• Nicholas Kent

Training Journal - 15/7/21 - stick to the damn program!

It can be the bane of a superficial existence, but nevertheless an existence, is sticking to the damn program!

Consistency is king, but progress is ultimately by design, so sticking to something that deliberately moves you forward is the key to success in any caper... The hard thing for me, and many a trainee, is consistency at the program and not getting distracted or thrown off course in some capacity. Being thrown off course can come in many forms; injury, life, sickness, distraction. No matter how well versed we are, sticking to the program is as much a skill within training as a perfect handstand, barbell snatch or kettlebell get-up, and it seems often times in training that the deeper you get, the harder this skill can be. The great coach Dan John put it well in an interview with Mark Rippetoe once...

"I can coach anybody, except for this idiot" (pointing back at himself)

Sticking to the program has always been a major hurdle personally, in training and other... I can stumble into decent outcomes through a round-about consistency of chipping away at things eventually, rather than methodically working through a systematic protocol over appreciable time toward (a probably higher level of) success. "Embracing the suck", "falling in love with the process" or whatever other cliché saying you want to attach to it, has always been my sticking point with the things that I find a bit trickier. Dare I say that I'm probably not alone on this one.

An old trick that we've probably all heard before about achieving goals, or at least keeping them in sight, is by letting others know about it. Letting the world know (not bragging - don't be a douche) as opposed to keeping it to yourself as a means of accountability and external onus - probably not a bad idea, an idea that we know logically makes sense but many of us still resist despite knowing what's good for us. We all gotta eat our greens and take our shitty tasting medicine.

Step one is the training journal... this thing. Nothing crazy, just accountability. My foot/ankle/knee is basically cactus for a while, so why not just hone a weakness and put to work the theory that we all know, but is seldom practiced - sticking to the damn program!

Due to the aforementioned lower limb situation I've chosen pull-ups as the main course so to speak. Something I'm not historically amazing at, but know I could use more of - you'll never meet somebody who's out of shape who can bust out 10 pristine controlled pull-ups at the drop of a hat. They're a self-regulating type of movement, in that if you get too heavy you'll probably get worse at them, so proficiency at one thing indirectly keeps you in check at another thing. Upper body strength and control has always been my shortfall - I'm genetically all legs, hips and ass so I naturally gravitate away from doing the due work at a weakness like pull-ups and gear towards my stronger attributes, like squats... a very human trait. Pull-ups are simple, accessible and a tried and true staple by any coaches standards, so verdict is in that in my current situation, this absolutely would not be a waste of time.

Coupling this little journey is the journaling itself, for me it's the other... Writing as a pursuit for me is something that also falls at the hurdle of sheer consistency and "embracing the suck". The countless parallels between good, honest success in training and success at writing (and many other things) is profound and thus makes what needs to be done so much clearer in the muddy, unfamiliar world of the writing artform. Training I'm versed at, writing I'm not. But they share a common and such fundamental thread - consistency. Many a writer profess to having no idea what they're actually doing, but they just kept doing something! That effort, combined with time and learning honed their craft to eventually doing it well, and what seemed daunting, annoying and plain awful into comfortable, satisfying and beautiful. We all gotta eat our greens, but do it enough and it'll eventually taste good.

So as a dandy little trick I'm coupling the lower hanging fruit of a physical project - the pull ups thing - with a more aspirational goal of writing more, so I'm journaling about pull-ups, for now.

Even if nobody reads this, this is me telling you...


Today; Pull-ups:

2EMOM x 16, total = 32 reps

** For anybody that might not know, EMOM stands for 'Every Minute On the Minute'. Basically this means you do an exercise (say, a pull-up) at the start of every minute and rest the remainder of that minute. When the next minute starts, repeat and continue this pattern for however many minutes you are doing it for. In the case above, I did 2 pull-ups every minute on the minute for 16 minutes for a total of 32 pull-ups.

I'll elaborate a different time why this method is awesome, but just wanted to clarify the lexicon in case...