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Enjoy The Process

To begin, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope you are ready to thrive in 2014 and beyond.

With that said, I’ve never been a fan of resolutions to begin the new year. I don’t set out to become a new person each year. Instead, I strive for continuous improvement each day. Dates on the calendar do not affect my desire to improve. I am passionate about my work so I’ll continue to push myself regardless of the year.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands my desire to improve. Hard work is not always viewed favorably. Yes, people understand that it is effective, but they have been led to believe that hard work is not enjoyable. And it is this distorted perception that often causes failure with fitness resolutions. People begin the new year by prepping for deprivation. They believe that the only way to improve is by depriving themselves of life’s pleasures.

Fortunately, it does not need to be that way. I would not train as hard as I do if I did not enjoy the process. The time that I invest in training does not force me to miss out on the rest of the world. The opposite is actually true. Health and fitness allow me to enjoy more of the world. And it is this message that we need to spread to the masses. The majority of people today do not understand it. They have been led to believe that exercise is everything but fun. Ironically, the fitness industry often contributes to this false perception.

Just think of all the marketing campaigns that promise faster fitness solutions. These marketers are not encouraging the consumer to enjoy the process. Instead, they tell you to get it over with as fast as possible. You wouldn’t be rushing if it was something you enjoyed. Or what about the diet pills that are sold as substitutes for exercise? If exercise was fun, why are we encouraged to pop pills instead?

With so many deceptive marketing campaigns, it is no surprise that the average person isn’t enthusiastic about exercise. I’ve even had close friends and family who thought I was crazy for training so hard. They can’t comprehend it. Explaining my passion isn’t enough to combat the marketing powers that have influenced their thought process. Once again, we need more people who are passionate about training to speak up and share their experiences. It must be a joint effort.

I certainly hope to alter the perception of exercise through this site as well as my actions offline. I realize however that influencing the masses isn’t a one man job. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is questioned about training so hard. A week rarely passes without someone telling me I’m crazy after watching one of my videos. Or if they don’t call me crazy, they’ll comment about how I must train countless hours each day. So I’m either crazy or I have no life (sorry, but both assumptions are false).

For example, I recently posted the following picture to Facebook.

20 years of training

Within the picture, you’ll see three images that cover 20 years of my life. After posting the picture, someone commented with the following.

What’s the point of doing so much training to live another 20 years if you spend 30 of them in the gym?

Well, at least this person didn’t call me crazy. He just thinks I’m pissing my life away.

And while my natural response was to counter with sarcasm, it makes more sense to use his comments to hopefully change the perception that others have about exercise. Personally, I rarely train for more than an hour at a time. As much as I love training, I don’t get paid for it. I still have a family to provide for each day. My own training does not put dinner on the table. I do it because I enjoy it. I am passionate about it. I love the time that I spend in the gym. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the results. I enjoy the process. I crave it each day. That’s not crazy and I’m not wasting time. That’s just me pursuing something that I’m passionate about.

If we ever hope to curb the health and obesity problems that exist today, we must first let people in on the secret that training is not something to dread. You can actually enjoy it. It all starts by finding something that you are passionate about pursuing. Perhaps it is a challenge, obstacle, or event that will initially pique your interest. Different people have different motivations. That’s okay. We don’t need to pursue the same goals to understand each other.

I don’t train hard to live a longer life. If I do, so be it. I’m more concerned about living life to the fullest. For me, that means making the most of each day. Challenging myself physically and mentally is part of the process. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope to train every day until my last. As a result, I don’t need annual resolutions. I’m too busy trying to better myself every Monday through Sunday.

+++++

You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances 
are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous. – Bob Black

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23 comments

23 Comments so far

  1. Neal January 3rd, 2014 5:58 pm

    Good article but I think the strongest point to the naysayers is the fact that you only train 1 hour a day. I’m sure 95% of people watch TV, waste an hour on the internet or some other frivolous pursuit.

  2. Ken Smith January 3rd, 2014 6:07 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Ross! I train for a about an hour a day and love the process. Think about how much time we watch TV and web surf, etc! Keep up the great work in 2014. I really enjoy the site, articles and videos! Cheers!

  3. Dave January 3rd, 2014 6:15 pm

    This is an insightful post, especially concerning the marketing portion: how many sales pitches try to sell people something they don’t want?

    But there’s not a lot of help here for people who have not yet learned to like exercise. A professional trainer may enjoy exercise. That’s no surprise. But there are plenty of people who don’t. Maybe some of them will have the determination and persistence to spend the years it takes to find something they like. My wife tried different sports for five years before finding something that worked for her. That’s a long time to keep at something you don’t enjoy, in the hope that you’ll eventually like it.

    Learning to like training if you have exactly zero background in it is very hard, harder than learning to like a new food, or developing a new taste in music, or even meeting new people or taking on a new job. And obviously plenty of people don’t enjoy exercise, otherwise there wouldn’t be advertisements designed to appeal to those people. Tips on how to accelerate the move from don’t-like-this to can’t-live-without-it would do a lot of good.

    Me? I’ve got nothing save “Keep at it.”

  4. John Johnson January 3rd, 2014 6:46 pm

    Ross, I have been following you for well over a decade now and I want you to know that you have influenced me and re-lit the fire inside. When I first came across your site I was a desk jockey Graphic designer. I am now a personal trainer in business with my wife. Much of what I teach and train came from you first. Love your materials they are great. I owe an awful lot to you,and I try to pay it forward by sharing and spreading my knowledge and passion for training. I have no idea how many people I may be influencing outside of my circle but I honestly don’t care, I’ll be doing this,like you with or without the fanfare. I love the process. Thanks for opening my eyes. I also get the pleasure of instilling this in my 6 year old son, watching him and knowing through me he will have the same passion is reward enough. Thank you for your passion.

  5. Sonny January 3rd, 2014 6:57 pm

    Hi Ross, 20 years ago I was a fighter (Muay Thai)and to be honest with you I have not done much over the last 20yrs. Now nearly 41 I have decided I need that one more fight. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things and am putting together some workouts from your two books which I own “infinite intensity” and “never gymless”. I would like to ask you about running, I just finished reading your article http://www.rossboxing.com/thegym/thegym1.htm and was wondering, would it be wise to run everyday like 2-3 interval and then 3-4 days 2-4 mile runs or should you have days where you do not run at all?

    thanks for all your information and when I have my fight I will let you know how I got on. My conditioning will be mostly from your books and this awesome site.

    cheers

  6. admin January 3rd, 2014 7:59 pm

    @Dave – I don’t agree that learning to enjoy training is as difficult as you describe. The first step is starting. Once you start and do so intelligently, it’s natural to begin enjoying the RESULTS. What man doesn’t want to feel stronger? What woman doesn’t want to look and feel better? The work that leads to these improvements then becomes cherished when you realize what it does. If you trained without anything happening, it would be difficult to enjoy.

    Knowing what you are building/overcoming naturally causes one to embrace the process. For example, I enjoy the burn of a set as I know what it is going to do. It will lead me closer towards whatever goal I’m working on at the moment.

    How can anyone live without trying to better themselves physically and mentally? How anyone enjoys that type of life is what I really do not understand.

  7. admin January 3rd, 2014 8:01 pm

    @Sonny – There’s no single answer to the question. Some people are naturally more suited for running. Others do well with little or none. Much of the decision will depend on what’s happening at the MT gym. How is your endurance? How are the sparring sessions going? What do you need to improve? Where are you struggling from a conditioning standpoint?

    Don’t just do anything (including running) without good reason. Individual needs must be considered.

  8. Leon January 3rd, 2014 10:36 pm

    Hey Ross, you have written another gem. I agree with you. Daily challenges in training and self improvements is the way to go. The people who post those stupid comments are just your typical average Joe Schmo six pack. They do not understand that training improves the quality of your life and also creates character and discipline. The type of people who leave stupid comments here are probably waiting for some stupid politician to give them something or the government to do something for them. These types of people do not have character or discipline at all. They are what you would call the meat by products of society; losers.

  9. Sergei January 4th, 2014 1:47 am

    Hello. I just want to say thanks Ross and wish to win the day everybody. Keep on training.

  10. Matt J January 4th, 2014 3:16 am

    Another great article. I’m new to your site but I’ve enjoyed all of the articles I’ve read. This is an interesting subject for me too. I’ve exercised in one form or another since I was 11; I’m now 45 and have no idea what I would do if I couldn’t exercise. For me, the activity itself is enough as I’ve never competed in any event but I always set myself personal goals in order to keep my exercise program target specific. I’m also studying to become a personal trainer and am keen to understand the psychology behind exercise and why so many people are against the idea and I think you have touched on some key points here. Have a great day and I look forward to reading more.

  11. Brad January 4th, 2014 3:43 am

    I bought 20acres of land 8 years ago and don’t have any time or inclination to go to a gym. There are so many physical jobs to do that require work and delivers something useful and helps improve my strength. Some of the exercises are chainsawing trees and splitting for our firewood supply, fencing (with shovel and hand auger), hand pulling weeds (great core exercise), hand milking and shearing (great hand exercises). And the list goes on. I really enjoy the physical challenge of owning land and there is no real need to make time to do exercise, it’s just a part of life. But I do own some of your books and enjoy reading your blog and doing exercises before bed if I haven’t done enough during the day.

    PS. I also agree with one of the comments above about the amount of time some people waste watching TV.

  12. Gabriel January 4th, 2014 4:06 am

    This 1 hour a day ‘just’ makes me feel so way better. Not only through the mental part of achieving results, but mainly through the chemical responses in our bodies. It simply feels good, in a trully holistic sense, period. The people who think that this is a ‘waste of time’ are blind and ignorant. The benefits are outrageous and relatively easy to get. I garantee that they are the ones loosing their lifes, not experiencing it 100%.

  13. Kashmere January 4th, 2014 5:51 am

    I do not want to be average, ever! Thanks for your inspiration!

  14. LJ January 4th, 2014 6:23 am

    I have to respectfully disagree with Ross and a lot of the posters here. I also work out about an hour a day and I can’t wait to get it over with. It hurts, it burns, it’s strenuous and unpleasant. I do it because I feel I have to like brushing your teeth and eating your vegetables. I like the way I feel afterwards both mentally and physically. I like the results. I want to be strong and fit for the rest of my life and realize that the hard work pays off but there is no fun in the doing.

  15. Alf January 4th, 2014 6:29 am

    Hi Ross,
    thanks for another brilliant article!
    Those comments some people leave on your blog/facebook just show they don`t speak the same language, in terms of training. They are living a different live, that´s all I can say…

    Happy New Year from Europe

  16. Dave January 4th, 2014 7:00 am

    I’m the same Dave who posted above on people taking a long time to learn to enjoy exercise. My experience is mostly personal, though there are obviously plenty of folks in similar situations, otherwise the world would be populated by fitness models, powerlifters and Ironmen.

    My wife (and pretty much the entirety of her family) had zero athletic background when we met in college. No sports in grade school or high school, no occasional charity runs, no skiing, hiking, or bicycling. I was no jock, but I enjoyed being active, so we tried doing things together: raquetball, rollerblading, 5K runs and training, weights at the Y, calisthenics at home, hiking and backpacking. She soldiered on (a heck of a gal), but was having no fun, and seeing only minimal results, perhaps because the effort required for a decent response wasn’t enjoyable (yet).

    Eventually we learned that the problem was me (a common theme). She found a class-based gym she enjoyed full of people she liked (who weren’t me), and got used to working harder. And suddenly it started to work. She got very strong, and very fit. After our first kid was born, she switched to triathlon, and she’s storming that, too.

    But it took a long time, and a lot of patience on both our parts. She has since inspired her two brothers to get out and run. They’ve both lost a lot of weight and gained fitness, in no small part so that they’re not shown up by their little sister. But they didn’t start training until they were over 40. They had no incentive.

    And frankly, they’re all lucky that they had untapped potential to discover. I feel especially bad for folks who put in the effort, and see only minimal gains. They exist, and they’ve got it rough (I’m sure the 2010 study by Dr. Timmons has been discussed on your forums).

    So I would encourage some patience and understanding from those of you who have been life-long athletes, especially if you are now very strong and very fit. There are people out there whose experience is radically different than yours, and the move toward fitness is not obvious or easy for them.

  17. admin January 4th, 2014 7:34 am

    Well said Dave. I agree that different people will naturally have different interests, motivators, experiences, etc. My point is that we (the community as a whole) should do more to encourage others to find activities that they enjoy. Exercise doesn’t need to be something that we despise (ie. you catch more flies with honey). If there is an exercise/activity that I don’t like, I don’t do it. I’ll opt for something that I prefer.

    Unfortunately, most people still do not do anything. If there is ever hope to reverse the current trends of inactivity, we shouldn’t preach a message that exercise is destined to be a miserable experience. It doesn’t need to be that way.

  18. John Bohlig January 4th, 2014 10:14 am

    Right on,Ross! That is a proper New Year’s message!

  19. Rick Elliott January 4th, 2014 2:18 pm

    True to some of the comments above. If I schedule a workout instead of sitting in front of the TV or Tweeting for an hour, I end up doing other productive things I wouldn’t otherwise do in that same day.

  20. Eric January 5th, 2014 2:52 pm

    I’ve been “training” since the mid-Seventies and I can honestly say I’ve never trained for the sole purpose of living a longer life. Better physique, more strength, lose body fat, increase cardio, relieve depression, etc., but never for increasing my time on this planet. I’ve never viewed “training” as a chore, although I must admit I don’t have near the enthusiasm for it that I had decades ago. Still, if I didn’t really want to train I wouldn’t it, and when it becomes truly a chore, I will abandon it. Nearly forty years later, and I still don’t treat my training as some sort of job or chore.

  21. John B. January 7th, 2014 1:55 am

    nice pic. your message is so impressive considering that not really everyone understands the true value of working out and getting fit. i hope this article gets to inspire a lot of people

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