How often have you asked yourself this question?
To put it another way: are you measuring improvement by external factors (performance), or by internal factors (control, focus, concentration)?
To be sure, there are performance improvements to be had especially in the beginning of your training career. And if you want to take on a new challenge with that base fitness, you’ll gain task-specific improvements (fit-ness, you see) that are built on your foundation with a very small impact on your actual foundation. Motor learning calls this “indifferent transfer” and most of the sports or activities we participate in will at best result in this outcome given the time we can invest in them.
One of the gifts of having the internet and the internet archive is that you can watch the progression of fitness gurus over weeks, months, and years. By and large, unless they’ve lost a ton of fat, most haven’t changed aggressively. That “hypertrophy expert” doing 10 times the volume you are? Are they 10x bigger? Have they had 10x the result? How is that measured?
Of course we run up against biological limits, but for some reason something like hypertrophy that has a degree of plasticity (but a hard upper limit based on skeletal size) is seen as a limit of choice. As long as you “choose” to keep gettin’ gainz, you keep getting bigger. It’s a matter of choice. This is of course false. Just like I didn’t choose to be nearly 6’3″, you can’t choose your sensitivity or absolute limit to this stuff.
Just like you shouldn’t wait until you have X dollars in the bank or have achieved Y to be happy, don’t wait until you’re in Z shape to start enjoying what your body is capable of. “Oh I can’t enjoy that tough mudder/5k/giant camping trip because I’m not in good enough shape yet.” There’s always someone faster/stronger/better than you, and you’ll eventually decline no matter how diligent or lucky you are. Enjoy the fitness you’ve built doing things with said fitness… that was the whole point in the first place, remember?
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Anyone reading and tracking with Tanner may enjoy Borge Fagerli’s recent development: Sustainable Self Development. There’s a Facebook group and online curriculum (great price/incredible value). Borge has a very similar outlook.