Cheating is Training for Failure

One of the advantages when working with a trainer is accountability. It’s hard to cheat or sell yourself short with someone standing over you the whole time; correcting form demanding one more rep, and pushing you to go further or harder. To this day I still recall my Drill Instructors on Parris Island. They were like ghosts; materializing out of thin air the moment cheating even crossed your mind. The fear of these cast iron demons climbing on your ass with both feet was a powerful motivator to give each workout your all. As an instructor in a private group class though it’s considered bad form to yell, scream, or educate clients with your fists. It’s all too easy for people to leave off a few reps or take shortcuts on runs. Even if you catch them, really what can you do besides call them out and hope they have the personal integrity to own up to it and correct the infraction.

I see a lot of cheating in gyms and classes these days and a lot of annoyed instructors too. Let’s face it personal integrity is just not a common character trait these days. Sadly enough most of these rep/form/distance violators just don’t understand that in the end the only person they are hurting is themselves. Cheating on your workout is a lot like smoking; you’re paying for something then just burning it up. Afterwards you have nothing to show for it, but an empty wallet. Why would you pay for something then not get the most out of it or worse yet not show up at all. As annoyed as your instructor may be in the end they still get paid because you’re still paying full price for half a workout, because you couldn’t summon the intestinal fortitude to give it your all. While I understand some days you’re just not on our game and a workout can seem like a death march, but if you’re consistently cutting your routines short, skipping reps, or lifting well below your ability, you’re just training yourself for failure.

Whether you’re working out to lose weight, prepare for a race, or just define your physique the best and fastest results will always come from a maximum effort. The top-level of athletes, bodybuilders, and competitors in sports today, work out with an intensity and focus that would simply frighten the average gym goers today. There’s no standing around chatting, watching TV, posing in the mirror, there’s work and more work until they’re a sweaty dripping mess lying in the floor gasping for air and quivering with exhaustion. That’s what it takes to get to the top.

Maybe you’re saying, “I’m not trying to be the best or play professionally or win awards,” That’s fine but even if you’re just doing this for yourself, and especially if you’re just doing it for yourself, then you owe it to yourself to give each workout the very best effort possible. Each time you step into a gym you are spending time, time you cannot get back or buy back. You can either make that time in investment in your future, and health or you can chalk it up as another frivolous waste of energy. Time is our most precious commodity, and we must spend it wisely. My workouts last only about an hour or so, but during that hour I will strive to push as hard as I can as long as I can, as far as I can, to me that’s living and no matter what else I may do that day at least for one hour I truly lived and got it done. I hung it all out there and left nothing on the table to make myself a better person.

A lot of times you see the worst cheaters in the gym are those who look the strongest, biggest, or fastest. Maybe they’re just taking it easy and will work out again later. Maybe they’re tired from a previous workout, all too often though they take their ability for granted. They look at life with a short-term view, thinking I’ll go hard tomorrow or I’ll have another day to give it my all. I see a lot of these people. They don’t understand that there may not be a tomorrow. Today may be the day that matters. Most act like spoiled infantile children unable to handle, process, and utilize constructive criticism. They always know what’s best despite very little experience, are always the first to correct others, criticize, or ridicule. They whine a lot; give half ass efforts and frequently sport pot bellies despite an otherwise impressive physique. Don’t be one of these people. They are in fact spoiled. They’ve grown up in a world that has catered to their natural talent and pampered them. They lack the discipline that comes from overcoming real adversity or the foresight to understand that they’re not getting over on anyone.

Your effort during a workout has a direct connection to your success in life, business, and happiness. We live in a hard world and more and more of us are beginning to understand that the only way for us to succeed is to make it happen on our own. The only way to achieve the results you want in fitness is to make it happen. You can pay for the most popular expensive trainer you can find but it won’t mean anything if you can’t summon the integrity and personal accountability to follow the program they design for you and to give it your best effort. You can have the best God-given talent and ability, but it will take you only so far if you don’t have the heart to go that extra mile, to push a few more minutes, to struggle through a few more reps. Anyone can take the easy way out, anyone can do the bare minimum, but it takes people of passion and character to what it takes to overcome and succeed. They want it with every molecule, they believe in themselves and what they’re trying to accomplish. The time you spend in the gym is your time, it’s an investment in you; spend it wisely.

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