This weekend a group of Olympic weightlifters from Caveman Strong had the opportunity to participate in a private 3 hour training session with the legendary Alexandar Varbanov. Alex is an Olympic medallist, 3 time world champion, set multiple world records and is pound for pound one of the greatest lifters in the history of the world (I looked it up). Since concluding his competitive career he has become a world class coach. Being able to work with Alex would be like a hockey player having one on one ice time with Gretzky!
While I learned too many things to mention in this article, perhaps the most valuable was recognizing the role of progress and pain in creating our ultimate payoff or result.
Lack of External Does Not Always Equal Internal
I am very new to the sport of Olympic weightlifting (which is to power lifting what a concert violinist is to a fiddler) and I have to admit I had started to grow frustrated by what seemed to be a lack of progress. In fact my recent totals have actually been LESS than they were 6 months ago when I started to seriously train! I had been asking myself what have I been doing wrong and realized after my session with Mr. Varbanov that I wasn’t doing anything wrong except that my totals should be even lower!
I Suck, But In a Better Way!
What does this mean? It means that even though my results are worse, I have made tremendous progress in my mobility and technique – both things that will set the stage for much bigger totals in the future. I also learned that I have much more work to do in these areas before the big external results begin to manifest. You see my biggest asset (my strength) had been my largest impediment because I could use it at the expense of developing solid technique and mobility. The problem with this is I was at the limit of what I could produce at that level of skill – which really wasn’t much at all.
Sometimes, Some Pain Means Massive Gain
I also learned some lessons about pain. Essentially what Alex prescribed as correction strategies involved movements that I have avoided because I find them uncomfortable and painful. The question now is, am I willing to experience temporary discomfort for long term progress? The answer is YES, by the way!
Lessons For Life
While this anecdote is about weightlifting, this article is really about so much more. How can these lessons be applied to your health and life? Are you guided by short term results (symptom relief) at the expense of long term health? Do you choose comfort over success? Do you stop making progress on your health (diet, exercise, meditation, chiropractic care) the first time it feels painful or uncomfortable? How you answer these questions will determine your long term health and wellbeing.
How could these lessons apply to your financial success (debt vs. Savings)? How about your relationships? How about your career? What other areas of your life would be forever enhanced if you committed to progress instead of short term results and embraced some pain and discomfort in order to achieve the long-term payoff?
How You Do the Small Things Is How You Will Do the Big Things
One of the reasons I love sports (or any skill) is that they provide you with a classroom to learn about the secrets of life. The courage comes in taking the secrets from what is ultimately a trivial arena and applying them where they count.
Click Here to see a video of Alexandar Varbanov in action
“You can either be comfortable or successful.”
– Dr. Donald Epstein
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