Leaning into the Creative Process
I am new to the gym world. I have only been lifting for two years. I enjoy it more than I ever expected I would. I used to make fun of the guys who would spend their time in they gym talking about their gains and their diets. I went to high school with a kid who talk for hours about working his biceps until they filled a medium Hanes T. It always felt so absurd and disconnected from anything that mattered.
I started going to the gym out of necessity. In my first six months of recruiting I gained 30 pounds. I ate poorly, sat in the car for long periods of time, and drank a lot of soda to stay awake on the long drives. I was destined for obesity.
There are few things that I’ve really enjoyed about going to the gym.
1. I feel good. The way that Arnold Schwarzenegger explains the pump from lifting is a little ridiculous, but it’s not far off. The way I feel after a good lift is pretty incredible. Add a sauna on the back end of that and I’m unstoppable. It’s a huge confidence booster.
2. The community. The stereotype of body builders being douchebags exists for a reason but those guys are few and far between. Most guys at the gym are friendly, and will look for any excuse to talk shop. Sometimes shop talk sounds a lot like the locker room. I’ve learned to enjoy it for it is, including all the profanity and potty humor.
3. I’ve learned to enjoy the process. The gym is an intimidating place. There are plenty of times that I feel out of place and that I have no idea what I’m doing. I learn something new about every 4-6 months. Things that can only be learned by going through the process.
It’s that last insight that brings me to the reason for this post.
I have been doing negative reps for nearly a year. I had no idea I was doing them wrong until I knew how it felt to do them right. I explained my discovery to my workout partner who has been lifting for 20 years. He laughed, then said I couldn’t tell you weren’t doing right by looking at you.
I had to figure it out. I had to go through the process.
Everything I’ve ever done has been a process.
Everything is a process. Especially when I’ve tried to take things up a notch.
There are three ways I approach the process.
Here’s the reason I don’t lean in more, I don’t know if it’s going to work. Not really. People can tell me it’s going to work. I can do all the research that shows me it’s going to work. I can have Moses amounts of faith that it will work but at the end of the day the only way I know it’s going to work is if I put in the work and see the results.
Because of that risk I won’t do it.
I have been lifting for two years. I can see the changes in my body, but most people can’t. Most people don’t comment on how good I look or how much my body has changed. That’s hard. I want the reassurance that what I’m doing is working. But I won’t get it because the change is too subtle. Typical results, for anything, don’t happen overnight. I have to keep leaning in. I have to be consistent without seeing the results.
That sucks. So why even do it?
Unless I really want to change I won’t. Sometimes I think about two more years from now and what my body can look like and that motivates me for a second, maybe even two. But then after that I get pissed and see a giant chocolate cake and think, “Hell yeah, I love chocolate cake!” Then I get sick and tell myself I’ll never do that again. But I will. Because motivation only lasts two seconds.
So how does change happen?
The process is rewarding. The process is the only way for me to get anything done. If I can focus on the process of the activity I’m working on and somehow enjoy it then I will get results.
This is the process I’m talking about:
This applies to everything. EVERYTHING!
When I look back at the work I’ve accomplished that I’m proud of, this process is the work that created it.
What are you working on that isn’t fun? And where are you at in the process?
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