At the beginning of the year the stock value of wishes and promises goes really high. “I want to learn Chinese, karate, tennis and judo while improving my poetry and piano skills,” wrote Johnny in his journal on January 1st. Cool story, bro. It’s 8 months later. Did you do it or am I catching you eating pancakes in your pajamas?
One of the sectors affected the most by this ambition spike is, of course, the world of muscle and shreds. The gyms are packed during the first few months of the year. Hordes of gym virgos, eager to get in their ultimate shape, begin spreading DNA on the bench presses. Meanwhile greedy gym owners are counting the bucks laughing out loud. There’s almost no other feeling like making a bunch of suckers sign an annual membership while knowing very well that they will soon return to their previous lifelong relationship with candy bars, chocolate, donuts, waffles and rust removers, but will continue paying you for the rest of the year neverthless. Quite a lot of cash is made in the sector during Q1, especially if your gym is equipped with the latest cardio equipment, preferably one seen in trendy movie.
When somebody joins the muscle game his head is full of illusions installed their by the mainstream media in all of its forms. When people think of muscle, they immediately associate it with their favorite action heroes, boom-boom movies, fighting and what not. This is a problem because the conventional wisdom and ideas spread in the media are usually false, or at the very least you are not shown the whole picture. It’s always like that in every aspect of life and lifting weights does not make an exception. That’s why when people get discouraged and quit when they finally learn they’ve been lied to. Without a doubt the process is strongly facilitated by the lazy human nature. It’s August now and I am pretty sure only 10% or maybe even less have actually kept their new year’s resolutions to get in shape. The rest are still at the beginning or maybe even in a worse situation.
The stupid Hollywood mindset has convinced everybody that you can become Rambo in three months. It’s true that a lot of weight can be lost in 90 days, but you are not going to become a bodybuilder or a really strong person in three months. It’s just a start and that’s about it. Training is an investment which requires more time to give you a true reward. In order for it to work, it has to become part of your lifestyle, which may come as a drastic change to some people. You don’t have to live to lift or anything like that, but you can’t expect to negate the effect of 20 waffles by sitting on a bike set at “easy” for 30 minutes while reading celebrity gossip written for mental midgets.
Of course, I also have to mention the absolute fact that 90% of the transformations out there are not natural, or at the very least the angles and/or photos are manipulated. Steroid usage is more than common for professional bodybuilders and fitness models while the second (alteration/magic) is the bone of the beachbody jumping jacks propaganda. There are many fragile boys who look small as hell in real life, but through proper lightning, favorable angles, tanning, shaving, oiling and Photoshop can be made to appear huge. Consequently, when an ordinary person gets to that level or close, they feel weird and disappointed. “Is this it,” many ask themselves like it’s their first time buying donuts or something. Yeah, that’s it. Welcome to real world.
The final reason why new year’s resolutions fail is that we tend to give them too much meaning – it’s all or nothing. “I am either going to be the best or die,” says Johnny. Well, the “best” is subjective and takes years to achieve which means what? That if you have that mindset you are most likely going to quit. I won’t sell you some motivational nonsense how you have to aim for the sky in order to reach at least the mountains when you miss. Fuck that. I think this world is suffering from too much false motivation. It’s the new thing. Are you motivated? I am not. Go sell your routine somewhere else.
This is what I call mainstream sugar rush type propaganda motivation. Once the carbs wear off, you go in a coma.
My favorite is when people spam the Internet with motivational clips. Most contain sports scenes cut from brainwashing Hollywood movies. Most of the times there’s also an old guy in the background, backed by epic string hits and choirs, who is dropping “sick” knowledge. “How bad do you want it,” screams the old guy. Shut the fuck up and eat a banana.
Motivation like that works for a little while (January and February), but the real drive is found deep within you. It usually thrives on small but real successes. Sometimes we can get way ahead by setting a small goal instead of aiming for the sky and falling in the river. It’s better to start small and finish big than to start big and don’t finish at all because of it.