The Butterfly…How Strength Is A Struggle!
by: Brandon Richey
The Butterfly…How Strength Is A Struggle!
I know what you are thinking. Brandon, did you just put a picture of a butterfly on your strength and conditioning blog? Yes, I did, but I have a good reason for it. This butterfly has taught me a lesson my friend and I know it’s going to do the same for you.
Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.–Napoleon Hill
The other day I was talking to my fiancé and she shared with me a story that a friend had shared with her. It involved a wedding where the bride and groom to be considered taking an alternative approach to the usual throwing of seeds or blowing bubbles at the end of the wedding ceremony. Yes, I know I’m talking about wedding stuff, but just hang with me and you’ll appreciate where I’m going with this. Anyways, they decided to get creative with this part of the wedding celebration. They decided that they would like to have butterflies released at the end instead of having people throw the usual seeds and flower petals. Geez, I just said flower petals…this must be a great story.
So anyway they liked the idea of the butterflies being released so they collected several of them in the early stages of development while they were still in the cocoons. To prepare them for the grand release they carefully had the butterflies cut from their cocoons and stored into a safe box so that they could be released to fly out at the right time at the end of the ceremony.
Everyone was excited about this idea. I mean I’m excited just thinking about it, aren’t you? Ah, the thing is that when it came time to release the butterflies they opened up the box and out came the beautiful insects to fly over the bride and groom as they were leaving from the wedding ceremony. However, there was a problem. When they opened the box to release the butterflies some actually flew out, but most flew out and fell straight to the ground struggling to get up and fly away.
Here’s a struggle to help you get off the ground!
You see because the butterflies were cut from their cocoons prematurely they weren’t able to get out and fly on their own. You see when butterflies have reached the stage to where they are fully developed and ready to come out of their cocoon it is quite a struggle for them to do so.
In fact, the struggle of getting out of the cocoon alone is the very reason they are able to fly in the first place. You see as they struggle to get out of the cocoon this not only gives them strength so they are capable of flying, but the physical process itself allows a certain amount of fluid to be transferred from their bodies and into their wings so that they are able to expand and to be fully developed for flight. When the butterflies were prematurely cut from their cocoons they were denied this struggle which was necessary for their purpose of flying and ultimately even their own survival. Does anything sound familiar as this relates to our society today?
Be Tough Like The Butterfly, Not Soft Like An Excuse Maker…
You see that damn butterfly is pretty cool! I told you I was going somewhere good with this story. Anyway, this should be a valuable lesson for a lot of people. As a matter of fact this lesson can apply to today as well as any other moment in history if you ask me.
I don’t care if you are looking at applying this same reasoning to the act of training for athletic development or in just day to day life. You are going to struggle to achieve goals whether they are short or long term, period! There is no EASY way and if it is then the easy way isn’t the RIGHT way and you’ll end up paying for it dearly in the end.
Here’s some more struggle for some more SERIOUS strength!
So the point to all of this is that struggles in life, as well as physical adaptation takes some time. However, contrary to what a lot of heavily paid advertising tries to get you to believe these days it takes time, but not as much time as you may think. Completely changing your physical appearance is NOT instant. The fact is that there are many variables involved in affecting progress within your training whether that progress is based on form or function. The beauty of this order though is that you will see progress a lot sooner in function than you may in actual physical appearance, but you cannot have the form of appearance without the function of movement (at least to certain level).
For instance, I can train my body or one of my students a certain way and the nervous system will adapt to whatever stimulus I choose to place on it. For example, if I am working with one of my students on his or her deadlift they are going to be able to readily lift more weight by gaining strength from their nervous system adapting to this specific task. This change can actually take place rather immediately.
They will notice the gains in strength a lot sooner than they will actually see a change in their muscular appearance. However, with continuous practice and some essential changes in lifestyle variables they will be able to significantly notice a change in both variables!
No, I’m not making this stuff up. However, when talking about the function part of the results you WILL almost feel immediate results! You see once the nervous system adapts to the stresses you place on it something happens. It basically gets dialed in and will allow you to function more efficiently to whatever it is that you are doing to it at the time.
Start breaking out of your own cocoon by investing in the right tools to help!
I know you’ve heard me talk about the SAID (Specific Adaptations To Imposed Demands) principle before and this is exactly what I mean about the nervous system being dialed in! Once again if we are looking at the deadlift exercise there is no doubt that it offers some wonderful crossover performance when looking at being able to perform certain other relative physical feats and athletic tasks.
This exercise can be very challenging all the way from the beginning when learning efficient technique to the point that you are pulling some serious concrete crushing weight off of the floor! In this example the deadlift is the struggle for you to develop the functional ability to lift other heavy stuff and lift it well.
Being able to adapt to this stimulus requires constant effort and the ability to keep pushing forward to get the desired results. It is the development of your core stability, hip drive, grip, and powerful posture that allows you to pull this lift off with any respectable effort. Of course these are all traits necessary to be a functioning human, not just solely an athlete. In this example this is your cocoon as it applies to physical training my friend.
There are times where I have to remind my best athletes and serious fitness personnel that the new stuff is always going to be a struggle. There is always a challenge involved whenever there is the pursuit of success. This is what will either make or break you in your struggle.
The fact is that you can be an excuse maker and whine your ass off or you can kick it into high gear and start making shit happen. I figured the deadlift was a great exercise to talk about in this post because it is one that I have truly come adopt as one of the staples of my training program.
Even though I used the deadlift in this post the truth is that there are many ways to create your own cocoon. For instance, if you haven’t looked into my Brandon Richey’s Unconventional Conventional Method Of Strength ebook then you might as well have someone else cut you out of your cocoon! Of course, I’m joking…or am I? Check out the little Hollywood teaser trailer I did with promoting this product on a hardware store budget.
All in all, the lesson of the day is that you can’t expect anything to be EASY and receive the reward for it, period. Come on you know well enough by now that life doesn’t work that way. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t efficient ways of doing things which will certainly speed up the process a hell of a lot when it comes down to getting things done.
This is why I want to help you out by also offering you the opportunity to join my emailing list right here for FREE. Inside you’ll receive my FREE Newsletter, training tips, and a FREE report on a specific bodyweight exercise that I won’t reveal to you here. In closing I will leave you with this winning attitude from the great Rocky Balboa! Please feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comment section below. Keep training smart my friend.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post on Why Strength Is A Struggle. Please feel free to post up a comment below.
The Meaning Of American Strength!
Let There Be Strength…The Role Of The Strength Coach And Trainer!
Like Thomas Edison admonishes people: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. If you don’t put in the work, you get NO results. There are no short cuts, no “20 minutes a day, 3 times a week” workouts that will actually create real gains and improvement.
Do the work!
Get through the tough parts and be your own reward.
Right on point Mike! I think too many people fail to realize this nowadays more than ever. People don’t want to go through the necessary struggle and what is necessary may vary from person to person. By the way thanks for the opportunity for the interview. 🙂 Thanks for the input and keep training smart my friend.
Covered a lot of ground in this one, Brandon. “Struggle” is an appropriate word … I just happen to prefer the word “challenge” and I challenge myself every day. That’s not to say I hit the mark every time, however, as you noted in the adaptation segment making a good faith effort pays off eventually.
The Dead Lift is an incredible exercise and when done properly a reasonably safe one as well. “Done properly” is the catch and people new to pulling heavy iron from the floor really should invest in some time with a personal Trainer who truly understands this lift.
My Son recently sent me some links to a few anti-Crossfit clips on YouTube … “Exercise in Futility” or something like that is the guy’s banner. The DL “technique” demonstrated by the CF people was painful to watch … “horrendous” is far too tame of a word. Respect the weight or the weight will humble you and perhaps even hurt you. BTW, Butterflies are awesome … living jewels with wings.
Doc once again your perspective is golden. It is a shame that there are coaches out there that would allow the technique of the deadlift to be butchered as described in the videos that your son sent you. I’m glad he has the intelligent guidance of a dad like yourself that has had experience in the field to guide him, otherwise he could’ve been subjected to the same negligence as those people described in the video.
I also like the word “challenge” as well. I thought that story about the butterfly was rather powerful, especially with the way the world is headed these days. You’re right Doc, butterflies are jewels with wings! I’m going to have to steal that description from you! 🙂