Saturday, May 5, 2012


Taking full advantage of opportunities is a handy skill that few of us practice well. I am no exception to this. Sometimes we simply don't recognize an opportunity for what it is. Other times it's because life has handed us only part of what we want, since it's not exactly what we're looking for, we let it pass us by.

I take extensive advantage of one such imperfect opportunity at work. We are allowed (with supervisor approval) an hour of work to exercise every day. It only makes sense for them to offer this as being physically fit is a requirement of the job. For me, the problem is equipment based. I use a lot of power cleans and snatches in my workouts. I also drop the bar when I do them. There's no platform or bumper plates in the gym at work. I use a lot of kettlebells. We have none of those either.

It would be very easy for me to write off that hour and in the past I have done so. However, trying to wedge 90 minutes of workout into a busy weeknight doesn't lend its self to a stress free evening. This was the impetus for my splitting the 40 day workout and my current 5 x 5 program into two workouts. One in the morning at work in which I do everything I have the equipment for there. The other at home where I can drop a bar loaded with 200 pounds. My kettlebells spend more time in the trunk of my car than in my home gym.

This isn't a perfect solution but it is a workable one. Perfect is often an excuse. It's used all the time. My form isn't 100% perfect on every rep so I can't go up in weight, I'll just do the same old 3 by 10 with 135. I haven't found the perfect gym yet so I can't start doing Starting Strength, I'll just do bench and curls. On and on. Perfect allows you to let an opportunity slip without feeling bad about it.

"a wise Italian
says that the best is the enemy of the good" 
- Voltaire

Here also lies an opportunity to improve my throwing. Again, not perfect but workable. I'll have to sacrifice a large portion of my lunch hour and possibly some breaks. However, it's the best way I have to get more throws in and no one seems to mind if I turn the grassy area behind our shop into a moonscape. 

It'll grow back...eventually
It's not perfect. There's no practical way to haul a caber to work and back. There's not enough room to safely work on hammer throws. However, I struggle the most with weight for distance and stone putting and there's plenty of space for that. Working on weight over the bar would be plausible. Sheaf toss wouldn't be out of the question. Looking at last year's score chart, this is exactly what I need. This is an opportunity to take.

Perfect is the enemy of good. The perfect opportunity to improve my throws would come just after a winning lottery ticket sets me up for life and a world class thrower decides to retire, move to my town and give away free lessons. Instead I have a couple of short sessions a day and a small video camera to record my progress.

Taking advantage of such imperfect opportunities is the only way most of us are going to get anywhere. Only the ridiculously fortunate or the insanely talented get a perfect opportunity. Just like you can't count on being the one person that the snake oil works for, you can't bet on finding yourself in the perfect situation to meet your goals. Take any opportunity you are given to improve your fitness and health. Cultivate them if you have to. The world will not drop this into your lap exactly as you want it. Find a way.

No comments:

Post a Comment