by Fitness Contributor Jeremy Cheung at Twisted Twilight
I’m sitting here in the Portland Airport waiting for my flight home, and as many of us do this time of year, we make resolutions--resolutions to save money, to travel more, to learn a new language, to get in shape. My resolution is to be more effective and efficient as a small business owner. So of course we go out and get the necessary tools to achieve these goals: books, DVD’s, a gym membership. One of my tools is a book called Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Some of you have no doubt read this and I’m sure all of you have at least heard of it. In this book author Stephen Covey references “the law of the farm.” The reference is meant to show that most of the truly good things in life take time and can’t be forced or rushed.
Covey described the process of farming and alluded to how it requires patience and diligence to grow crops properly. If any of you have taken time to visit my website part of my approach is Persistence—the will to want it and go after it and the other is Patience —the staying power to see it through. In addition, farming requires belief in the system. The farmer must believe that all the hard work and preparation will eventually yield a long-term result.
As a business owner and personal trainer, this concept resonates deep with me. As noted strength and conditioning Coach Mike Boyle so astutely points out, the process of exercising is much like farming or like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results from exercise and there are no immediate results from farming.
First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Much like fertilizer in farming, too much food can be a detriment to the exerciser. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can underfeeding. As I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout or crops to grow, I feel many of the same frustrations of the new exerciser. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and — nothing.
The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and exercising are eerily similar. Continue to exercise and eat well and suddenly a friend or co-worker will say, “Have you lost weight”? Your reaction might be, “It’s about time someone noticed.” Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback. Clothes begin to fit differently.
When my friends or clients talk to me about their frustration with their initial lack of progress in an exercise program, I’m going to bring up the farm analogy. We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results—the third part to my approach is progression or the results of your hard work. This is why the farm analogy can be both informative and comforting.
An exercise program must be approached over a period of weeks and months, not days. The reality is that there is no quick fix, no easy way, no magic weight loss plan, no secret cellulite formula. There is only the law of the farm. You will reap what you sow. In reality, you will reap what you sow and care for. If you are consistent and diligent with both diet and exercise, you will eventually see results. However, remember, much like fertilizer and water, diet and exercise go together.
Try to grow crops or a lawn without water. No amount of effort will overcome the lack of vital nutrients.
The law of the farm.
Plant the seeds.
Feed and water properly.
Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.