Strength for Success

As the New Year approaches I’ve noticed an increase in ads for workouts or supplements that will give you the body you’ve always dreamed about.  After viewing them, I can’t help but think back to the days where I was trying tooth and nail to put on all the mass in the world or cut weight to prep for wrestling season. I was game to try any program if it got me the results. So I can’t help but feel for many of the individuals who are stricken with the same motivation and work ethic for their new years resolution, but are at a loss for guidance. Thus causing them to fall victim to these ads. These individuals may work harder than some, pay more than most and yet get little results. I know this because was there once too. Which is why it frustrates me to no end when I see an advertisement on Facebook or TV about the hot, new workout that claims to give you washboard abs and yet I know the only thing it will truly do is thin out your wallet.  

Supplement companies will lure you in with this same gimmick. Claiming that all you need to do is drink their shake or take their pill twice a day and you’ll loose fat, gain muscle and crap gold nuggets. And with some, you may lose weight,, but is this really a sustainable life-change? Do you really want to be dependent on a shake or pill? Does it really take that strong of a person to swallow this miracle cure and is it going to truly fix the reason you ended up with the figure of Mr. Potato-head? When it really comes down to it, success is all about one thing, strength.

Without strength, be it physical, mental, or social, nothing can be accomplished. This is a lesson that I wish I could share with every resolutioner before they set out on their journey: Get strong first.

Without physical strength, every fitness program you ever try, will be diluted and probably fail. After all, the definition of strength is the ability to withstand great force or pressure as well as being able to perform physically demanding tasks. If you are not already strong or if strength is not a priority in your program, then nothing good will come out of your, “super, cool, new workout.” Your joints will not be able to stay in the proper positions and your form will break faster than Anderson Silva’s shin. That of course can land you in pain, making you inactive, then your back at square one. Lets also keep in mind that if you are not strong, the amount of work exerted will be relatively greater than if you were strong, this means that your body will be more broken down from each workout and can increase your likelihood of overtraining. Overtraining is another great way to land you right back at square one.

What about mental strength? Do you think that someone who is mentally weak is going to be able to stick to their diet? Are they going to have the foresight to plan out their days and meals? I think not. Sit down and put some thought into what you’re doing. It will force you to create better and healthier habits. Remember that pills and shakes only last until the package runs out, habits can last a lifetime. I’ve never seen a supplement that helps you lose weight then weans you off of it completely, so there’s definitely a lack of strength on that route.

Social strength is the one that everyone rules out, but how many of us have been victims of peer pressure and have grabbed a couple beers or some junk food because we were convinced by a friend? As I said, strength is the ability to withstand great force or pressure. But being socially strong is much more than that, it’s having a network of friends and loved ones to support and help you through this difficult task that you have chosen to take upon yourself. Very few of us can accomplish anything without our friends or family support, so again, strength here should be a priority.

With all this being said, really ask yourself what you need to do for any of your resolutions this year. Does a cool, new workout or diet shake fit in there? Maybe, they can be useful tools, but I guarantee you that getting stronger will be step 1 for success.