Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

May 2021

When Was the Last Time You Failed at Something?

In our society, the word failure has been given a negative connotation. One definition I looked up stated that failure is "lack of success." I believe that is a rather simplistic explanation of the word, and that an accurate examination requires context. What exactly were you trying to achieve when you failed? Was it something positive or something negative? Did you give your best effort, or did you not try at all? When it comes to Total Results exercise, most of our clients understand that the answers to those questions make all the difference in the world in terms of achieving a proper exercise stimulus. In our world, failure is a huge part of success.

It is far better to try and fail than to not try at all. Thomas Edison successfully patented 1,093 inventions, which means he endured countless failures in the process of procuring those patents. Striving to achieve something great means having to push yourself, and failure is a very real possibility when one stretches their limits. Artificial intelligence researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky said the following about pushing yourself: "If you never fail, you're only trying things that are too easy and playing far below your level...If you can't remember any time in the last six months when you failed, you aren't trying to do difficult enough things." This mindset can be applied to any endeavor; if you give your best effort but still come up short, you may be disappointed in the results, but you can be satisfied that you gave it all you had. The process is often more meaningful than the end result. Legendary coaches John Wooden and Bill Walsh rarely, if ever, talked to their players about winning or losing. They talked about the importance of preparation and giving the effort they were capable of giving, and if that happened the scoreboard would take care of itself.

Our main objective on each exercise of a Total Results workout is to reach momentary muscular failure. This is the point where forward movement of the machine's movement arm is no longer possible in good form, and it means that you have done everything in your power to produce a positive outcome, which is an exercise stimulus. But how is reaching failure a positive outcome? It seems like an oxymoron, and it can initially do a psychological number on some clients. This is why the first several sessions are very learning-intensive, and a large part of that is geared toward emotionally preparing the client to deal with reaching muscular failure. Once a client can psychologically come to grips with the fact that they are pushing or pulling with every ounce of effort they have and the movement arm won't move, that emotional hurdle has been overcome.

Picture this scenario: you achieve six repetitions in perfect form on the Pulldown and get halfway toward completing a seventh, but fail. Your instructor will still give you credit (in terms of time under load) for that repetition you attempted, but did not complete. You may be disappointed that you didn't finish that last repetition, but you gave a terrific effort that stimulated a large amount of muscle. The fact that you did not quit speaks volumes about your drive and mental toughness in the face of significant exertional discomfort. By the conventional definition, you "failed", but you attempted something great and pushed yourself. There is a very good chance that the next time you perform that exercise (assuming you meet your body's requirements for nutrition, hydration, time, and sleep) you will surpass your time under load from the previous workout or inroad just a little deeper. This will show that you have gotten physically and mentally stronger.

The pursuit of perfection is what is important; achieving perfection is impossible. As long as you give your best effort for the twenty minutes of your workout, you have done all that you can possibly do to accomplish something mentally and physically positive. If this were easy, everybody would do it, but Total Results clients are dedicated people that are capable of and have achieved extraordinary things. If you would like to push yourself to heights you didn't think were possible, schedule an initial consultation today.

Posted May 13, 2021 by Matthew Romans