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5 Lessons Learned From Lifting

How you do one thing is how you do everything”
-Buddhist proverb
Written By Crave Trainer, Adam Blake.
Written By Crave Trainer, Adam Blake.
One of best pieces of advice I was ever given was, “If you learn a lesson in one endeavor, see if you can find how to apply it to as many other areas of life as possible.” I always thought this was how some people in life seemed to find success and victory in almost everything they touched. It seemed that they were always amassing wisdom in one area and finding a way to transpose it into every other area of their lives and short-cutting the learning process.
Training and exercise are wonderful ways to gain a deep knowledge and understanding of yourself. For example, when your dog tired and fatigue is weighing you down, do you fold and give up or rise up and push forward? Don’t worry if you are the former. Exercise doesn’t so much reveal character as much as it helps build it. I’d like to share some lessons that I constantly have to keep in mind during my own training and (hopefully) try and apply to all of my affairs.


It seems so simple, but in order to make any progress, you gotta at least show up! And not just show up once, but show up again and again… and again. It’s a common saying among competitive runners that the hardest part of the workout is putting on your shoes and going out the door day after day. A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step and in the case of exercise, that step is all about showing up at the gym on a regular basis.


Whatever shape your body may be in, it’s likely that it didn’t get there overnight and truth be told, if you want to change it, that won’t happen overnight either. It takes time and consistent effort for you to get wherever you want to go. Its also about not running before you can walk and taking the time to build a solid foundation before shooting for the stars. Your body takes time to adapt, but if you allow it that time, it will amaze you with what is capable of doing.


Sometimes the biggest difference can be found in the smallest of details. The elbow position on a set of push ups, the head position on a dead lift, these can often make all the difference between success and failure. It’s been said that style isn’t just what you do, its the way that you do it (wasn’t that an 80’s song?), and I think that really applies in this regard and leads us nicely to the next lesson.


“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, only to lose his soul?”
-King James Bible
Or in my personal version…”What shall it gaineth a man if he attempts to dead lift twice his body weight, only to throw his back out and have to walk funny for a few weeks”
This can be tough… and in experience, especially for guys, sometimes we want to lift more and run faster than we’re ready for. Myself, I am hugely guilty of this and often have to refer to Lesson 5 (coming soon) to keep me on track. Almost all the injuries and exercise induced nausea I have seen in training are from people ignoring this lesson and letting ego and pride call the shots. If your feeling tired, queazy or just not having a good session, its okay to slow down and take it easy. There is no glory or heroism in pushing yourself to injury or being sick and listening to your body is just about the smartest thing you can do sometimes. Don’t let pride lead you to ruin. There is a great quote about this in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ but I’m not so sure it’s appropriate to share here.


Although it’s okay to set short term goals, the best goal you can set for yourself is that you keep training for life. Yep… until death do you part! See, aging is inevitable, but how you age… that’s optional. Do you want to be stooped over, weak and frail in your 60’s? Or do you want to be like Helio Gracie, who was still training on the mats well into his 90’s? Or Jack Lalanne, who in his 70’s swam towing 70 row boats for a mile in open water… WHILE HANDCUFFED!! Or for the ladies, how about Tamae Watanabe who scaled Mount Everest at a spry 73 years of age.
Maybe you don’t have such grand ambitions, maybe you just want to live in a pain free body, with enough energy to spare to train with your grand kids and enjoy every waking day. The truth is, this is a choice you can make, and the actions that lead to that choice coming to fruition (or not) are the actions you take everyday.
Perhaps the best way to finish up here is to quote someone who I believe role models the concept I spoke of at the beginning about taking lessons learned and transposing them to every field you play on and, through doing so, saw an incredible amount of success
“There are no short cuts, everything is reps, reps, reps”
So keep showing up, be patient, pay attention to the little things, shelve the ego and think long term and you will be amazed by what can happen