Before getting to the focus of this post I'd like to share a couple recommendations with you. Yesterday I had the day off, but my lady did not so I made plans to get in some heavy squatting then hit the movies with my little brother to catch a matinee showing of American Hustle.
For those not current on their pop culture this is a film directed by David O. Russell. The same guy who has produced movies such as The Fighter and Sliver Linings Playbook, which alone lend credence to the level of talent Mr. Russell possesses. And let me tell you he showed his talent again in this movie that at times left me literally saying out loud "What the fuck!"
The film is based around three primary characters played by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley cooper, who all do a tremendous job in their roles. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are two con artist that after having tremendous success swindling desperate businessmen out of thousands of dollars in hope to receive a loan get caught by and forced to work for Bradley Cooper, a young and aspiring FBI agent, who is out to make a name for himself by taking down white collar criminals.
Needless to say things get out of hand quickly and eventually end in a bizarre and yet satisfying turn of events that leaves you both cheering and scratching your head at the same time.
I highly recommend making some time and room in your budget to get over to a box office for showing.
The second recommendation I wanted to make was regarding a documentary me and kelsey watched this morning before heading off to our respective occupations entitled Food Inc. This is a film directed by Robert Kenner and was actually nominated for an Oscar Award. It takes a really close and accurate look at America's food production system and some of the gross inadequacies of it that are often blatantly ignored in order to satisfy bottom lines.
Most Americans are completely removed and disconnected from their food, where it comes from, and how it is produced. I think it would do wonders for people if we could fix this and introduce people to where their modern day food is produced and how. I believe this would have people running to their local farmer's markets in drove and paying the extra dollar to get away from such an industry as "Big Food".
If you do take my advice, watch this film, find it inspiring, and want to learn more on this topic please feel free to contact me as I have some really great resources regarding local farming, sustainable agriculture, and food policy.
Okay enough of my propaganda. Let's get to the actual focus on this post.
So if you have read any of my other writing then you have undoubtedly seen me make reference to or mention my love for playing video games. I would have to say it is probably fourth on my hobby list after working out, reading, and writing. I try to keep my desire to game it up in check and not let it take precedent over other tasks that need done so during school my actual playing time is very minimal, but since classes are out for the semester I have taken the liberty of logging on daily for an hour or so and getting in some quality shoot'em up time.
One of my franchises to play is Call of Duty and I have been a loyal buyer of each successive addition to the franchise. Most recently in November Call of Duty: Ghosts was released and this as of lately has been my game of choice.
But yesterday while playing I had a realization that there are some lessons to be learned for playing such a game that can lend themselves to having success in the gym. I know how nerdy of me, but get over it nerds rule the world.
The most popular way of playing Call of Duty for those unfamiliar with the gaming world is online in teams of players from all around the world. The teams are randomly selected as well as the maps on which you play against one another. Each map is its own unique environment that lends itself to different strategies of play.
One of the keys to being successful on a consistent basis on a variety of maps is understanding the layout of the map and preparing your soldiers equipment to compliment the map on which you are going to play. This forces you to have to think ahead and carefully select what you will take with you and what you will leave behind.
These choices you have to make and the preparation required to have success perfectly mirror the skills an individual needs to be successful on a consistent basis in the gym.
Each gym is its own environment with it's own unique set of equipment and rules. You have to be aware of the gym's environment at which you train and tailor your training accordingly. For example some gym's don't allow deadlifting therefore you are going to have to get creative at times in order to apply ample stress to your posterior chain to cause it to grow and get stronger. On a separate note if you train at a gym that doesn't allow deadlifting I recommend finding a different gym.
But the point here is that the program you write for yourself or someone writes for you has to be adapted in such a way so that it can be preformed at the gym of your choice and elicit the intended training adaption. It does no good to program back squats into your workout if you gym does not have a squat rack or to try any perform sprint repeats when your gym is less than a thousand square feet in size.
Another thing you learn from playing repeated games of Call of Duty is that the swift, aggressive, and mobile players are the guys who always score the most point and lead the game in kills. They also often die less. This makes them the cream of the crop and the players with the most success.
On the flip side of this playing style are those who what gamers call "campers", which just means they use high powered rifles and find a singular spot to sit and wait for unsuspecting players to pass. These players never lead the game in kills or points and they very rarely ever have consistent success with such tactics. Although they do not perish often because they are difficulty to find and kill, they never are liked teammates as they contribute little in the way of points to the overall team score.
This success of fast playing quick to action players and the failure of slow to act sit and wait style players follows the same trend I see with people in the gym.
Those who have the most success in getting bigger, becoming stronger, and losing weight are almost always the people who did not waste a single second to take action on their goals. They jump right into the workouts and make necessary adjustments on the fly as they learn and grow. They don't get stuck in the paralysis of analysis.
And as in Call of Duty the people who decide to sit and wait, those who choose to wait for opportunities rather than seek them out almost always are the ones who never actually make it into the gym or start on their goal. These folks are the ones who are constantly arguing over what they should start doing, but never actually begin anything.
It shows that taking action quickly and making changes as needed usually results in a much better outcome than being the person sitting on the sideline continually observing and waiting for the right moment.
The last observation I want to share about Call of Duty is the experience I like to call "flow". For those who do play Call of Duty they will understand a bit better what I am talking about, but let me try to explain clearly.
There are times when you hop online to play against other people and it seems like you can't do a damn thing wrong. Each way you turn their is an enemy waiting to be gunned down and added another point to your scorecard. Your timing is impeccable and you are as deadly with your weapon as Mark Whalberg in Sniper (never hurts to make a Marky Mark reference).
Then there are also times when you login in and it is the exact opposite. It feels like you couldn't hit water if you were standing on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Every time you turn around there is someone waiting to shoot you in the face or stab you in the heart. It is the most frustrating and at times defeating experience. It makes you want to turn the game console off and going punch your pillow (of course I never do any of this because I am to mature and cool headed ; D).
And after you play Call of Duty for a while you find that these two experiences come and go in a sort of "flow". You have good days and bad days. Good matches and bad matches. Progress is never linear, but rather always fluctuating with the goal of moving forward.
You also come to find that when you have the bad days or matches if you continually quit and start over the terrible play seems to never go away, but if you play through the bad matches and deal with the losses eventually the ship rights itself and you find a string of successes.
This perfectly matches the experience people have in the gym. There are days when you walk in to the gym and you feel as if you are the incredible hulk and nothing is to heavy or big to pick-up. Then there are days when you walk in and feel like you have started all over. Even your warm-up weight seems to be immovable. This is the "flow" of progress in the gym. But with consistency and effort over time the good days outweigh the bad days and the progress you make trends upward.
However if you get frustrated by the bad days and constantly take weeks off in response to defeat you will find the bad days never stop. You continually find yourself returning to the gym and feeling weak and out of shape.
I hope you enjoyed my nerd trainer insights and if you didn't well I don't think I can help you with that so have a good day.
P.S. Yes you can love reading, writing, lifting heavy things, drinking coffee, crushing trail mix, and dominate others on Call of Duty. It is called being yourself and not conforming to the stereotypes others have set before you. You can be a Jock and read sci-fi. You can also be computer programmer and have a deadlift that makes most men look like weaklings. Trick is to find the things you love, connect them, and share you love for them with others. Sorry had to through that last part in for those Fitness enthusiast who think life is only about eating chicken breast and filling up gallon jugs with water.
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training.