I started lifting weights a few months ago after a bit of health awakening. At first, it was a lot of fuckaround. Eventually I got into a program, and a routine. I started seeing progress in my strength, and I kept a record of how much I can lift – I’ve got nice charts to show my strength progressions. It’s not much but I can bench press about 60% of my body mass now. Slowly but surely I’m getting there.
When you are a newbie to lifting weights, there is a phase you go through what is colloquially called ‘n00b gainz’ online. It’s where an untrained/novice lifter will gain strength faster than a trained lifter. In other words, you will see strength increase (as measured by the weight lifted) linearly as a function of time, until a certain point, where you no longer see that increase.
I’ve been riding the n00b gainz wave since I started, until the last couple of weeks, where I have stalled on my squats and benchpress. The weights I can lift no longer increase linearly with time. And this is frustrating.
It’s mostly psychological, really. There is something nice about linearity. It’s easy work – put in X amount of work, get out Y amount of result. Conversely, we can also say that things get “harder” when the results are logarithmic in response to the effort put in – where you have to put in a lot more work for less result each successive time.
It is said that the n00b gainz phase is determined by one’s genetic potential. The logarithmic progression that comes after is hard work. Some people are more genetically gifted in the strength department, and so spend longer time in the n00b gains phase. By the time they get out into the logarithmic progression bit, they are way ahead.
Thinking about this is kinda stressing. But then I think back on the things I did in life so far. Let’s say everything in life with some sort of progression will follow this form: linear until a certain point, then it becomes logarithmic. It can be studying, understanding of mathematics, or weightlifting. We’ll call this the “easy” and the “hard” parts.
All my life I have coasted on the “easy” parts. Exams? Didn’t have to study much for it, because a lot of things were intuitively understood. Startup? Writing the programs were the easy parts. Initial marketing and press handling was the easy part. Then the going gets tough, and I bail, or abandon the project. It would appear that I have ran from logarithmic progressions all my life.
This isn’t a good thing. How would one be able to persevere? I need to be learning that.