I think Michael Boyle said it best when he referenced “the law of the farm” as a way to describe training:
The process of exercising is much like farming or like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results from exercise and there are no immediate results from farming.
First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Much like fertilizer in farming, too much food can be a detriment to the exerciser. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can underfeeding. As I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout or crops to grow, I feel many of the same frustrations of the new exerciser. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and — nothing.
The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and exercising are eerily similar. Continue to exercise and eat well and suddenly a friend or co-worker will say, “Have you lost weight”? Your reaction might be, “It’s about time someone noticed.” Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback. Clothes begin to fit differently.
You see, both farming and fitness don’t happen overnight, it can sometimes take months, or even years to see the fruits of your labor. No matter your age, if you are trying to make significant changes to your body composition (whether it be weight loss or muscle gain) it takes time to do it properly. While you could go with an alternative method and get results quickly, it will often be a non-sustainable path.
Unfortunately, in a world of instant gratification, patience does not sit well and you better believe that the words “patience” and “fitness” aren’t terms you often hear mentioned together on television or on the internet. In a world of quick fixes, the 30 day squat challenges and 60 day muscle confusion programs are king.
One of the hardest things for people to understand is that significant changes require hard work, dedication, and time. The number one reason people don’t often get the results they want to see is that they don’t stick with something long enough in order for changes to begin to take place.
In the gym, as in in life.. There are no short-cuts. Quick fixes rarely last in the long run. But patience and hard work are an equation for success. So next time you feel like quitting, don’t forget why you started. Just remember to stick with it and the results will come. And in the event you need a little extra something, something – here are some tips that can help you stay the course.