The title of this article was taken from the very question Hugh asked me during his workout last week. For some great background on him, you may want to read this article first. He had just been getting warmed up with his set of squats when he asked those words “Why Am I Doing This Only To Fail?”
And I asked him to clarify the question.
“It seems like we keep getting up to a weight only to see me not be able to do it or not be able to complete all the repetitions. I don’t like knowing that I’ve failed at something. So why do we do it that way?”
And to be honest, it’s an excellent question.
Like Hugh, many of us can relate to the fact that no one likes to feel like they can’t do something right or do it proficiently. In strength training, of the myriad ways you can progress, often you have to get to a challenging enough weight or a predetermined set of repetitions to give the body the stimulus it needs to change (get stronger, build/rebuild muscle.)
As the body continues to adjust to the given stimulus, something has to change in the programming so that the end result shows something favorable as well.
I also told Hugh that sometimes it isn’t about hitting a new personal record (although they’re pretty great when you hit them.) Sometimes it’s about accumulating more volume at lower weights so you can see the numbers rise that way as well as the confidence in how you’re moving with the exercise.
I outlined several different rep and set schemes so he could see that there are countless ways to approach an exercise plan to say “I got better.” We have some of our favorites at RevFit because we’ve seen them work time and again over the years we’ve worked with such a variety of individuals.
But it’s not just about strength.
Failure, and how we handle it, encompasses weight loss, our social lives, and our work. We are literally surrounded with opportunities to succeed through our ability to fail and learn from why that failure occurred.
In weight loss, many people get discouraged when they set a goal for themselves only to see that they didn’t hit that goal (or within the time frame they expected.) That point of relative failure can discourage some to the point of just giving up only to repeat the cycle with the next fad diet or trendy supplement.
But, like strength training, there are so many ways to approach weight loss success that have little to do with the scale. With a record of tape measures, you can see changes in body composition that may not be reflecting in scale weight. You can also use before and after photos to see parts of the body change over time with comparisons.
Not to mention, I see many people completely miss the boat with diet approaches. They assume that since their neighbor has seen success on “X” diet that the same diet will work for them (HINT: It probably won’t work as well or be as sustainable.) We’re cut from a different cloth, with different motivations, stresses and responsibilities in life. The likelihood that our diet success would match someone else’s isn’t accurate.
But we can take points of reference from different diets to see how they adhere to our current lifestyle. Rather than treating results as all success or all failure, we continue to modify the playing field so that, no matter what, we can still put a “Win” in our sights.
Like me, Hugh is a small business owner. So, I also approached the conversation in much like the way we would frame it in business.
You won’t get every sale.
Of the ones you do get, maybe some generate more revenue than others but it doesn’t make the other sales less important. They all contribute to the greater good of the bottom line.
And with your health and your goals, the bottom line still matters.
So rather than treating failure like it’s a death knell to your success, treat like it like a stepping stone.
Because here at RevFit, we don’t treat failure as a black-or-white outcome. It’s just one more data point so we can realign our focus and keep you moving forward. It works for strength, it works for weight loss, it works for life.
Here’s a shot of Hugh pushing around 260lbs across our turf like he’s owning it.
“We Make Great People Greater”