One of my favourite client success stories was how, after 6 weeks of mobility training, they we're able to finally reach for the bowls in the top cupboard. Now that's top shelf success.
Our training, at most, should build us a surplus of capacity to support the physical and mental needs of our activity level. Our training, at least, should help maintain our current level of activity and not breach our capacity. It should be noted that when I speak about training, I’m referring the totality of what makes that up: nutrition, sleep, breathing, recovery techniques, strength training, cardiovascular training, and additional lifestyle habits.
We often place a high value on the quantitative measures of our strength and conditioning. The numbers we associate to our development can be packed with emotional value. We often learn to only value the increase of decrease of those numbers. That road can often lead to disappointment. with so much of ourselves placed into these numbers, we often forget to celebrate other quantitative, and more importantly, the qualitative elements.
Note how there are still other quantitative measures that hold additional value. Perhaps we’re talking about how many colourful vegetables we're eating, or how much sleep we're gathering. Notably these are just other elements than the typical strength and conditioning staples (rep maxes and rep counts). These aspects don’t seem to set people up for as much disappointment and open up our options in celebrating training successes.
To open it up further, we can dive into the qualitative elements to our training. Sure, everything can be measured, but not everything has a clear measurement. It’s okay to celebrate how we feel. Being comfortable wearing shorts for the first time in years may hold greater value than putting 5 pounds on your 3 rep front squat.
On another note, it is just as awesome to succeed in performing 5 sets of 10 reps of that ring row progression. And sure enough, sometimes just showing up is a victory.
All of these elements are worth targeting. All of these elements are worth celebrating. Having a board filled with more than just numerical successes can help spread more understanding to our community and why we do this.
When we have more avenues to celebrate, the failures can be levied as learning opportunities, and we can still get that golden star of approval.
I'd love to read more about your other successes. Write that shit down.
Emile Maxwell Connaughton