“Triflers have wearied themselves in life by their activity, and yet have no object to which direct every movement.” – Marcus Aurelius
A prevailing ideology of the fitness industry is that motivation and determination are the cornerstones to successfully reaching performance and/or aesthetic goals. Though these emotions and character attributes are admirable traits and undeniably have their place in the behaviors of trainees they are inherently short-sided and waning – which make them poor principles to utilize when considering building lifelong exercise and eating habits.
Fostering a sense of equanimity and stoicism to your training philosophy is essential for minimizing perturbations of the progress and attainment of your multi-year/decade performance and aesthetic goals and is essential to preserving and cultivating new physical endeavors.
But what does it mean to have equanimity and stoicism being overreaching principles of your training life?
Equanimity speaks to the day-to-day training life. Being composed and even-tempered as you’re putting your body through the stresses needed to meet training objectives. A few examples of this in action:
- Composure during movement is imperative to sustainable progress and proper motor patterns. Lacking an adequate level of composure leads to degradation in form and ultimately a higher likelihood of injury and slowing of progress. Tempering your intensity to straddle the line right before form degradation is where the majority of your training should be. Allowances can be saved for competitions and guided skill acquisition.
- Errors in performance expectations are part of the training. It happens, you think about what you did wrong and how to fix it, and then move on. No need to get emotional about it. Life goes on.
- Motivation ebbs and flows on a day-to-day basis. If you have too heavy a reliance on motivation your goals will directly suffer. Instead, fostering a sense of discipline is the best approach to consistency. So when your workload increases or finals come up, training and eating habits stay consistent despite other obligations.
Stoicism is where the longevity component that allows for making smart and calculated decisions is. It helps you avoid the silly bullshit that is pervasive within this industry by not giving way to fad diets, infomercial exercise equipment, and ill-conceived training programs. It keeps you on a path of tried and true methods of strength and conditioning, healthy body composition, and sustainable eating habits that support the aforementioned.
Be in it for the long run. Don’t get distracted. Discipline, not motivation, is the attribute needed for a longevity bias to training.