Disclaimer: This is not an instructional powerlfting article. This is not me giving powerlifting advice, this is an article about goal setting. As someone who has been obsessed with goal achievement my entire life, it is something I am well-versed enough to discuss. Powerlifting as life’s great metaphor allows us to draw parallels that carry over into success in all arenas, including how to set and achieve your own goals.
“Geez man, you’ve put on A LOT of weight!” This is a common sentiment I receive from those who haven’t seen me in the past year…. especially in the past 6 months, when I decided to accelerate my weight gain and have packed on 40+ pounds. I stopped measuring my bodyfat, and traded in most of my veggies for triple bacon cheeseburgers and devouring entire large pizzas in one sitting. Yeah, I’ve gotten fatter. So much fatter that my friends often comment on my ever-protruding belly [read: power gut]. When asked how much longer I’m going to keep bulking my answer is “as long as possible!” But why? As a health professional, why would I consciously increase my weight and bodyfat when it could have a potentially negative effect on my health?
The answer is simple: Because my goals and priorities. My goal is to move weight. ALL OF IT. Mass moves mass, therefore, the more of me that exists, the lighter weight on the bar will be in relativity. Before you start shouting about getting stronger while losing weight, please go back and read my last sentence from a mathematical stance, not an emotional one. Sure, if you’re ultra-diligent, have drug assistance, and/or are a novice, you can make strength gains while maintaining a slight caloric deprivation, but we can agree those are the exceptions and not the rule. Furthermore, all of that is besides the point. Remember: This is an article about goal setting, not “how-to” gain weight.
So what exactly is my point with all this lead in? The point is, if you are serious about achieving a goal, a tradeoff may exist in that: as one thing improves – another may suffer. Let’s talk specifics: I’m currently reaching for a 2,000 pound total. I’m tall-ish. If I am serious about that goal, I’m going to need to continue to add size to my longer frame to realistically achieve the stated goal. I’ve been doing that and it has been working. My sport-specific performance has definitely increased… but guess what? It could be said that my general health has deteriorated. A recent blood analysis showed my blood sugar and cholesterol levels had risen since last time I checked it, 60 pounds lighter. Ok duh, I expected that, BUT GENERAL WELL-BEING IS NOT MY GOAL.
I’m not an idiot. Nor am I trying to die an early death. If I wasn’t already in good health when I started this quest, or if my cholesterol numbers were nearing heart-attack-status, I may consider pumping the breaks. In this quest of chasing optimal personal performance, some things may improve along with it, some may go the opposite way… this is the great balance effect of life. Let’s provide another example here that has nothing to do with training. If you are trying to seriously advance in your career, chances are at some point you’re going to need to make a decision to prioritize your work over everything. This means laser focus on your tasks, and more time and energy devoted to your career advancement. In turn, it also means less free time for socializing and other leisure activities. There is your balance effect. The more you push towards the pinnacle and the outer-reaches of any one specific thing, less energy will be devoted to maintaining the generalities of your life.
Important to note here that all of this is a PERSONAL CHOICE. I feel confident saying the majority of humans just want to be happy and comfortable and that is okay and fine and good. However, there are many, like myself, that are hard-wired from birth to push and dig and claw for everything they can. The understanding that must be reached, is that intensity and extensity are inversely correlated. In other words, the farther you wish to go in one direction, the less you can pursue all directions. The opposite of this is commonly known as “jack of all trades, master of none.” So once again, it becomes your choice: Be passable at any number of things or strive for excellence in a few?
No matter what you want to achieve, you have a larger onus of control over it than you realize. However, to achieve great feats you can’t half-ass anything. Always use your full ass, and realize in going full-assed into a goal, things that fall by the wayside may potentially diminish. Anyway, what does it matter if you are doing and/or getting the things YOU WANT!
“Prize intensity more than extensity. Perfection resides in quality, not quantity. Extent alone never rises above mediocrity, and it is the misfortune of men with wide general interests that while they would like to have their finger in every pie, they have one in none. Intensity gives eminence, and rises to the heroic in matters sublime.” (Baltasar Gracián, 1601-1658)
About Lance: Lance is Austin Simply Fit’s Spirit Guide. Having himself been previously weak, fat, and injured, he is motivated to help you reach your optimal health. Lance currently trains as a competitive powerlifter. Click here to read more about Lance