I was having a conversation yesterday with a fellow trainer about building and maintaining clientele. She made a comment about people being busy, and training being just another thing to add to their already busy schedules.
This is definitely true, and it was a reminder to me about how training is just not a relevant part of most people's lives.
The disconnect for me lies in my assumption that everyone wants to be strong, capable, and resilient. This is obviously not the case.
Why is it, and how did it come about that being weak is an acceptable choice?
How does passively watching and allowing your body to break down and your muscle tissue waste away along with your abilities seem like a reasonable thing?
How does this help you in the long run? How does your family benefit?
People don't work physical jobs anymore, and most don't do much of anything active. Training is about the only way to keep from losing your edge. The problem seems to me, most people don't seem to give a shit enough about themselves or the people around them to even care.
I've written before about how training can make you ''harder to kill, and generally more useful." (Mark Rippetoe) Last week, the Northeast experienced a pretty nasty mix of sleet, freezing rain, and snow. I spent some time over two days clearing people out. The aftermath was a nasty mess of frozen snow and ice that left many people stuck.
I was able to break a lot up with a plow and shovel and then push each person out. Each time I had to wedge myself between the car and the snow covered ground while having the driver shift between forward and reverse to rock the car as I half squatted, half bench pressed the car up and over the ice and snow blocking their tires. I could feel the exact timing of when I had to engage the muscles in my legs, midsection, shoulders and arms to create the drive to push against the car. I knew when I was going to get the car clear and was able to tell the driver to stay on the gas BECAUSE I know what it feels like to fight with weight, how to keep my mind and body engaged and how it feels to overcome resistance.
Each time I got a car free, it was a small, perhaps simple victory. The driver was thrilled to go from feeling trapped and hopeless to seeing it all work out. I walked away knowing that I had my edge, and that the time I spent training was what gave me the ability to help each of those people. I'm pretty sure that of the 5 cars I cleared out, not one driver was unhappy that I chose to make getting strong, fit, capable, and resilient a priority in my life.
Most people don't care about being able to squat, deadlift, press, or clean a lot of weight. They don't get excited about strongman, odd object lifting, or becoming more athletic. Cool, I get it.
How about being able to get yourself, or someone else, out of a jam?
How about being capable to handle yourself if faced with violence?
How about looking like the type of person to avoid targeting to begin with?
How about just some plain old injury prevention and longevity in a day and age of shaky medical coverage?
At some point in time you must assess yourself. Are you really okay with taking an active role in your decline?
Jim Wendler wrote something about burning his body down looking for the best answers for himself and others. I love it. It's in my head all the time. It's like the heathens' talk of Odin, sacrificing himself to himself.
I know my answer. I hope you're with me.
Eric Chasko is the head of Redemption Fight Club. He is a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Progressive Fighting Systems Full Instructor. From young athletes to busy professionals, he helps people develop the physical, mental, and emotional strength to win on the field, on the street, and in life.