Training Is Like Farming

Anyone who has worked with me knows that this is one of my all time favorite metaphors in the training world. In a society obsessed with instant gratification, physical organisms remain stubbornly committed to the principles of farming: plant the seeds, feed and water properly, and be prepared to wait for results.

No matter what your health and hotness goals are, you can only make so much progress so quickly. If you want to improve your body composition and get leaner, you’ve got to give a training and nutrition regime time to work.

And while we get some pretty incredible results in our Snatched in Six Weeks program by distilling the best practices in the industry… you’re still probably not gonna lose 25 pounds in 6 weeks. If you’re looking to add serious muscle or strength… now we’re talking months and years.

Bummer dude!

This can be a bitter pill. Particularly if you watch infomercials. Or if you read the marketing claims on the supplements at GNC. Or if you search the web for the “secret belly-fat solution.”

Large swaths of the fitness industry promise a way around the patience, consistency, and often brutal hard work it can require to take your physique from “fine” to “holy shit can I wash my clothes on your stomach?”

But the reality is, there is no secret. Not only is there no secret, but the way to achieve your fitness dreams is often disappointingly simple. No pills. No exercise gadgets. No super secret Eastern Bloc weight training protocols. Just sweat and persistence and patience.

No matter what path you choose, I promise you’re gonna pay a price anyway. There are literally no shortcuts to anything of value in life.

Don’t want to pay to work with a qualified fitness coach of some kind? Would you rather just get a DVD and jump up and down in your living room for an hour every day? Go for it! You probably will get leaner. I’m also happy to provide you the info for a qualified physical therapist when your knee pain becomes chronic.

Or what about lipo? Sweet! That’ll work quick, right? Just make sure you’re prepared to enjoy the fat deposits that will start to appear in new places where your body hasn’t previously stored fat (yup, that happens).

Maybe you’ll just smoke meth and not eat? Awesome. You’ll totally lose weight, but you maaaaay run into other health problems. Maybe.

I first heard the farming metaphor from Coach Mike Boyle (though he actually credits the idea itself to Stephen Covey). I love it because it’s simple and cuts to the heart of the matter. If you want to change your body, the first step is letting go of any illusions that there’s an easy way to do it.

Most people who are unhappy with their bodies didn’t get there overnight; it’s not really rational to think you can change it overnight. And yet we are all trained by our society to crave the easy fix, alas…

Let’s also point out the obvious by going back to Covey’s original metaphor: EVERYTHING is like farming. You wanna be rich? Would you like fulfilling relationships? How about a successful career? None of these goals are exempt from the law of the farm.

If you haven’t read this book…

You really should.

Embrace the journey. Accept that it’s going to be a challenge. And don’t forget, much of the value that comes from any of these goals is derived from the fact that they’re hard. Fuck the lotto. Fuck the big break. You want something from life? Go hustle your ass off. Have the humility to ask for help. Trust the process and keep getting after it. Realize that if it’s worth having, it’s worth the struggle. And maybe, just maybe, it’s the toil itself that makes the fruit so effin’ delicious.

The law of the farm.

Plant the seeds.

Feed and water properly.

Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.


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Mark Fisher is the co-owner and Ninja Master of Mark Fisher Fitness, one of the most successful gyms in the history of the fitness industry. Within its first five years, MFF grew from a single personal trainer to a staff of over 35, more than 800 members, and two studios in Manhattan, earning it a spot in on the prestigious Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. Mark also likes cursing, musical theater, and writing in third person. For more awkward self-talk, see markfisherhumanbeing.com

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