T Nation

Why Do We Fail?

We read a LOT on this Forum as to why people fail in reaching their fitness and/or physique goals (poor diet, haphazard training, etc). As I was struggling through another session of intervals on my bike, I began to think that there were some more “basic” reasons:


1)The stuff that we do is LIGHT YEARS away from the “average” person’s ADL’S (Activities of Daily Living). So much so that it’s no WONDER that the average Joe or Jane has no idea what it takes to build that physique that they see in the Mag. Squats, Kettlebells, Swiss Balls, Reverse Hacks and Interval Aerobics? They may seem more suited to the activities of Klingons and Borgs than Terrans!


2)THE STUFF WE DO IS HARD! Getting up early, or working out after work; eating 6-8 times a day, trying to avoid the pull of Pizza Hut and Krispy Kreme; doing Squats and Intervals until your’re nauseated. The list goes on and on. Again, I simply don’t think that most people can (or want) to “do what it takes” BECAUSE IT’S HARD!


Your thoughts?

I was noticing that i wasnt making any progress in terms of strength when i was doin a four day a week program which was mon tues thurs fri. in the past three weeks i chenged it to a three day a week whole body type routine my gains are skyrocketing. Now dont get me wrong im not an HITer where i only do one set i do three or four sets of the Core movments and just two sets of assitance excercises. My bench wentr from 315 to 325 in 3 weeks so the improvment is pretty good.

Agree totally, and part of the attraction is that it is so hard, heck if it were easy half the fun would be gone. It is exciting finding out what works and what doesn’t.

There’s no question that, if you want to be legitimately strong and fit, it is hard work. Work that certainly the average person will not do. The average person at my gym does, say a lat pull down or a reverse grip, one arm tricep push down, then seeks a girl to chat with for 3 minutes. Or perhaps they’re on the bike for 15 min. at a low number.
Meanwhile, we’re squatting ass to grass with 225, racing to the bench doing a similar number, then going to the chin bar for 8-10 chins…no rest, and on like that until our hearts are beating and we’re actually sweating.
However I don’t disdain (any longer) the “shufflers”, at least they’re there and maybe through our example, they’ll upgrade their programs a little.
Big Red

I think it’s just a case of everyone wanting something for nothing. They want strength or a decent body in a pill. Look at the infomercials on TV - “A great body in only 5 minutes a day!”… People don’t want to accept the fact that it takes hard work and discipline.

What sets people like us apart is that we realize that realizing our goals is that much sweeter when we've had to work for it. Here's a quote from (I think) Chad Coy. Chad, I know you post on here so if you didn't say this please let me know... Anyway, enjoy:

"Anything worth having, or doing, or being, requires effort. What if you could have whatever you wanted, again and again, just by snapping your fingers? And what if everyone else could, as well? How much would you value and appreciate the things you had? What would you do with your life, if there was no need for effort? Where would you find meaning, what would give you satisfaction? The value of effort is not only in what it produces, but also in what it demands of you. The greatest opportunity in life is not for a free ride. The greatest oppor- tunity is to be fully challenged, and to meet challenge with effective effort. The things we value are the things to which, and for which, we give of ourselves. There is no way around that. Some of the hardest work- ing people are those who are wealthy enough that they don't need the money. However, they do need the effort, and the accomplishment, and the challenge. We all do. Without it, life is shallow and empty. Make the effort. Do it now. Start today to meet the challenge."

I agree but its a bit unfair that the average joe or jane does not realise the work needed to get a great physique, like they see big legs and they go “that guy must do a lot of running” or whatever, not knowing it takes years of puke-inducing leg workouts to get that way. Or then theres the other type of joe that says “look at that guy’s muscles, i bet he’s on those steroids” while looking at some 170 pound guy. Its hard to get respect for hard work!

Sure it’s hard. That’s why I like it, but failing to reach my goals happens for a different reason. Life tends to get in the way. Problems at work? No Gym. Wife Pregnant and having pains? No gym. Child sick? No gym. Me sick? No gym. Car broken? No gym. The thing is that I never stop trying to make it, and I believe that will make all the difference in the world later on. Sure I missed today, but damn it, I’ll be there tommorow. Pretty much, unless you work in the buisness, or you are single and have nothing better to do, then you are going to miss work outs and you are going to have touble obtaining your goals, you just have to keep trying. When life gives you a break, you will be able to excel.

I think that everything can be fit in to a day easily it just requiers dicipline.
will

Amen Mufasa, once again your wisdom has summed up a lot. I agree alot with what you said. I do agree with pat also though and sometimes things do get in the way. School is my roadblock sometimes, but like pat said, I’ll be there tomorrow and still working a hell of a lot harder than ken and barbie working at a cute 60%max.

OHHHHHHH, the Krispy Kremes . . . !!!

Perhaps it can be summed up in the term ‘comfort zone’. People get comfortable. They ALL realise it takes a monumental effort to attain the physiques we’re all aspiring too (and have), but they’re stuck in their little cushy world. The way I see it, if they want it bad enough, they’ll make the decision to bust out of that comfort zone and make some real changes. It’s just a pity that those who don’t workout like us tend to make a point of giving us grief over it to make up for their feelings of inadequacy… I guess that’s why it’s so good to have our band of T-brothers/sisters.

I don’t go to my university’s gym, but I’ve heard from people who do that it’s incredibly crowded during january (right after new years) & then goes back to normal from feb. on. I agree with Kubik when he says only 1-2% of people who start training have the guts to keep going.

I agree with everyones posts and I have a little something to add. I love to workout and I love it even more when I notice improvements. However, since I am only human I also like it when others notice my improvements or hard work. One of the things that I have noticed about working out is that sometimes it is a thankless pursuit. I mean I have been working out seriously for a year and I have gone from 130 pounds to 150+ pounds.
Most people who knew me before my gains were astounded and I got a lot of credit. However when I tell someone that I like to workout and lift they usually give me a “Sure you do buddy,” type of look and it pisses me off. I mean I am 150 lbs and 5-6% bodyfat. It is hard for me to gain muscle mass, but not impossible with the right nutrition. But I get sick of not being taken seriously because of my body-weight. In fact it just motivates me more. But for awhile I saw these outside negative influences hindering my progress and causing me to fail. So in closing I think that people should give credit where credit is due, and to all those people who think that I am not the real deal I would juist tell them that they are welcome to try to keep up with me in the gym. Thanks for letting me vent.

It does take hard work. Most people would like to have a good looking body, but there are people who would rather spend the time and effort doing something else. Our hobby is to go workout, other people’s hobby is to go read, fish, etc.

Looking good isn’t all of it. Powerlifters, Olympic lifters, even Renegades lift extremely hard, but not to look good.

Yes, it good to know we work hard in the gym and outside of the gym, but their are a lot of people who work even harder at their jobs and get less credit for it than us.

Good point, Jeremy. I think it’s unfortunate that anyone’s hard work gets overlooked, regardless of whether it takes place in a gym or not. While that may bother me, it upsets me even more when others knowingly recognize the commitment we make to a healthy lifestyle and achieving our goals, yet still attempt to belittle us. The stereotype that training hard and eating right automatically makes you a narcicist is probably the worst. For instance, I’m a 20 year-old college student. Every Thursday night, I have a three hour lab. Halfway through, the professor gives us a ten minutes break to use the restrooms, smoke (others, not me), relax, or, in my case, down a protein shake. While my peers chow down on leftover pizza and halloween candy in the hall, they look at me like a freak. And, of course, there is ALWAYS the complete tool who asks, “Is that chocolate milk?” When you tell them what it really is, they follow up their initial stupid question with another: “Does it work?” Sure, just drink a few of these a day and your beer gut and saggy man breasts will disappear…

Just because they don’t have the same passions we do doesn’t mean that they’re lazy; it just means they endeavor to pursue different goals. I have no problem with someone choosing leg extensions over squats or the food guide pyramid over and high protein diet; I won’t make that choice for myself, but I certainly won’t be angry with them for making it for themselves. I will, however, take issue with anyone trying to get in the way of me achieving my goals. In the meantime, I’ll continue to bust my butt to get where I want to be. And, based on the passion I read about every day at this forum, most of you will do the same, so I know that there will be others out there like me. Keep the faith, and ignore those who don’t know any better than to look down on you for what they don’t understand.

Slider - I so know where you’re coming from. I’m up about 20kg (44lbs) from when I started 4 years ago. Now I’m on a cutting cycle and at about 9% bodyfat and feeling GREAT about it. Some people notice and have positive comments, others keep telling me it’s a waste of time and it’ll all turn to fat when I stop (Wankers!). But I couldn’t believe it last night when a friend told me he was starting lifting, said he thought I was only in the gym for general fitness ‘cos of the way I looked! Fitness my ass!!! OK, it may be true perhaps, that I look that way to some, but it still cuts. Either way, you’re doin’ great bud, keep it up. The women love it anyway… [grin] Eric - LMAO “saggy man breasts” that’s some funny shit man…! I fully agree with your post too. Cheers.

Thanks a lot Mark. I am impressed by your gains and I am looking to continue to improve. I understand where Eric is coming from. The is that chocolate milk comment is the worst. Thanks again. Slider

And if the Chocolate Milk B.S. isn’t bad enough, they’ll ask you if it’s Pepto-Bismol when you bring a strawberry shake instead…

I just wanted to support you all on this post. I’m a college student, and I too break in the middle of lab to eat my Tuna, Peanuts, Udo’s Choice Oil, or my protein shake. My main goal was for no one to EVER again ask me if I workout. I’ve always wanted people to KNOW that I workout, no matter where I am, or what I’m wearing. Well, 50# of LBM later, and possibly infinite completed squat sets, no one asks me if I workout anymore. Now they just talk to me as though they KNOW I lift. It’s cool, and I’ll just keep getting bigger.

I like your point Eric. Someone always seems to try and belittle the one who works out and takes his or her committment beyond the weightroom. Usually it “you know that guy is on something” or “well I have a brother, friend, stuffed animal, who is stronger, bigger, faster, and better looking than you are.” It seems even though others work hard at their respective jobs they don’t get as much credit for it as it does not show outside of the workplace because lifting weights effect extend beyong the gym. Most of society seems to hold a grudge against those who choose to make their hobby weightlifting. Even other lifters seem to do this as well, seems a bigger case of this is with younger lifters (put as much weight on the bar as you can) vs. older more experienced lifters who know you’re not competing against someone else. I just wish people would respect what anyone else does if it is their passion in life whether it is weightlifting or not.