Just Sayin: Who Defines Discipline?

TAGS: discipline, Skip Hill, performance, bodybuilding, training

Over the years, I've heard the word “discipline” thrown around a lot in bodybuilding. I used to shun the word whenever I had the chance. People tend to refer to others who workout and diet regularly as having discipline, and I've always disagreed with that and felt that they were simply giving all of us too much credit. In my eyes, doing something that you love or are passionate about doesn’t take discipline.

People who work out regularly and eat healthy do it because they want to get into great shape or maintain the shape that they're in. They might sometimes complain about the process, but they enjoy what they're doing or they simply wouldn’t do it. Something that takes discipline would be doing something that you didn’t want to do but forced yourself to do because the outcome, not the process, was worth it to you or was seen simply as a means to an end.

When people make statements about someone being disciplined, they're basically saying that they can't do what that person is doing. There is something about them that respects what that person is doing and what he or she has achieved, but by saying that the person is disciplined for doing it, they're saying that they aren’t willing to do what the person is doing. Think about it—have you ever heard from another bodybuilder how disciplined you are? Hell no. He might comment on your physique, but he won’t comment on you being disciplined any more than he would comment on you brushing your teeth every day. Those of us who do what we do will see what we do as a daily staple or something that just simply gets done. There isn't any real option. It’s just part of your day. It is expected.

In my mind, it would take discipline for me to do something that I simply didn’t want to do. A good example is going back to college. It's hard for me to see the payoff down the road with where my business and income is right now. I feel that going back to college might not impact my business or my income to a point that would make going back “cost effective” both from a money (cost) and a time standpoint. Would it be a bad thing to go back and get a college degree? Of course not. Would it give me options in the future? Absolutely. Do I want to do it? Absolutely not. It would absolutely suck to try to run a successful business, get my workouts in, get the time I want with my four kids, spend time with my wife on the weekends driving her around so that she can get drunk and shake her fat ass on a dance floor, have time to watch Sons of Anarchy on Tuesday nights, watch my Broncos play on Sunday afternoons, and ride motorcycles. If I'm being honest, I could make the time to go back to school. The reality is I simply don't want to.

It kinda sounds like the fat guy in your office who tells you that he would look like you if he had the time to “workout all day” or if he didn’t consider beer to be another food group. There seems to be a relationship between excuses and discipline or a lack thereof, so I suppose I might not be any more disciplined than anyone else. Mr. Fat Guy at Work (I capitalized the derogatory name that I gave him so that it cancels out the negativity of me referring to him as fat) might be impressed with how he perceives me to be disciplined for being consistent with workouts and dieting, but he may be just as disciplined if he has earned his college degree. He will stay fat, and I will stay uneducated, but we will see each other as disciplined.

The general public doesn’t work out, so they see what we do as extreme and usually unattainable. This isn't because they can’t necessarily do it but because they don't want to commit to do what it takes to get the results. They want the results, but they simply don’t want to do what it takes to get there. That is the discipline part. While we don’t see what we do as involving discipline, it should be clear that to others, this is exactly how they see it.

It took me years to finally see that what we do as bodybuilders is regarded as discipline. For me, I've never looked at it that way because I've always enjoyed the entire process whether I was in the gym training, eating a meal, or doing cardio to get leaner. Even getting ready for a show is a process that I thoroughly enjoy. The reasons behind why I or anyone else loves the process is likely a twenty-session bout of therapy, but that is for a future rant.

As I've gotten older, gained the resources to do more, and become comfortable with the physique that I've created over time, I do find myself thinking that as much as I enjoy my time in the gym, I probably equally enjoy the time that I spend riding motorcycles with my wife on the weekend or taking the family to my son’s baseball game and watching him play. These days there are other options that are equally as enjoyable as spending time in the gym.

This past Saturday I came face to face with discipline. I had to put off my leg session on Thursday because it was Halloween and push it to Saturday. I hate training on the weekends because I like to get my training done during the week and enjoy the weekend to do whatever we want to do as a family. I forced myself to get that session done and make it a productive session, but it was the last thing that I wanted to do on one of the last gorgeous and warm days of the fall.

Just Sayin'.

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