How Tossing a Stone in a Pond is Like Squatting
I'm sure you've had the experience of tossing a stone into a pond and watching the little rings that start to form. They keep growing bigger and bigger.
Or how about the awe-inspiring experience of walking by a huge waterfall or mountain and think how small each of us really is in this universe. Each star one tiny speck of the infinite.
Now you might be thinking what in the world does this have to do with strength training?
I'm glad you asked.
When I set out to attain my goal of a 405 pound squat, the number 405 was the mountain. It was big and the peak was far away and hard to wrap my arms around. I had never done it before so there was a great unknown.
Showing up at the gym to squat was like the stone tossed in the pond. Creating the ripples that grew bigger and bigger. More weight, more strength.
Then the ripples subside and you have to toss another stone in the pond. Get back to the gym and get under the barbell again.
When you set some big goals for yourself remember to set some smaller goals too. Break some personal records along the way.
In my case, I wanted a 405 pound squat. Along the way I made some new PR's for high bar, front squat and for different rep ranges. I had some fun with it and set some new PR's for a set of 6 and 7 and 4. When was the last time you set some records in odd rep ranges?
It's not about just reaching that goal as fast as you can. When you decide to go after something you have never achieved, you know you are in for a challenge. Strength comes from the struggles you face along the way.
When you get to that goal it never feels quite as good as you expected. It's a short-lived moment of accomplishment. You want more.
The process of getting there, each ring along the way, each step closer to the top of the mountain, is more important and it will develop strength, resilience and confidence.
Now let's take this beyond the gym for a moment.
When you feel small and insignificant, like no matter what you do the world is too big to really make a difference. Think about the stone and the rings in the pond. Each action you take is a ring that has an impact on the people you meet, and the world around you.
You may look small walking up a 20,000 foot tall mountain but you can make a difference in the world.
You Can Choose to be Positive
It's easy to be negative. To give up. To say 'what's the use, it doesn't matter'.
But it does matter. You matter. Remember that every day you have a choice to make, between adding value to the world or adding negativity.
The stone you toss in the pond creates ripples. That person you just helped may turn around and help someone else.
Whatever it is you can do, whatever your talents are, you can use them to make those ripples in the world. They may seem small and insignificant but each one adds up to something much bigger than just one ring.
When you're training for a specific goal, it doesn'tmatter if it's getting lean, building a bigger chest or increasing your deadlift, remember that the act of improving yourself can go beyond the gym and out into the world.
Improving your body doesn't have to be narcissistic. The journey of strength empowers you to do more in your life, and to lift others up as well.
If what you do influences one person, just one person- then that person gains something and now they influence another person with that positive attitude
That small impact starts to create ripples. How far they go is unlimited.
Set big goals for your training. Just remember each day is important. Each meal and each exercise. Each set and rep. Everything counts. In the few hours per week at the gym and the rest of the hours outside the gym.
You don't have to be perfect but you need to be consistent.
Small steps lead to big results.
That's a powerful reality. Embrace it.
Enjoy the journey of strength and all that it brings.