Patience - A Lost Virtue

In a world burdened by hardship, where long days yield little reward, it is easy to lack patience. We want things now. For the persistent, this means always moving forward, regardless of circumstances. We see this time and again in the fitness industry, where enthusiasts lose sight of longevity and focus solely on the present moment. But the present moment matters not, when stacked against a lifestyle sworn to by many at birth, metaphorically speaking. To all of you diehards, todays training session means nothing. Consistency, patience, and time means everything. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, nor did Ronnie Coleman (the world’s most interesting bodybuilder) develop the strength to squat 800lbs overnight. In this regard, fitness is like an endurance event, a marathon if you will. If you leave the starting gates sprinting, then you can kiss your hopes of crossing the finish line goodbye. Be patient, and do not rush the most fulfilling part of your fitness journey, the process.

Long term success oftentimes requires taking a small step backwards. This reality hit home on a personal level a few summers ago, amidst a heavy strength training cycle. Everything fell into place. I was stronger, bigger, and more powerful than ever before. I PR’ed my lifts weekly, and felt unstoppable. My strength gains motivated me to push forward, while consistent encouragement from onlookers improved my focus and solidified my every lift. Training became clockwork, and I was determined to achieve greatness. One morning during a heavy bench pressing session, my shoulder threw in the towel and gave out. In the blink of an eye, I was done. I took a full month off from training and returned to realize that my strength had suffered. I was crushed, but I carried on. I spent four years thereafter in a kinesiology program studying functional anatomy and program design. I revamped my exercise techniques, improved my mobility, and ditched my ego. I reset my training mindset, and began a new program using lighter weight. I listened to my body, and progressed only as it saw fit. The results are astounding. Today, I am better than I was that summer in every regard, both physically and mentally. Through patience, I have recaptured my former training glory. What seemed like one giant leap backwards then, has propelled me far greater forward now.

Patience may seal your fate. All wonderful life endeavors take time and require consistency. Acquiring your dream body is no different. Respect the process and take things slowly. If your body tells you to back off or slow down, then listen, and pump the brakes. If what popular media avenues say is true, then fitness is a lifestyle. You have years, if not decades to prove your worth through this beautiful lifestyle. Just be patient.