Years Under Tension

Some of my peers are amazing physical specimens. I am in awe of their speed, and their strength, and the volume of work they can achieve every day. Compared to them, I feel like I am lightyears behind. And there is a good reason. It is not age. It is not genetics. It is time under tension.

Many look at time under tension from a set only perspective. During one exercise set, how long is that muscle working. Of course this is the general consensus. But for me and for this post, I am looking at time under tension from a different aspect. Despite genetics, those physical specimens have spent years under tension. And over the years, those muscles have developed in strength and speed. The difference between them and I is the time under tension over the course of the years.

It’s not where you are today that counts. It’s where you are headed. –Arthur Lenehan

Things happen, life happens. I didn’t stay consistent. I didn’t keep myself under tension. Over the last few years, I have really been making an effort to get back in shape. Only in the last six months have I really been consistent. I think in that time my progress has been remarkable. I also think it is foolish to even compare myself to others. There is only one person I should compare myself to: My past self.

Am I improving every day? Am I better today than I was last month or last year? There is only one real way I can ensure progress. Consistency. I have to do the work every day. I can’t allow myself to get off track. What if things come up? What if life gets in the way? I have to adjust. I have to be flexible. I have to keep doing the work, even when it is not convenient. If not, then I will not only always be lightyears behind my peers, but I will be lightyears behind the person I want to be.

Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. –Miyamoto Mushashi

How do you compare? Not to others. That’s a fool’s game, and I should be ashamed to even contemplate it myself. No, how do you compare to the person you were yesterday? Are you striving to improve physically? Mentally? It is easy to become complacent, to think it doesn’t matter. But even a little daily effort to become a better person will go a long ways over the course of the years. You choose. You commit.

The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself. –Denis Waitley

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