When is the last time you tried something new?
I’m not talking about that new Mexican place that moved in by Target. I’m talking about trying to learn a new skill like a language, cooking or a new exercise?
I bet you, like me, said yea in the heat of the moment, then the self-doubt stepped in and you said something like this…
“Nah I don’t want to do that. I’m going to suck at it anyways.”
I will be the first to admit I do that almost daily. I retreat back to what I know and go on with my day.
Because for the most part, I’m good at what I do daily. And it feels good to be good at something.
What doesn’t feel good is sucking at something, especially sucking as an adult. For kids it’s OK because…well they’re kids. But as adults we are supposed to be 100% awesome 100% of the time.
But that’s not the case.
Think about the first time you had sex. If you say you were good the first time you are a dirty liar. Admit it, it was 2 minutes (and that might even be a stretch) and there might have been apologizing afterwards.
But that’s OK because it was your first time. How can you be good at something if you’ve never done it before?
Now would you have waited forever to do it and be the real life 40 yr. old virgin? If you can see the screen, then we know you didn’t wait.
So why push other things off that you want to do?
EMBRACE THE SUCK
I’ve been programming my own workouts for years and like with anything else, it got boring. I needed to open myself up to different exercises and paradigms by relinquishing control of my gym routine.
Enter John Romaniello. [Side Note: This is the tweet that got me hooked on his stuff.]
John’s website Roman Fitness Systems offers a Super Hero workout ebook (internet talk for pdf) which will be my workout program for the next 12 weeks or so. I always wanted to look like Ryan Reynolds in Blade 3 so why not?
To say I’ve been humbled in the first week would be an understatement. Without giving away too many details of his program, I’ll just tell you is this… At one point the program calls for dumbbell overhead squats. I have never done overhead squats so I grab the 25’s to test the waters. The inferno in my shoulders by rep 3 almost made me quit. I had to drop down to 15’s and finish the workout. Keep in mind I deadlifted 405 recently. I consider myself decently strong.
Can I have ice cream with that slice of humble pie?
The workouts the rest of the week didn’t get any better for me. I did movements and combined things that I had never done before which only resulted in me sucking it up even more.
Just like that, a 15-year veteran of the iron, looking like I had no clue what I was doing. To say I sucked this week at the gym would be a compliment. But I freakin loved it.
From the outside looking in I must have looked like it was my first time in the gym. But that didn’t bother me in the slightest… OK maybe a little. I was learning new exercises and techniques that I can bring to you down the road. Plus, I was uncomfortable which means I was growing. Win-win.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP
So how do you get from your current level of suck to a lesser level of suck? By taking the first step.
Before I could suck less at new exercises I had to find a means of getting this knowledge. I was contemplating hiring a personal trainer but finding one that could help me in the ways I need are expensive. I thought about the online trainer route but that is too is expensive for my cheap ass too. The only logical step for me was the ebook route.
Next, I had to find someone I respected and trust they put out a quality product. Hello John. So I dropped the money on the Super Hero workout. It was about the price of an hour of a good personal trainer but I get the added benefit of 12 weeks of workouts rather than a one gym session.
This process isn’t any different than learning anything else.
Want to learn how to dance? Sign up for dance classes.
Want to learn to cook? Take a cooking class.
Want to learn a new language? Take a language class.
Signing up for something is the easiest first step which gets you moving in the right direction. To increase the odds of you sticking to it, drop some money on it. Free classes are great but there is little incentive to stick with it when you get discouraged in the beginning. Losing money is a good motivator.
I tried learning Arabic for one night through Youtube. After that I forgot about it because I didn’t have any skin in the game to keep going.
YOU LEARN THROUGH ACTION
I had a Chemistry professor in college, brilliant guy with your prototypical science professor look, but he couldn’t run a simple reaction in the lab. He could tell you exactly what was happening as far as the chemistry and all the theory behind it but when it came to actually application of his knowledge he was no better than the incoming freshmen.
Outside of academia, what good is all that knowledge?
All the reading and prepping in the world will not make you better at doing something. Taking action leads you to get better.
Doing the squat will make you better at squatting, not watching videos on form or reading the article “10 Different Squat Variations to Make Gainz.” Get in there and suck at squatting.
IGNORE THE NOISE
The world is filled with idiots and assholes. Accept it and ignore it.
Haters were the biggest deterrent for me growing up. I actually quit freshman football because a teammate tried to belittle me in practice. It sounds stupid now to take that drastic of an action because someone said something once but I bet that something similar rattles in your mind when you think about doing something new.
What are people going to say? To think about me?
I noticed people snickering at me because I screwed up a lift or because I’m learning to extend my wrists for a front squat with 95 pounds on the bar this week. So what.
The outside opinion doesn’t matter and it took Taylor Swift to help me realize that. I know what I’m trying to do, where it will take me and that’s all I need to ignore the noise.
Know your purpose for doing the thing you want to learn. People will laugh or make jokes but they are making a snap judgement about you. Everyone has a story and they are not willing to learn yours so ignore theirs.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF
There are people better than you. There are people that will take to it like a fish to water. Concern yourself with what you do.
You are going to flail around in your first Zumba class. It’s probably going to be laughable/ hilarious. Laugh at yourself and be happy that you did something that “isn’t you”.
Even if you looked like you were having a walking seizure, you still made progress to sucking less.
Set mini milestones to know you are on the right path and are progressing.
Using me as an example with this new workout, my goals are:
- Be able to extend my wrists enough to hold the bar on 4 fingers in the front squat. (I’m currently at 1 finger. More fingers = more extension)
- Learn the hang clean movement
- Less shoulder inferno when doing the overhead squat
- Get 5 10 second intervals of jump roping without restarting (Out of 15 10 second intervals I got 2 clean runs. Double Dutch is not my strong suit.)
- Cut down on workout time (current muscle endurance = zero)
Set yourself up with small goals that are incrementally better than you are now. These will give you a sense of achievement and will serve as motivation when things get hard.
2017 THE YEAR OF UNCOMFORTABLE
In light of my current level of suck with my new workout, I want this feeling to flow over into other aspects of my life for a few reasons:
- It feels good to learn. I honestly haven’t been this happy in a long time
- I want to grow. Being the same is boring
- I want to see what doors open up in the future because of the action I take today
Two months deep into 2017 I’ve decided to make it the year of uncomfortable. Sound the trumpets. This is a big deal.
I get too preoccupied with Aesthetic Physiques and use it as a no-time excuse. So I’m cutting back the two a week articles, which take me anywhere between 10-15 hours each to produce, to just one article a week on Sunday. The rest of the time I’m going to force myself into
- New languages (torn between Spanish, Italian and Arabic),
- Getting into yoga or bodyweight training,
- Guest posting on different websites,
- Making Aesthetic Physiques an actual business
And anything else that tickles my pickle and makes me uncomfortable. In uncomfortability lies growth. I’m not about staying the same and you shouldn’t either.
I’d love to hear what you want to suck less at and what will be your first step. Stop over to the Aesthetic Physiques Community by clicking the big ass blue button below and let me know!