So you just clicked on this link to see how in the world I am going to blame Apple for destroying an olympic sport. I guess more so than just the iPhone is technology in general. I happen to love the iPhone, and feel strongly that anyone who has a Droid or Google phone makes poor life decisions.
Back to my point. Technology has created a world of instant gratification. Social media allows for people to live vicariously through the HD camera lens of someone else’s life. Text messages have created a way to instantly converse without having to speak to the person. Everyone has had the situation where they text someone and then get anxiety when the person doesn't text back within 15 seconds while they incessantly check their phone over and over. The internet has allowed for high speed connectivity and instant results. How many of you get frustrated when a website takes more than 0.8 seconds to load? Do any of you remember AOL and dial up from the early 2000’s? It took about 8 seconds back then and we thought that was crazy.
Today’s society has created a culture of wanting things yesterday. If we can’t get it immediately, we don’t want it at all. If you asked me 5 years ago, I would’ve said that predominantly younger populations fell victim to the instant lifestyle. However, now everyone has a smart phone, a computer, and a grandpa who is addicted to playing Farmville (still).
On top of that, I live in the Northeast, where everyone lives at 110% capacity 100% of the time. If you’re not staying up until 2AM to get work done and grinding through 13 hour days while nearly having an aneurysm in traffic on your way in and out of work, you’re doing it wrong. So not only do I see this instant gratification attitude, but it is compounded by our lifestyle.
Okay, so I just shit all over technology and my home, but how the hell does that relate to weightlifting you might ask? Because weightlifting doesn't work that way. Not even a little bit.
Weightlifting is a painfully slow, aggravating, annoying, process that seems never ending at times. According to the old Russian texts, it takes 5 years just to surpass the “Novice” title, and a total of 10 years to be considered an “Expert.”
This painstaking process can push a lot of people away. It takes about 1 year for most people to even understand and get a feel for the technique that is required for success. Compare that to a handful of weeks to learn and a couple months to perfect a field sport like baseball or basketball, and it’s no wonder why people choose those over weightlifting. People are so obsessed with hitting their potential in 9 months, they forget that the greatest weightlifters started at a very young age and trained for years before they were relevant.
Let’s look at a few examples. Ian Wilson started training in 2006 when he was 12 years old. It took him 4 years to make an international meet, which he did in 2010 Youth Pan Ams at the age of 16. Nathan Damron started lifting at age 13, now 6 years later at 19 years old he’s becoming a phenomenon. But no one wants to accept that it took him 6 years to become relevant. And by the way, relevancy in the US and relevancy in the world are two totally different things.
Even though Mattie Rogers hasn’t been training that long, she was an extremely accomplished cheerleading competitor until 16, when she then competed in Crossfit for 1 year before she switched sports at 18 years old. Now, 3 years into her weightlifting career, she’s cracked the international stage. The only true exception recently has been Morghan King, who found the sport at 27 after years of Crossfit training, and 4 years later at 31 years old, made it to the Olympics at Rio. But still, it took 4 years. Not 4 weeks or 4 months.
So how can you be successful as a new weightlifter? Start by throwing out everything you think you know about life and how things are supposed to come instantly. Forget about that instant gratification and prepare yourself for a long, painful, aggravating, annoying journey toward greatness. You will hit your potential if you stick with it. But it won’t come in 9 weeks, or 9 months even. Be prepared to take a 3-5 year journey. Who knows, maybe by then we won’t even have iPhones anymore.