The word “hacking” is everywhere now. You can’t be on the interwebz for more than a minute without seeing an article about some indiscriminant number of hacks to accomplish something (lose weight, get more sleep, build muscle, live an easier life, attract the opposite sex, get more Facebook friends, improve your finances, take a better selfie, etc…) These article titles are mostly just clickbait, and maybe carry one (at most) tiny nugget of something that was once shown a picture of a useful idea. Generally, it’s probably a list of things you already know or things that are just really stupid ideas, like “When taking a picture, squint your eyes to make your smile look much more genuine.” Wow! Thank you. That will make me much less weird in photos.
The word “hack” carries a lot of different meanings. Feel free to check out the 35+ definitions over at the good old Merriam-Webster. (Side note: does anyone else miss the days of thumbing through hardcopy dictionaries? No? Only me? Okay. Carry on.) While the majority of definitions lean toward negative in connotation (making unskilled blows/strokes, coughing, accessing computers illegally, someone with mediocre professional standards), the most common use of the word now seems to carry the definition “a usually creative solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation.” My problem with the word “hack” is that it’s coming to mean shortcut.
With people like Tim Ferriss and TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” glorifying quick results, people in the gym want to get to their goals ASAP. I can’t blame them. It’s the American way. However, fast results don’t last. Just look at the latest study following former Biggest Loser contestants. Yes, losing weight can seem painfully slow. Yes, gaining strength can seem painfully slow. Yes, learning a new skill can seem painfully slow. You want your results now! Maybe the problem is not your perception of time, but the reality of your goals. Are they small, realistic, and attainable for you now? Your goals should challenge you to be better, not make you want to cut corners. If you feel that you’re struggling with whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, reevaluate, make sure that you’ve bitten off a chewable bite, and that you have a solid plan of attack. If you can’t do a pull-up yet, then should you really have your sights set on a muscle-up right now? Should you be hoping for a bodyweight clean when, you can’t even deadlift your bodyweight, yet? If you keep showing up and putting in the proper work, then one day you’ll get there. Patience and realistic goals are key.
Train smart, my friends.