Friday, January 15, 2010

Controlled Suffering

I love Pauline Nordine, and it's not just for her incredibley hot body combined with the sexy, Swedish accent. When it comes to keeping in good shape, few probably have things as clear in mind as she does. On her Facebook page the other day, she came out with these gem of fitness wisdom:

"You can't enjoy every workout. People who think every workout is happy fun fun usually never push the limit on what they can endure, perform, execute. Nothing wrong with that approach, but it's like sayin' "oh I love to go for a walk!" to someone who's been doing three hours of powerwalking with a 50lbs weight vest ev...ery day for four months in order to lose all the bulge. It ain't fun all the time! and it's ok!"

"I also don't believe in moderation so I do a LOT. Moderate results require moderate effort. Extreme ideals take extreme measurements. "

Those of us reading this know that the world around us is ridiculously soft. Industrialized nations, generally speaking, have moved their cultures in directions where we barely move our bodies for any reason and certainly not for any useful purposes. We sit, we get sick, and we manage this through pills, procedures and surgeries.

Then, every so often, a few of the sendentary/sedated get the idea that they need to get off their ass and start training. The modern rendition of gyms aren't much help. They're almost as soft as those seeking to get hard. People sit too much. We can all agree on that much. Well, take a look at most gym equipment.
How much of it is a piece of machinery that, to use, you have to sit or lay down in? Obviously, progress is doomed to be limited. A little while ago, they did one of those DUH! studies and found out that you get more ab work if you do standing ab exercises rather than sitting and lying down ones. So, this constant quest to make exercise palatable and comfortable isn't getting a lot of us anywhere.

By trying to make it comfortable is missing the biggest reason why we're soft: we avoid suffering, hardship, pain, and discomfort like it was a swine flu epidemic (which, if you follow my FB page, you now know I was right about that one. Told you so!). If you want to be successfull with your fitness goals, then you must accept all of these as an absolutely necessary part of your training regimen. When you get right down to it, training is the art and science of administering the right amount of physical suffering. If you expose yourself to the right kind, at the right amount, and at the right time, your body, mind and spirit become stronger.

"Your flesh is killing your spirit"

We have to do this because everything has to be practiced to become good at it, even the stuff that we perceive as something negative. You just have to do it in a lesser, more controlled manner. Boxers don't like to get punched but to learn to avoid it, they have to be punched. The best warriors in the history of war were often times excellent game hunters.

In my last blog entry, I talked about how our tolerance to stress is getting worse and our quality of life is suffering. After spending the first 100,000-or-so years of our existence laboring ourselves do death, we thought that the way to live happily ever after was to avoid as much stress as possible. It's not working. Those of us who enjoy training (or at least understand the necessity of it) understand this. Ultimately, it's up to us to show this to the rest of the world. It's the rest of the world's responsiblity to listen up.


Chad said...

Hey Justin, I just found your site a couple of weeks ago and really enjoy your take on fitness. I recently moved and no longer have access to a gym and frankly can't afford the 80 bucks a month either. I'm interested in installing a hook in the ceiling for the pullups. Can you point me to a site on how to do that safely so i don't put a hole in the wall? Thanks

n8tive said...

Ordinary workouts bring ordinary results.But we all know that dont we??? Good blog entry, you are on fire since you have been back at it again :)

Justin_PS said...


You'd be surprised! ;)

Chad, this is pretty simple, if you have the right tools...

1. Get a stud finder, a hook with a lag screw end, and a drill that's got a bit that's a little smaller than the diameter of the hook.

2. Use the stud finder and find the center of the stud in the ceiling. Verify it. You're going to be hanging from this thing. Mark off the center.

3. Drill a pilot hold into the stud, making damn sure you're going straight into the stud.

4. screw the hook in. Since the hook will be larger than the hole, you may need a screwdriver to twist it in.

You're ready to go! If this didn't make any sense to you, then you may want to consider either having someone do this for you or find another way to set yourself up for towel pull-ups.