I want to tell you about the time I quit training.
I quit for about 8 or 9 months. It was about 2 months into my sophomore year in college.
I had been lifting weights seriously (4-5x per week) for a little over a year and a half at that point. My nutrition was still that of a college kid for the most part, but I was at least paying attention to getting enough food and eating enough protein.
When I started seriously lifting weights, if you asked me what I thought I would look like in 18 months, I would have guessed something in the range of “1980 Arnold”.
While that sounds absurd now, and I may be exaggerating a tad, I really thought I was going to look a hell of a lot different than I did.
A year went by and I had put on some muscle, but I was still underwhelming and flabby. 10lbs of muscle was great, but I wanted 30. I looked better, but I expected to have a 6 pack by now.
So I got frustrated. I quit. “It wasn’t working.”
It wasn’t that what I was doing wasn’t working….it obviously was. 10lbs of muscle with a decrease in body fat in 18 months is PROGRESS. I would kill for that today.
The problem was that my expectations were out of whack.
This was before I knew anything about anything. I was not studying exercise physiology at the time. My training knowledge was built on articles from Muscle and Fitness Magazine and bodybuilding.com forums.
These media publications put certain expectations in my head that if I followed the (underwhelming) programs in their magazines, I would look like the guy on the cover in 8 weeks.
They didn’t tell me that guy dieted down and dehydrated himself for that photo shoot and looks like that one day a year. They didn’t tell me about the drugs he was using. They didn’t talk about the 20 years of training he put in to get to where he is today.
They said do this program for 8 weeks, take these supplements, and BOOM: Fitness model.
Needless to say, this isn’t how it works.
But my expectations were skewed. Therefore, even though I was making amazing progress, my expectations were not met. Because my expectations were not met, I felt that I failed. “It didn’t work.” That was enough reason for me to quit.
I know I discuss this often, but this stuff is HARD. Simple…but HARD. Not only that, it takes TIME.
So if your expectations are to lose 20lbs in 8 weeks…you may be disappointed when you only lose 5.
I would argue 5lbs in 8 weeks is a monster accomplishment.
Life is about managing expectations. Training is no different.
Seek progress, not perfection. Keep the goal in mind, but celebrate even the smallest of victories. This will be the key to long term success.