“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
That quote from James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” always sticks in my head.
It’s so simple, but somehow has wriggled itself into my head and lies at the centre of many of the decisions I make each day.
Does this meal fit into my overall values and goals?
Do I drive or walk to the shop for the things I need?
Do I skip this last set because I’m a bit tired and can’t be bothered? Or do I go for it and get it done?
Do I want to watch 15 more minutes of TV? Or do I get a little extra sleep?
Answering each little question or choice by how it affects that quote makes each decision easier and quicker to deal with. And the full quote helps me understand that big results don’t need to be driven by big changes.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of a new identity. And if a change is meaningful, it is actually big. That’s the paradox of making small improvements.”
So ask yourself, is the choice you are about to make a vote for the person you want to become?
Lifting heavy is dangerous…
I hear this often. “Lifting that kind of weight is going to hurt your back.” Or, “Your knees are going to feel that when you’re older.” And, sure, doing any loaded exercise without due care and attention to technique increases the risk of injury.
But you know what is more dangerous? Being physically weak. That will mess you up.
And I’m not talking about a need for superhuman levels of strength, but enough strength to maintain your independence as you age. Enough strength to help you keep your balance against knocks or on slippy/ uneven ground. Enough strength to get up and down stairs in your own home without risk of falling and breaking something. Enough strength to keep you robust enough to handle life for as long as you can.
It doesn’t actually take all that much to get there either. 2-3 good training sessions using some kind of progressive loading to gradually build strength, add a little muscle mass (or keep what you have), increase bone density and strengthen connective tissues is all you need. Keep it simple, work all the major movements (hip hinge, squat, push, pull and carry) and you’ll be a whole lot safer.
A quick fix for your pushups
A common issue with new clients doing pushups is the tendency for their elbows to flare out wide. Sometimes this is a strength issue and they are simply trying to find a stronger position, and that wide elbow position allows the chest muscles to do a bigger share of the work. But sometimes it’d down to the position that they set their hands in when setting up. This is true both of incline and floor based pushups, so you can apply it to whichever variation suits you.
The internally rotated hand position you see on the left might allow for a bit more pec recruitment doe to the muscle fibre alignment, but it actually takes away from shoulder stability due to less recruitment of your rotator cuff, and puts more strain on your elbows. Not ideal.
So, set up instead with your middle finger pointing straight forwards, and then imagine twisting your hands into the floor. This gets your shoulders into a more stable position, gets your rotator cuff fired up and takes the stress off your elbows.