Patience Over Persistence

Most trainers/fitness enthusiasts post about training like an animal and killing it in the gym. I’m by no means opposed to putting in the work but sometimes people miss some crucial components to long-term success: patience and learning to listen to your body. The ability to push yourself hard to get fit for summer or blitz the gym in the pre-season is great but is also often fleeting. However, the ability to listen to your body and be patient are traits that contribute much more to long-term success and achievement.

The definition of patience is – ‘the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.’
You may have heard the phrase ‘train smarter, not harder’. This does not mean you shouldn’t put the effort in, it means often the room for improvement is not simply in going harder or increasing volume but maximizing your training time with proper planning and correct execution in relation to your own personal targets.

Patience could mean avoiding bench pressing for a few weeks due to a shoulder injury, instead of putting in an extra leg session and committing to a shoulder rehabilitation routine. Eight months down the line, who do you think will be benching more, the person that rehabbed the injury properly (often sorting it early before any lasting problem developed), or the person who ‘persisted’ and pushed through the pain, not wanting to take time out to sort it?

Listening to your body may mean changing the structure of your routine and adding an extra day’s leg recovery because they are still aching from a previous workout. You could still train on this in between day but do an upper body/core workout.
Patience means taking the time to do a good dynamic warm up and putting in some progressing warm up sets before hitting the heavy loads. Injuries are definitely one of the biggest hindrances to people’s yearly progress. Yet people still skip a warm up.

Patience is not simply the ability to wait, or to endure. It means the ability to accept times of rehabilitation or perform exercises that perhaps don’t excite you without anxiety, knowing this is the smartest path to take to get you to your goal.

The purpose of training is usually to see some progressions. If your goal is to progress, put the smartest plan in place that will get you to that end goal. This will take hard work, consistency, body awareness and hardest of all, patience.