I was looking to get some posters to decorate the Sweat Shed’s walls and have been looking at old paintings and all kinds of stuff and started thinking about this blog post. Any time you look at portrayals of the human form from days gone by in history books or paintings, we are presented with images of a Human figure that I feel represents our truest shape – there are no beer guts, muffin tops or chicken legs. Now they were either slightly exaggerating the truth, which I expect maybe the case to a small degree, or somewhere over time we transgressed to where we are now.
Walk any high street and you’ll see that those in shape are few and far between. I don’t just mean those that are overweight either, there’s plenty of skinny-hardly-there males and females out there. I’ve described this as the HARD/SOFT divide. In the past we were more in tune with our animal instincts. The strong(hard) survive and the weak(soft) don’t stand a chance. Today’s society though encourages the easy life, there is a gadget or assistance tool for everything to help those who are weak or soft. We are becoming overwhelmed with people- male, female, adults and children –who are either overweight from poor will power, greedy attitudes to food and lazy lifestyles or people so weak they can’t support their own bodyweight to perform simple exercises like squats and press ups. It’s true we now live in a world that encourages and cultivates the SOFT!
Our poor diet choices and bone idol lives bloat us up like dough balls, along with our 24hr party “everyday is your birthday” spoilt mentality. I want! So I’m gonna have!! All the fast food and alcohol I can get my grubby chipolata fingers on! Smokers? drug takers? All SOFT intentionally polluting and poisoning, there’s nothing HARD about lung cancer or addiction. This is the type of person representing for the SOFT side! They are soft in appearance – little to no lean muscle mass, instead skin or bone or high levels of body fat! They are also soft in attitude, very often this group lack ambition or commitment, they have poor motivation, settling for the easy option in any scenario presented to them. The very successful can also be affected by the SOFT, materialistic working hard for all the possessions under the sun enjoying all the good things in life but neglecting the one important possession – their body. Have a little think when in life is soft ever a good thing? When is it ever used as a positive term to describe something? I picture illness, weakness, frailty, push over, easy, no challenge. I never want to end up here, I’ll do all I can daily to stay the right side of the HARD/SOFT divide.
Now to the HARD! Not as easily recognised as they take many forms. There are the physically HARD, with their abs, toned glutes and shoulders that fill doorways. They are the obvious ones, they have spent time and effort on working to achieve that look. They’ve shown commitment, watched their diet more often than not, they’ve developed a mental strength to start and continue an exercise regime. You also have those that are mentally HARD. This group is either on the way to achieving the HARD exterior as well or aren’t to obsessed with the body beautiful and will simply settle for better health. When we talk about HARD we are often referring to something with a level of difficulty, a challenge, something to aspire to, something indestructible, something that’s reliable and not going to break. If SOFT is Jelly and Marshmallow then HARD is Iron and Granite. I don’t want to be SOFT and you shouldn’t either. SOFT never got anybody anywhere! I want the HARD body and I want that HARD mentality to go with it! I try to keep these 2 characteristics all the time! When I exercise it’s my body that fails before my head! I do do do do do until there’s no more do left in me – then I stop because I have to not out of choice!! I’m happy that qualifies me as being mentally HARD. I’m no Lance Armstong but this approach has kept me in reasonable shape all my life (minus the SOFT Uni years!). I’ve learnt to grit my teeth and get through workouts and explore the upper limits of my own personal upper limits of ability. That’s the biggest hurdle, get that mental HARDNESS and the HARD body will follow in varying degrees. I often say my Personal Training in Stockport or Manchester Boot Camp is as much mental training as physical. First you have to tell yourself to start the workout and then you have to keep yourself going until it’s done when your body is telling you in as many ways as it can to stop. That’s how you work on your Mental HARDNESS. Next training session you do see how HARD you are? DO you stop in your head before you need to stop in your body? You’re SOFT! DO you finish the session with a little bit extra left over? You’re SOFT! Could you go again? You’re SOFT! Did you moan and bitch about any part of your workout? You’re SOFT! Do you miscount reps or half-rep your way through? Do you let a little muscle soreness excuse you from a weeks worth of classes? Well then You’re SOFT!! I have clients that turn up already HARD; they have made that decision to change. They don’t wanna be fat, unfit or SOFT anymore and all I do is help them on their way. Then I have clients who start SOFT until they realise that this isn’t gonna cut it! I’ve seen some of the most unlikely people turn from SOFT to HARD and it’s a great thing to witness. To anybody always working on his or her HARDNESS I’m your biggest fan!! I do well not to snap sometimes or be brutally honest sometimes to people sending me messages on Facebook or talking to me in person. I have to bite my tongue sometimes but I’m starting to feel like I can’t anymore. I can only help once the client or Bootcamper has decided not to be SOFT anymore. Then we can go to work! Before that it’s a particularly unpleasant relationship for all, they don’t want to train and I don’t want to train them! So I may need to stop biting my tongue so much, I’m sorry in advance if you’re the person I finally snap with but the advice I give will be for your own good! Being in the position I am I feel that if I don’t try and help stamp out the SOFTNESS in society then I’m as bigger culprit as any for being SOFT myself!! Ok let me just get down off my high horse now