And what if I told you that you fell for it? You actually believed it's a good thing--to feel sore, to feel wiped, to feel exhausted after your practice?
And now what if I told you you might very well make more progress if you don't fall for that gimmick?
Yes, it's a gimmick--a biological gimmick.
Yes, we start something new, it impacts our biology, we fall in love.
Yes, we meet someone cute, they impact our loins, we fall in love.
Yes, we meet a trainer, they help make us sore, we fall in love.
Yes, we find a restaurant, they serve us food we've never eaten in our lives, we fall in love.
The feeling of accomplishment or finishing, rather, is far different than progress.
How do you measure true progress?
Let not the feelings of accomplishment masquerade as progress. Have a metric. If you need a metric for your spiritual progress try a book by Cindy Wigglesworth called SQ 21. It'll at least give you a map and you can chart where you currently are on your path. Have a map and have a teacher or mentor that can nudge you in the next right developmental direction.
"Today I made progress because ________________________ ."
[this blank is to be filled in with an action phrase]
"I really like what I'm feeling now after that session ..."
[this is a feeling statement, not an action word]
"I'm going to treat myself to ___________ after that class."
These statements are predicated on the need for reward.
Enter: Minimum Effective Dose
Now that you have clarity between doing something for the sake of a mere feeling state, and doing something because it helps you continue either on a path or to a goal, what is actually required to go in that direction?
Minimum Effective Dose is a phrase used in pharmacology to help determining the therapeutic range of a drug. On the other side of the spectrum is MTD or Maximum Tolerated Dose. I'm not making a case for training one way exclusively, however more people would benefit from learning what their MED is rather than training exclusively MTD. One must learn how much is just enough and how much is teetering on toxic, and playing in that range.
My observation is that accomplishment-based exercise [cannot call it training] relies heavily on MTD.
To be fair, it has an intoxicating effect, and the feeling of well-being is the stuff of which research and publications are made. It's how grant checks are cut, and more research is funded. It's why many unwitting clients will return to your class or your training sessions. It's important economically. There's a little biological hook that has you coming back for more. Cheetos and soda. You get the high, you come back for more.
What I think we miss though, as a movement culture, is how much can I remove without feeling detrained? How little can I do and still maintain? What's the dosage needed to still have the ritual, to show up, to participate, and to progress?
Finding your lower limit protects you from letting others abuse your upper limit.
Finding your lower limit informs your recovery greatly.
Finding your lower limit gives you freedom.
Next time you're training, ask if that exhaustion is actually a good thing, or if you're just leaving a mark.