Four ways patience pays off

One of the most delightful aspects of my job is seeing stiff, creaky adults gradually become able to position their body around a barbell correctly and squat, deadlift, press, or bench press it. Sure enough, after several sessions, a person who described herself as totally inflexible is lifting with as much skill as any other new trainee. And she’s on her path to increased strength and confidence. Love it!

The point is, patience is not just a virtue here -- it’s a requirement. When I learned to abandon expectations of how quickly a new trainee learns to lift, and just to watch and see how the person progresses, our training sessions became better focused and more rewarding. There’s no pressure! For you, this means you can relax your mind and focus on what you’re doing. You don’t have to worry about what I think, or about what’s next, or any of those mental distractions. The “no rush” atmosphere feels good.

My work consists of teaching and demonstrating, looking at your movement, adjusting my instructions, looking at your movement, and so on. I have no agenda other than to teach you and eventually to see you lifting correctly so that you can get strong.

“Being patient” sounds, in our impatient culture, as if it’s by nature a chore. For me, it isn’t. It feels great. It also paid off in my personal life, when I stopped trying to rush around people in traffic or in the supermarket who were moving more slowly. Turns out there’s very seldom a reason to behave that way. My whole day is more relaxed and happier when I’m patient. If you're not an especially patient person, can you commit to making a focused effort to show patience to others and see how it feels?

So if you're new to training, and/or your expectations or confidence are low, your willingness to progress slowly will be rewarded by both safety and results. My method is to have you try things, do more of the things that you can readily do, keep trying until they become a moderate challenge, and then move on to something else. When there’s something that’s a lot harder to do, we try it a few times, then put it aside and try again another time. Eventually, we always get there, in your own time.

If you're looking for a strength or fitness trainer, and you can't train with me, I encourage you to use patience as one of your criteria for judging a new trainer if you try one. Even if you get off to a slow start, you will go far with a patient trainer.

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