One of the things we try to do every day during our kids’ session is to let one or two of the kids know that we noticed something they did in here. This isn’t instruction per se, and in this regard we’re almost as likely to joke with them about throwing their coats onto the fridge as we are to mention a great set of pushups, but we feel like it’s pretty important that they understand we’re paying attention–to the things they do athletically, of course, but also to the simple fact of their presence. It’s amazing what comes out sometimes when you let a kid know that someone’s keeping score and rooting for them.
Things change as we grow up, but maybe not as much as we think they do. Being noticed,being known, still teases out some great stuff athletically and personally. But if you would be known, well, you gotta know yourself. (That is either an NBC public service message from 1985–I’m seeing Gary Coleman and Charlotte Rae at the helm–or a slightly bastardized En Vogue lyric, not sure which.)
In the gym, a little self-knowledge goes a long way. And while I’d never turn down the opportunity to proselytize on behalf of keeping a training log, it really goes deeper this time around. When we talk with newer members, we can’t help but get caught up in the stage directions: yes you will get stronger, yes you will feel better, yes you will see improvements in quality of life. This is a very exciting and important forest, but we shouldn’t miss the trees.
Particularly for folks who come to us looking to make large scale changes, the sheer distance between Point A and Point B (which is almost always a shorter and more piecemeal route than we expect it to be) can fog up the details. As a newer member and baby athlete, it’s perilously easy to fall into the pleasant rut of change, to view your training from the remove of that you-person standing next to the Point B sign. There you are, way back at Point A, life before yoga pants or sweet tanks, and all that really matters from the vantage of Point B is that you keep moving. Are you getting closer? Good. You are a body in motion.
That matters, of course, probably more than anything in here. But it’s not everything. I know from talking with some of you that it can be hard to grab at joy in the everyday of what we do, and especially to get at the joy of self-discovery. Being goal-oriented is a wonderful thing but, well, do you like to bench press? Were you surprised that we wouldn’t let you use the weight you used in college, and then maybe thankful, and then maybe surprised again when you blasted that weight for 5 reps a month later? Did you feel like a million bucks when you hit your first box jump even as the old hand next to you was busting out sets of ten? What about the journey? What are you learning about yourself? What do you notice about yourself? Training in a group atmosphere can be magical, particularly when you’re willing to be present in the moment with yourself (first with yourself, always first with yourself) and your classmates or teammates.
And this stuff is as important for veteran members as it is for newbies, sometimes much more acutely. What do you love doing in here? It’s probably not exactly what it was a few months ago (or maybe it is). What are you good at? How do you feel when you train in the morning? You have near-term goals, for competition or some such, or you’re rehabbing an injury, or you’re just where you are. Maybe it’s Saturday morning and you had a long Friday night and sweating out some Prowlers with good people feels like the best thing in the world. Do you let anyone know that? Do you let yourself? The journey from Point C to Point D is just as worthy of examination, after all.
Embrace the process. The details are as worthy as you let them be. Hell, the details are as worthy as you let yourself be. Don’t lose that last bit. It’s the most important thing of all.