jerryking + movement-based + small_wins   1

The Zen of Weight Lifting
Nov. 22, 2019 | The New York Times | By Brad Stulberg.

There’s an old Eastern adage: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” It’s great training advice too.......A favorite movements at the gym is called a farmer’s carry. You hold a heavy weight in each hand and attempt to walk with a solid, upright posture for between 30 and 60 seconds...... the farmer’s carries work your grip, core, arms, legs and even cardiovascular system — an utterly elegant full-body exercise. .......The physical and mental health benefits of weight lifting are well documented. Weight training can help us to maintain muscle mass and strength as we age, as well as better mobility and metabolic and cardiovascular health. It may help ease or prevent depression and anxiety, and promote mental sharpness.......lifting weights becomes a transformative practice to be undertaken primarily for its own sake, the byproduct of which is a nourishing effect on the soul.....Weight lifting offers participants a chance to pursue clear and measurable goals with outcomes that can be traced directly back to oneself.....In the weight room, however, it’s just you and the bar. You either make the lift or you don’t. If you make it, great. If not, you train more, and try again. Some days it goes well, other days it doesn’t. But over time, it becomes clear that what you get out of yourself is proportionate to the effort you put in. It’s as simple and as hard as that. A kind of straightforwardness and self-reliance that gives rise to an immense satisfaction, a satiating feeling that makes it easier to fall asleep at night because you know you did something real, something concrete, in the world. This doesn’t mean that progress happens fast or is always linear. Consistency and patience are key. If you try to rush the process or force heroic efforts, you invariably wind up getting hurt. Weight lifting, like so much in life, demands showing up day in and day out, taking small and incremental steps that, compounded over time, lead to big gains.
Whether you like it or not, there will be plateaus, which in my experience tend to occur right before a breakthrough. Weight lifting teaches you to embrace them, or at the very least accept them.....For most, the plateau is a form of purgatory. But to advance beyond the low-hanging fruit in any meaningful discipline — from weight lifting, to writing, to meditation, to marriage — you must get comfortable spending time there. Weight lifting shoves this reality in your face since progress, or in this case, lack thereof, is so objective.......
you don’t keep showing up and pounding the stone.

But here’s a paradox: Pound too hard or too often, and you’ll run into problems. The only way to make a muscle stronger is to stress it and then let it recover. In other words, you’ve got to balance stress and rest. Exercise scientists call this “progressive overload.” Too much stress, not enough rest, and the result is illness, injury or burnout. Too much rest, not enough stress, and the result is complacency or stagnation. It’s only when yin and yang are in harmony that you grow — another lesson that applies to a lot more than lifting weights.

It is true that from the outside, weight lifting can seem dull or boring — same movements, same barbells, same people at the same gym. 
Weight lifting fulfills three basic needs:
Autonomy: The ability to exert oneself independently and have control over one’s actions.
Mastery: A clear and ongoing path of progress that can be traced back to one’s efforts.
Belonging: Being part of a community, lineage or tradition that is working toward similar goals.
 
The Zen of weight lifting — the joy, fulfillment, hard-earned calluses and growth — lives in the process, in the journey. 
cardiovascular  compounded  consistency  core_stability  efforts  exercise  fitness  functional_strength  incrementalism  metabolism  movement-based  objective_reality  paradoxes  patience  plateauing  small_wins  soul-enriching  strength_training 
november 2019 by jerryking

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