4 min read

Doing It All, At Once

This is what we know about training.

It’s cyclical.

That’s why you can’t do the same program for 6 months and expect to see results continuously.

This is why you can’t try to compete in a powerlifting meet and train for a marathon or triathlon at the same time, or at least expect to perform well at either of them, because you can’t max out all fitness qualities all the time.

This is also why you can’t possibly expect to perform at a high level ALL THE TIME.

It just doesn’t happen, it’s actually a universal truth beyond just training but mentally, occupationally and other aspects of your life are in this constant fluctuation, like the graph above.

It may suck, but that’s just the way it is…

Ideally the general trend you find in the cycle, means you’re improving, and that’s a good thing.

If you’re losing weight it will probably look more like this, but that’s a side track.

Obviously these graphs misrepresent the fact that training a muscular quality does not actually look like this indefinitely, any more than losing weight would.

If they continued on and on and on, we’d have people squatting 10,000 lbs, with sub-1% body fat and running marathons in an hour or so.

At a certain point, everyone peaks and your progress seems less and less.

That point is often referred to as, ‘the point of diminishing returns,’  and it’s true for so much more than just training.

You have two apparent choices at that moment, a) switch things up, with the intent to come back to it in a few hours/days/weeks/months time or b) move on to something entirely new, forgetting whatever it was, you were working on.

Too often though we divert our focus in too many directions, we try to juggle too much stuff, we think we can do it all.

What we really end up doing is a lot of stuff poorly, because we can’t do it all. What you really need is to focus on what’s important.

A lot of people I sit down with have 10 objectives.

They want to look good in a bathing suit, but they also want to run a marathon and they want to bench press their body weight and they want to do this and that and another thing.

The truth is, we can’t do it all at once, we need a focus. The less focus we have, the less likely it is we’ll meet our objectives.

The more focused we are on accomplishing one thing, the more likely it is we’ll achieve it.

I have a distant friend for instance, who is constantly complaining about being single. Now this person is constantly dating, so it can’t be that they can’t find someone ‘suitable.’

From what I’ve witnessed, the real problem is that this person is constantly struggling to grip the reality that making a commitment to one person, might mean they will miss out on the possibilities that another relationship may have to offer them.

Basically they never make a choice because they are overwhelmed by choices and any likelihood that they could be missing out on the benefits of a different decision.

(Check out the book, ‘The Paradox of Choice‘ for info on that.)

This is how many people approach fitness. It is also a major reason I believe people don’t find the success they are looking for.

There is an economic cost to everything you do (universal theory) called Opportunity Cost, that is basically the notion that you will always have to give up one possibility in favour of another.

Sounds horrible right?

Well only if you let it be.

First, in the case of my friend, they probably need to first be aware or realize that this is a reality of life, there are always options.

Second, it is probably the worst choice you can make in not making a choice, or avoiding making the decision to commit to something.

Third, the reality is that you cannot date everyone who seems interesting to you.

Fourth, they would need to realize that they are equally missing out on the opportunity to really get to know someone deeply and build a solid connection that only time spent together brings.

This Concept Applied to Fitness:

1) There are always options for things to train for, things to accomplish, you cannot feel an obligation to do everything just because it’s out there and your friends are doing it.

2) You need to choose something that feels purposeful to you, and has deep meaning. The worst thing you can do in your fitness pursuits is be in limbo, unsure of what you should do, or simply afraid to choose something because it might mean giving something else up. You need to find a focus and make a commitment. Start with purpose.

3) The reality is that you cannot train for everything all at once. Training for a marathon and a powerlifting/bodybuilding competition at the same time is the best example of what you simply won’t be able to do, with any kind of proficiency. Sure one means giving up endurance and the other means giving up strength, but that’s reality. Find a happy medium with a different focus.

4) The only opportunity you are really missing out on by making a choice to commit to something, is the process of creating lasting change.