Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The McMinnville (Oregon) Experience

That intense pain and swelling is quite common and predictable among people who do high-intensity (resistance) training -- which is the equivalent of running a 100 yard dash over a mile. No matter how much one thinks they can impose mind over matter, the body will simply not allow it.

In this particular case, the instructor alternated two triceps isolation movements -- done to failure, for multiple sets, over a prolonged period of time (20 minutes). The original concept, was that it was one set done to failure -- and not multiple sets, or the "if one is good, more must be better" fallacy.

And the people originally motivated to try out that manner of training, were self-selected genetic freaks with a high capacity for pain, gain and recovery. Many were attracted to Nautilus training and principles for which they were not only given adequate warning of the effects, but were actually promised them as the ticket to rapid and dramatic gains, if one was willing to pay the price.

That was the ultimate "No pain, no gain" validation.

And while it would produce and sustain gains with as little as five minutes of such intense training a week!, but one always was recovering from such muscle soreness, and when finally recovering, repeated the pattern weekly -- and so there was never a moment when one felt one had achieved well-being, as one was always in the process of achieving it. So there was no fulfillment, or being, but only becoming -- something other than what one was, which, is in a psychological sense, a discontentment with the person one presently is.

That is very peculiar psychological profile of the competitive bodybuilder -- who despite often being the most formidable development in the room, often have this overwhelming sense of inadequacy -- of not being good enough. That is a very damaging mindset to have -- because of course, one is never satisfied with what one has, or is. They have to convince themselves that whatever they have, is never enough.

And so, one would often find oneself in a roomful of the most imposing persons on the planet, and none of them felt they were "good enough." There could only be one "winner," and everybody else, had this tremendous sense of "failure." And that is why the concept of training to failure, ultimately, is counterproductive, no matter how much one gains otherwise.

For ultimately, the greatest gain, is this sense of fulfillment, that one has "arrived," because if one never can, and feels their goals slipping even farther away with each achievement and victory, then one has established the inevitability of their own defeat.

So the lesson learned, is the greater understanding of the actual limits of human possibilities and actualities -- and reasonable expectations and outcomes.



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