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  • Matt Ferrara BS C.S.C.S

Two Hard Training Pills To Swallow

“I don’t like this exercise”


“I don’t like it when my heart rate gets too high”


“I don’t like to lift weights. Can we just do bodyweight exercises”


“I’m tired. Can we just do sitting exercises today?”


As a strength and conditioning coach I’m told all too often the things people don’t like to do. In fact, these are all real word-for-word quotes I’ve gotten from clients over the years.


Unfortunately, it’s usually those things you don’t want to do that are going to give you the results you want.


I Love My Job, But You Might Not


You see, my job is to make you do the things you don’t want to when you come to the gym. Sure there is time to have some fun, but you hire me to give you results and that comes first.

Enjoying the process is an important part of long term success, but it can’t come at the expense of efficiency and results.


I know that seems somewhat simple, but that concept is lost upon many of the clients I have worked with in the past.


They have an idea of what they like to do and what they don’t, and they also have an idea of what they consider effective and not effective. After all, they can feel what’s happening and I can only rely on what I see and feedback from them.


Wait a minute… do they even need me? After all, you can find free workouts online that have exercises you like to do and go to planet fitness…..


The resulting cost would be much easier on your wallet, but I’d be willing to bet the progress you make will be slim to none.


Two Harsh Truths of Training:


Let me introduce you to two hard to swallow training pills. The sooner you grab a tall glass of water and suck these down, the better.


1: Training is doing the things you need to do, not just the things you want to do.


The biggest change I can make to someone’s fitness is to switch them from simply working out to actually training.


There are quite a few differences between the two, but one of the main ones is that training involves doing the things you need to do instead of those you just want to do.


If you are going to the gym consistently and not seeing results it is most likely because you are avoiding the things you need to be working on.


I’ve fallen into this trap as well multiple times throughout my training career. For example, I used to skip most of my accessory work after the main lifts.


I would deadlift or squat to a heavy set, strip the bar down and do some curls, then go home. It was hard so I told myself I was making progress. Makes sense right? Hard work must equal results. I’ve seen that on tee shirts and tattoos so it must be true...


Not so fast.


What I really needed to be doing was the assistance work such as rows and hamstring work to help increase my squat and deadlift numbers.


Instead, I only did the things I wanted to do and as a result I didn’t get any stronger although I was working pretty hard and spending a somewhat significant portion of my free time in a weight room.


My job is to make you do the things you need, not what you want.


I can certainly take your money and write a program that is “fun” for you and stand there with a stopwatch and say “nice job”. In fact, this would make my job tremendously easier and probably make people like me a whole lot more.


But my job isn’t to make you like me, it’s to help you reach your goals. That is going to take a decent amount of discomfort as well as trust in me as the coach and yourself.


2: How you feel is a lie.


As a beginner, everything is going to feel hard. If the hardest physical thing you have ever done is walk up the stairs, squatting a 12 kilogram kettlebell is going to feel hard.


It’s not.


I know that, and you now know that. Just about anyone can squat a 12kg bell without too

much struggle barring any serious injury or medical condition.


But your body doesn’t know that.


Your body wants to stay comfortable and maintain homeostasis. In fact, a large part of the reason you are currently out of shape is that simple fact. If we were born to seek discomfort, our species would have died out a long time ago.


The process of training involves purposefully seeking to push past our limits and enter the zone of discomfort in order for the body to adapt.


Your body is going to fight you on this and send you signals of discomfort and fatigue to make you stop. You need to learn to push through this as you have a whole other level of performance that you don't even know exists.


I would argue that most beginners are only aware of about 50% of the current strength they have. For women, this tends to be on the lower end for societal and cultural reasons depending on their environment and upbringing.


Helping you find that strength and then building upon it is one of the most fulfilling things in life for me.


Now What?


These statements hit pretty hard when you think about them for a bit, and may even ruffle some feathers. If your neck is getting a little hot and you are thinking of sending me a nasty email, this article is probably for you.


Take an honest look at your program and see if the limited resources you have are being put towards reaching your goals. If they aren't, what can you change?


Interested in a free program audit? Contact me via email and we can set up a plan to get you back on track.


As always, make sure to follow me on instagram @chasingstr3ngth as that is where most of my content is put out.




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