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Ten Thousand Hours of Fitness

Dec 11, 2015

Ten Thousand Hours Theory

The other day I was working with a client of mine, and as I do with clients who already have very good form I was being ultra picky! Not the kind of picky you see on the elementary school bus… I mean I know the bus is yellow but do we really need that many kids digging for gold? No, I was being picky with a new breathing technique which we were incorporating in to her dead lift program. My client got it down very nicely on her last set, which was fantastic because the last set was very heavy, and the breathing technique is meant to help your body bare a heavy force without compromising the spine.

Also as I do, I got very excited when she finished her set, and congratulated her on getting the breathing correct! She may need to go back and read my Change Your Mind series, because though she had fantastic dead lift form, lifted heavier than she ever had before, and got the breathing technique we were working on, she responded to my congratulations with “Yeah, but I had to think about it the whole time.” I then informed her that she should, and maybe always will have to think about her form while performing her exercises, especially a new PR dead lift! She seemed surprised when I told her that I still have to think about what my body is doing, and how things are working together when I do exercises.

If you have not heard of the Ten Thousand Hours Theory, it is basically a theory by Malcolm Gladwell that says it takes 10,000 hours of specific practice on a skill to become a master of that skill. Keeping that theory in mind, think about how much time you personally have spent working directly on your fitness. Has it been 10,000 hours? If not, why do you expect to master everything fitness related right away? Give yourself some credit when you do make progress, no matter how small it is. Now do you really need to spend 10,000 hours working on a specific fitness skill? Unless you plan to be a world class athlete probably not, but don’t expect to be a master of fitness either. Learning a new skill, or not progressing on a current skill can become very frustrating, but keep in mind how new that skill actually is, and how much time you have realistically been working on it. If you get 1 out of the 10 reps right, get excited about that one rep, not down about the other 9 that weren’t perfect. Then next time shoot for 2 great reps.

For many of our clients simply feeling and looking better is all they want. We see you anywhere from 1- 5 times per week. That is 45 min – 3.75 hours per week. Even if you came in 5x per week, and were 100% focused during your whole session, it would take you 2,666 weeks = 51 years to become a master. Yoda was a master Jedi, but (spoiler alert) he died when he was like 900 years old, he had the time to put into becoming a master. I don’t know about you, but for me I would like to spend the majority of my life with friends and family doing things we enjoy. If that means I am never a master of my own fitness and I have to actually think about what my body is doing when I exercise I am okay with that. I will still give myself two thumbs up and a pat on the back when I have made any type of progress. I hope you will acknowledge your accomplishments as well!

May the force be with you, and may you be strong enough to overpower it when it’s not!

Mike Gilmore – Fitness Together Newtonville


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