Chris Moore offers seven lessons learned from 18 years under the bar.
Training is just like whiskey.
You start with raw, coarse ingredients. After careful preparation and sustained heat, you can produce something recognizable: a foundation. In time that product will improve. You might even call it good, but that’s only because you’ve never experienced anything better. After years of persistence, you will finally begin to taste the real thing—something that is more than the sum of its parts.
A brewer may fail countless times before producing something noteworthy. It’s no different in the gym. Early, easy gains often turn into periods of frustration. These moments are opportunities for refinement. The craft of programming requires the removal of elements that are not useful and the addition of new ingredients, subtleties and distinctions.
When I first touched a barbell, I was raw. Like many, I began to train in high school to prepare for sport. I lifted just about every day, played a lot of shitty metal music over the weight-room speakers, loaded up the leg press and always made sure to do my curls. There was no reason to doubt what I was doing. I was strong and a decent athlete, but I was ignorant. Refinement came one training session at a time, one competition at a time. Each misstep along the way was an opportunity to learn.
After 18 years of training, I still make mistakes. I no longer listen to shitty metal music, but my training doesn’t always go as planned. However, my time under the bar has revealed some evident truths. This is what I have learned.