very general:
- Genetically Gifted:You have the ones who are genetically elite and walk around with ripped abs all year long. They are the ones that most people will listen to because nothing says fitness expert more than a great set of abs.