What it Means to be a Contender
Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky film series. Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. Michael B. Jordan in the two Creed films.
These movies were so wildly popular because, among many reasons, they portrayed the stories of so-called “underdogs” defying the odds and achieving heights that most other people thought were unreachable. Or, put another way, they went from so-called nobodies and turned themselves into contenders.
For us regular every day folk, we can derive inspiration from the path these contenders took. To be a contender, you don’t have to aspire to become a boxing world champion. By definition, a
contender is someone who aspires to reach a certain accomplishment or status, to overcome a great obstacle, or to defeat an adversary.
When it comes to fitness, there are several common denominators that all great contenders must have, in order to reach the summit of their journey. Let’s explore those here.
Train with Intensity
First and foremost, any type of training always beats nothing. Even basic regular exercise (like brisk walking at a 4mph pace) increases the number of immune system cells floating around in your body, which can reduce the chances of getting sick, and even decrease the decay in the immune system’s abilities as we get older.
That being said, if we’re really looking to redefine the composition of our body, we need to put in a level of work that’s above the status quo.
Why we Love High-Intensity Exercise
That’s why we recommend higher-intensity workouts for our contenders: workouts involving bursts of intense exercise, with lower-intensity recovery periods in between. In fact, this is the exact foundation which Gloveworx training sessions are built upon.
Why did we choose this methodology? Because high-intensity exercise might actually be twice as effective as moderate-intensity exercise: you’ll burn more calories in the same amount of time, engage in exercises that are designed to both reduce fat and build muscle, and enhance your metabolism for several hours after you walk out of the studio.
Of course, putting in hard work during one Gloveworx session, followed by taking the next several weeks off from training, is certainly not going to lead to any substantial accomplishment. It’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to work consistently -- putting in the work needed on an ongoing and repeated basis is the way to help you get real results.
Receiving and Accepting Coaching
There are numerous benefits to having a coach working with you to reach your goals. By providing their expertise in terms of designing a program based on your goals, avoiding potential injury or overtraining pitfalls. Coaches can help with finding the days and times when you're most motivated to work out, and keeping you motivated during the inevitable plateaus you'll endure. You'll often see faster and better results than you would have by going about your journey by yourself.
However, how you approach the feedback provided by your coach is actually more important than having a coach in the first place. There’s an old saying that states: “you can only take a horse to the water, but you can’t force it to drink.” That statement personifies the idea that a person can be pushed, lead or taught by another person, but the effectiveness of all of that cajoling is determined by whether or not we’re willing to accept and implement the coaching we’re receiving.
Think about it: you can attend lectures from the most distinguished professors, read books by the most accomplished authors, or hire the best coach that money can buy. Even with the best resources at your disposal, it is your coachability -- meaning your ability to internalize and actualize all the information you’re receiving -- that will ultimately determine your outcome.
Remember that your coach is there to help you achieve your goal -- the one that you and your coach agreed upon in the first place. So, it’s important to take their direction, feedback, and even constructive criticism in stride, knowing that they’re there to make you the best possible version of yourself.
Enjoy The Process More Than The Results
In the business world, we’re often asked to measure outcomes of our efforts by analyzing the data available to us, and what that data tells us in terms of our progress towards our goals, but our bodies don’t operate in a linear, predictable way. That’s why so many people start seeing a greater level of weight loss and body composition changes when they first start working out, only to have those changes taper off after a certain period of time -- in other words, they don’t lose the pounds and inches off their body as rapidly as they did earlier.
It’s important to understand that there are “ebbs and flows” in the way your body changes in response to exercise and training. The results you saw last week might not occur this week, even if you put in the same level of work, if not more; that’s just how the body works.
Measuring Your Progress
There are certainly ways you can keep yourself motivated by measuring your progress using things outside of pounds lost and waist sizes dropped. If you ask any true masters of their craft, one thing you’ll often here is that they’re far more concerned about simply putting in the work required to get better and less concerned about the immediate outcome of that work.
Metaphorically speaking, they know that if you’re concerned about the height of a wall after placing down just one or two bricks, you’re going to get discouraged. However, if you focus on laying down one brick every day, and commit to doing so for the long term, eventually you’ll find yourself with a tall and sturdy wall.
While it's certainly important to set goals for the way you want to change your body or being able to reach a certain fitness threshold, it's also important not to constantly measure and obsess how close you are (or aren’t) from that goal. Rather, focus on doing something each day that will bring you closer to your goal -- no matter how small or incremental that step might feel. It might be working out 5 minutes longer, skipping watching television and going for a brisk walk instead, or even just swapping out that last cup of coffee for a glass of water. Think of all those tiny improvements, done day after day, amplifying your efforts like compound interest.
Eventually, all of those small steps will lead you to where you wanted to arrive.
The First Step Toward Becoming A Contender
If you’re someone who hasn’t worked out in a long period of time, stepping into the studio and seeing all sorts of new equipment and exercises, and people who appear to be in better shape than you, can be intimidating -- and it’s a big factor why so many people fail to start working out in the first place.
At Gloveworx, our coaches take a very individualized, hands-on approach to our contenders of all skill levels, providing them the personalized attention they deserve and helping them reach their goals no matter where they are in their fitness journey. That's the difference between a studio like ours, and one of the usual mega gyms sprouting up on every block.
No matter which road you choose to take in your fitness journey, as the philosopher Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The most important thing you can do when you have a long journey ahead of you is to get started.