I get it.
Each day you wake up you want to be better than the last. The idea of staying where you’re at frightens you. To be the same tomorrow as you are today is a scary concept to grasp, therefore you are always striving to be ‘more’… To be your very best.
You think this problem is unique to just you. Your friends keep tell you “stop being so hard on yourself’. Mainly because you’re the most motivated person they know… How on earth can you be beating yourself up for your lack of accomplishments!
You strive for optimal performance everyday of your life. It’s one of the unique things that make you- you.
Backstory of your Competition…
You love training and as such, one day someone recommended that you compete and the rest was history. You hit stage in peak condition and loved the way you looked and felt. Two months after comp, you’re wondering why, oh why can’t I maintain peak condition?!
It’s because you fell for the lie of maintaining ‘optimal performance’.
Like disease, optimal performance is not the natural homeostatic state one will operate with at 365 days a year, 24/7…
Disease and optimal performance are two opposite ends of the spectrum, in the middle is health. Health is what we can maintain. Our bodies want to lift us up out of disease so we can function at our best and calm us down so we don’t burn out from our peak optimal performance state.
Being 10, 8, 5 or 3 percent body-fat for most is not the epitome of health. Most who chase this illusion end up thinking 9 percent is better than 10, therefore 8 is better than 9, 7 better than 8, 6 better than 7… Oh to hell with it… I want to be minus 6-percent!
With that said, I do believe if you do things right and allow yourself the permission to not be ‘optimal’ you will be on a see-saw incline of improvement. This is easier to draw a picture of than it is to explain… See below:
The red line represents our progress. We go up and down throughout life… This is normal and desirable. The most growth in anything occurs on the border of chaos and order.
The inflection for the most part is UP!
To demonstrate this point more clearly… My worst business day today is better than all my best business days combined 5 years ago. I still have “bad days” but my standard of “bad” has changed exponentially. My inflection is up. If I over analyse, I can get caught up in the day to day grind and lose fact of the constant and steady growth. Steady growth is not linear.
And the thing with growth, it’s not always going to feel like “growth”. Often to grow we need to destroy parts of our personality, identity or other parts of our lives. This is usually both confronting and uncomfortable and certainly doesn’t feel like ‘growth’. The hedonistic measure western society gives growth is pleasure. WRONG!
Growth includes both pleasure and pain. If you can’t face the pain of growth and the letting go of the uncertainty in growth, you will stay where you are. Scary huh?
So I had this conversation with a competitor the other day and she was stressing out that she wasn’t still 7% on a skin fold test… “But I maintained it pre-contest.”
I explained, 7% on a skin fold test (especially for a female) is not normal. This was indeed optimal performance. A state, much like disease that the body doesn’t want to maintain indefinitely. That’s not to say, when we go back to homeostasis (which in this case I am labelling as health), our homeostatic gauge is at a higher standard therefore allowing our next brush with optimal performance to be even better!
But if we get addicted to optimal performance as many get… We are only pushing out and delaying the inevitable burn out. “Trying” to stay at optimal performance is not optimal performance but rather, “kinda-sub-optimal-but-I’ll-pretend-performance”.
Simply put, optimal performance is a state of excess. Disease is a state of deficiency. Health is where we are meant to be for the long haul.
Don’t be caught up in the illusion that you are going to get leaner everyday, or put on more muscle everyday, or get stronger everyday. If you study consistent world-class performers the commonality is they show up and keep at it. They embrace pain and pleasure and use both edges to craft their goals.
Owner and Director and MOHD
You have never seen Mark and Batman in the same room. Make of that what you will.
Mark has trained outstanding athletes including Commonwealth Games Gold medalists, multiple IFBB and INBA figure, fitness and physique champions across multiple divisions. He is a sharp business operator managing his team of 14 in his private studio (which also has a waiting list) in Melbourne, Australia. Mark was awarded his PICP level 5 in 2014.