Why the Microwave Is Affecting Your Progress

Microwaves are the bee’s knees, aren’t they? Want to heat up some chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, or gremlin to give your muscles some protein? It only takes a minute, and you’re on your way to beast mode. Want to make some popcorn for you and your loved one while you watch 300? Boom. It's done in two minutes. Of course, the microwave can be used for evil, too, like warming up that horrid concoction you tried making last night. But the real evil is in how it has conditioned us. And I'm not talking about cardiovascular conditioning but mental conditioning.

Before the Microwave

Before microwaves, we had grills and ovens. Depending on what you wanted to make, it could take some time to get a meal together. When fixing a meal, you had to have some patience. Things took a little longer and you didn’t expect immediate satisfaction. Then the microwave came along, and you could have meals ready or reheated in an instant. At the time they became popular in the mid 1970s, I’m sure they were a huge convenience, but somewhere along the line, we started expecting instantaneous results.

The blame isn't all on the microwave because it's awfully nice to have a decent meal in a few minutes. The crux of the issue is immediate satisfaction. As a personal trainer and assistant strength coach, I have a hard time getting folks to realize that results don’t come in one half hour to an hour training session. Results come from a compilation of training sessions. I often tell them that it’s like a pearl necklace (mind out of the gutter, pervs). If you put one pearl on a string, do you have a pearl necklace? No. It takes many pearls strung together to make a necklace. Now, what if you took months off training? You’ll have some big gaps and that necklace will look pretty ghetto. Time off is needed here and there, but too much time away can be deleterious.

Work and Patience

I was lucky to be raised when I was by parents who were both brought up with blue collar values that focused on hard work and patience. I was also lucky to have some great coaches along the way to show me the value of hard work and patience. But things have changed a lot since I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. Remember when you used to have birthday parties at McDonald’s? It was a big deal. You don’t see that so much now because many times that's where families grab dinner. Fast food is ubiquitous. Growing up, we had the big three fast food joints—McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Now, there may literally be 10 fast food joints in your town. Hungry? Stop at the drive through. Not only that but our instant satisfaction is even easier with the advancements in technology. Where are you? Check in on Four Square or Facebook. Have a picture to upload? Instagram will get the job done. Want to watch the latest movie that isn’t on DVD yet? Hit up a torrent.

We Are All at Fault

I’m not complaining about today’s generation or saying that “back in my day, I had to ride the cow to school and butcher it so I had lunch for the day.” I’m not saying that at all because the problem isn’t limited to people born in the technology age. It’s all of us. I get wrapped up in anticipating results as well. We're conditioned now to get things instantly. Unfortunately, the weight room isn't a place where instant results are common place unless you’re a rank beginner.  It may seem that I’m anti-technology, but I’m not. It's great to come to sites like elitefts, T-nation, or blogs and learn new things and get better. This is a great tool to have, but it’s also one of the things that can be detrimental to someone looking for information. One minute he's going to be stronger than Dave Tate and the next he's going to be as piped out as Kai Greene.

Whatever your goal is—whether it's getting jacked, getting strong, or just trying to drop some ell bees so the opposite sex doesn’t vomit when you walk into the room—stay the course. I don’t care if you're on the conjugate, 5/3/1, starting strength, strong lifts, a lift-run-bang program, high frequency training, or a bodybuilding plan. Keep going. If you aren't seeing results in two to four weeks, don’t scrap the system and jump on to the next great and wonderful program. Doing this only compounds your lack of progress. Real results take time. Your body isn’t a microwave, so don’t expect a transformation in less than two minutes.