It’s not the Program – Start of Cycle 1

Estimated read time – 3 minutes and 14 seconds
 
To say that I’ve been looking forward to the start of Cycle 1 is an understatement. There’s been a lot of thinking, a lot of experience, and a lot of trial and error that have gone into creating this coming year of fitnessing, and to finally be able to say “GO!” on something that I’m proud of is a great feeling. You’ll see a lot of things you’re familiar with because the past two weeks we’ve introduced some of the foundational concepts so that we can hit the ground running.
 
Look forward to a lot of consistently hard, simple, fun work. One of the things that we do best at the gym is produce an incredible amount of work over the course of an hour (or two) and we’ll be trying to leverage that in the coming cycle.
 
To this post I’ve attached an important message from a man I’ve learned a lot from. To give you some background, the business he runs writes individual programming for close to every sport imaginable – ultramarathons, triathlons, track cycle, military, adventure racing, rowing, fencing, powerlifting, bodybuilding, etc. etc. But his claim to fame are hybrid programs – powerlifters who want to run ultramarathons, bodybuilders who want to also be track cyclists, etc.
 
He and his team write and monitor athletic programs all day, every day, for everyone of every background and ability level, and they do it for a living.
 
You would think of anyone, he would be the one trumpeting the importance of programming, that it’s all about finding the program that works.
 
But he says the program is not the thing. While it might seem strange that I would include in a post about the start of a new year of programming a message that says “it’s not about the programming”, give me a second and maybe you’ll see the thinking.
 
Any program that is supported by both science and experience can work if and only if the more important intangible things are present. Are some programs better than others? Absolutely. But once there is a good plan in place, the success is dependent on execution, and the execution depends on the things we bring to the table as people, not as athletes.
 
The motivation is the thing.
The team is the thing.
The belief is the thing.
The consistency is the thing.
The adherence is the thing.
The effort is the thing.
The rapport is the thing.
 
This is the real stuff where the efficacy of a program lies, the things that determine whether or not it works.
 
Are we motivated to do battle with a workout, every day, regardless of whether it’s “fun”? Do we care about “us and our goals” more than we care about “me and my goals”? Are we dedicated to those goals AND the goals of others or just being a single-minded, selfish asshole? Do we believe in other members, our coaches, ourselves or do we think everyone sucks and is full of shit? Is our consistency consistent? Do we adhere to the program or do we think we know better? Is there effort in the gym as well as outside the gym, or do we sandbag workouts and then drink too much, get high, eat like crap, not get enough sleep and generally treat ourselves like garbage and then blame coaches/programming/other people?
 
Do we care about people as people first, before we care about them as athletes? Do we love each other as people first, before we love them as a person we work out with? Do we trust each other as people first, before we care about them as part of our team?
 
Love, care, trust.
 
Cycle 1 is an opportunity to do those things better.
 
Let’s use this opportunity we have to “begin at the beginning” and make the program effective by working hard to improve.
 
More sets, reps, weight? Yes.
 
More motivation, team, consistency, adherence, effort, and rapport? Absolutely.
 
Programs are a path. How fast you travel and how far you go and how much you enjoy the journey is up to you.
 
Looking forward.

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