The Fitness Dip – The last few seconds of hard work for muscle growth and fitness improvement

This is an excerpt from from the short book, The Dip by Seth Godin (amazon) (audiobook)

This is a great analogy for how to push yourself.  It’s from one of my favorite writers. I promise you’ll get something from it.  This is totally worth sharing.
the dip book cover

“Every time Men’s Health magazine puts a picture of a guy with washboard abs on the cover of newsstands, sales go up. Why?  Well if everyone had washboard abs it’s unlikely that men would buy a magazine that taught them how to get that physique.  The very scarcity of this attribute makes it attractive.

Weight training is a fascinating science.  Basically, you do a minute or two of work for no reason other than to tire out your muscle so that the last few seconds of work will cause that muscle to grow.  Like most people, all day long, everyday you use your muscles. But they don’t grow.  You don’t look like Mr. Universe because you quit just before the moment when the stress causes them to start growing, it’s the natural thing to do.  Because an exhausted muscle feels unsafe and it hurts.

People who train successfully pay their dues for the first minute or two then get all the benefits at the very end.  Unsuccessful trainers pay the same dues, but stop a few seconds too early.  It’s human nature to quit when it hurts.  But it’s that reflex that creates scarcity.  The challenge is simple, quitting before you hit the dip is a bad idea.

If the journey you started was worth doing then quitting just wastes the time you’ve already invested. Quit in the dip often enough and you’ll find yourself a serial quitter.  Starting many things but accomplishing little.

Simple. If you can’t make it through the dip, don’t start.  If you can embrace that simple rule you’ll be a lot choosier about which journeys you start.”