By Ross Enamait – Published in 2007
Have you ever pecked away at the keyboard, hoping a late night Google search would uncover a hidden gem among countless articles? You search high and low, hoping and hoping that you will find the missing piece to the puzzle. How can you improve your conditioning? What is the secret? Where is it hiding?
The endless search continues, until now of course… And before you close this article out of disgust, let me assure you that I don’t have the hidden gem, as it doesn’t exist.
Conditioning is a simple subject. I will not mislead you and pretend that I have a top secret discovery waiting to be revealed. There is no such thing, and never will be. The wheel has already been invented, so let’s not reinvent it.
Conditioning programs can be complex or crude in terms of equipment. It does not matter. The most important aspect to any conditioning program is you. You get what you put into it. Regardless of the workout or equipment that you choose, it is you who must put forth the effort. The tools that you choose are nothing more than a means to an end. Equipment will not change the equation for success, as the most important variable will always be you. Many athletes tirelessly search for new breakthroughs, yet never take the time to look at themselves. Will a new piece of equipment or new routine really change your work ethic? How hard do you train? How bad do you want it?
Think of the amazing athletes that have come before us. These athletes thrived on the basics, so perhaps the only real secret is that the basics do work. The best idea is not always a new idea, but rather a reminder to stick with what works and what has always worked. Often times, it is more useful to weed out bad ideas, rather than looking for new ideas, therefore leaving us with only good ideas.
Don’t waste time hoping for the latest and greatest system to be created. You will be waiting for something that never happens. Remember that old saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Never abandon everything that has worked, in place of something that is new and unproven. Many new ideas are dreamed up as a way to differentiate the idea creator from others, but who is to say that a new idea can replace all of those successful methods that have come before? Perhaps the best program is not new, but rather a system based on proven techniques, some old and some new.
Man has exercised his body since the beginning of time. Every now and then, there will be new twists to old ideas, and even a few novel ideas that change the way we think, but the fact remains that exercise must not be complex or radical to be effective.
With all of the science and research available to us, it would make sense that all athletes are highly conditioned in today’s era. Unfortunately, this is not true. Athletes continue to fail because of poor conditioning. Fatigue still influences the outcome of many sporting events, even at the highest level of competition.
It has been said that knowledge is power, but knowledge without action means little. You may know how to train, but if you never apply your knowledge to action, your knowledge has been wasted.
As Napoleon Hill once said,
“Knowledge is only potential power.”
And as we know, most athletes fall far short of their potential…
Extraordinary athletes do not become extraordinary with an ordinary effort. The extraordinary push the envelope, surging past commonly accepted boundaries. They disregard those limits hypothesized by critics, and even fellow athletes. The extraordinary refuse to accept failure. They set high goals, often considered unrealistic, and never give up until achieving these goals.
We would all achieve much more if we stopped believing in the word impossible. The body is much more capable than most realize. Unfortunately, there will always be critics who spread doubt, perhaps to comfort their own lack of achievement. My advice to you is simple. Put the work back in workout. You are ultimately responsible for your own success. Time is limited, so don’t waste your time searching for something that you will never find.
Knowledge is important, and always will be, but don’t let your pursuit of knowledge stand in the way of action. While many waste time searching for secrets, there are others who stay busy training. That extra set, that extra exercise, that extra practice session, and the extra effort that you put forth each day when everyone else has packed up, is what will ultimately separate you from the rest.
Lewis Cass once said,
“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.”
I keep these words in the back of my mind each day. Yes, I remain open to new ideas, actively pursue new research, and continue to experiment with new protocols, but regardless of what science reveals to us, the most important lesson remains fixed. Your success depends on your efforts, and only you can decide what kind of effort you put forth.
I understand the importance of knowledge, as knowledge guides action, but it is action that takes knowledge and makes it special. I don’t fault anyone involved in the endless search, but there must be balance between the time spent searching for new methods and the time spent applying proven concepts. I too strive to always improve my methods. Yet, no matter what I am testing or researching, I never stray too far from the fundamentals. Yes, we can always spice up the basics with a new twist here and there, and hopefully, every now and then we will in fact discover a new concept. If and when this happens however, don’t abandon everything in place of this idea. It’s useful to tune up the engine, but rarely will you need to replace it.