Forged in Fire

My current TV obsession is the show “forged in fire.” It’s unreal, 4 blacksmiths put into a forge, given shitty materials and told that they have 3 hours to turn it into a workable, functional blade.

Aside from watching dudes with glorious beards hammer away, using incredible skill, shaping steel into something functional, beautiful and deadly, my favourite part of the show is seeing how the smiths adapt to unexpected problems.

The blade comes out of heat treatment with a slight bend? No bother, I’ll heat that mother***er back up and try again. The handle fits a little loose? Ok, let’s adapt, change the plan slightly and make sure it fits well before testing.

The smiths that win these challenges aren’t necessarily the best bladesmiths, they’re not necessarily the ones with the prettiest working technique, they’re not even always the ones with the most glorious beards (most of the time they are though) they’re the ones that adapt to problems, don’t let it derail them and keep working.

Patience, work ethic and ability to adapt are the name of the game.

And that, my friend, is the point of this post. With any fitness goal, whether that be strength, weight loss, gaining muscle, whatever, you will hit road bumps, you will come derailed, you will get frustrated, things won’t turn out the way you wanted, but does that mean you just pack it in and give up? I hope not, because if that’s how you approach the problems you’ll face in the gym then you won’t last very long.

Some of us in the gym have shitty materials to work with: bad genetics, out of shape from years of abuse, injuries that have to be worked around etc. But it’s not down to the material you have. It’s down to how you work with it. Are you willing to put in the work to turn that rough material you started out with into something wonderful?

There are few things more frustrating than as a coach than somebody letting a small setback throw them out of the groove and watching them undo all the work that they’ve done when a few small adjustments to the plan would get them to the point that they want.

Some people don’t know how to make those adjustments or even what needs to be adjusted. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine, no blacksmith starts out as an expert. That’s where a good coach comes in. A good coach can look at what’s happening, analyse what went wrong and adjust, adapt and persevere to get the end results that you want.

You can do it on your own, of course you can, it isn’t rocket science. But being around those that know what they’re talking about, having someone able to guide you will stop (or at least mitigate) the majority of frustrations that you’ll encounter along the way.

Oh, and having a glorious beard almost always helps.

Ben “forged in fire” Harrison


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