I remember one of my mentors back in the late 90s who spoke of the challenges in life relating to capacity.
He said that if you were a ‘level 3’ person, then a ‘level 5’ problem was impossible to resolve.
If however, you were a ‘level 9’ person, then a level 5 problem was just an average, easy thing to deal with and you could move on.
There is no difference in the level of the problem, just in the person’s ability to handle it.
This relates to the fitness world, in so many ways of course.
When you haven’t been working out much, are coming back from an injury, are new to fitness, or are seriously out of shape, then a bootcamp class or a personal training session or new sport is at a level above where you currently are.
That is perfect. That is precisely why all of those things work to help you get fit. That is actually the gift, the magic, the juice!
When you are at a level 3 in fitness and you go to a bootcamp and try to work at a level 4 or 5 or 6, then your body will begin to adapt and change.
That is how the human body is designed; to adapt and respond to challenges.
You lift a heavy object, or repeat a physical challenge and the human body responds by getting stronger. That is how we are created. To adapt. To level up.
The opposite is also true.
If you take a level 9 fit person and for 6 or more months they do not do anything other than a five-minute walk each day on flat ground, or lay in bed, their fitness level will drop fast.
Muscles will atrophy, digestion and metabolism will slow and they will actually come down several levels. Yes, I am speaking from recent experience.
Imagine ‘tax season’.
I am a level 3 numbers guy, and have no interest in leveling up for this task for one reason: I have a ‘level 10 accountant’!
He is my coach, my mentor and the one I turn to when I need to resolve this higher level problem each year. I essentially pay to borrow his higher level in order to solve a challenge.
This is perhaps one of the greatest aspects of seeing the world in levels.
We can either ask for help from someone at a higher level, or we can choose to improve our own level from wherever it is at.
While you cannot get someone else to do your push-ups for you, you can get a higher level coach to assist you in your journey to level up.
A coach, a trainer, a mentor, an instructor – they spend their lives studying how to help you level up, so all you need to do is show up, do the work, follow the coaching and enjoy the rewards.
I am always reading or listening to new books, studying nutrition and fitness as well as psychology in an effort to slowly become a higher level trainer so that I can serve people better.
After over 20 years, I finally feel like I know a tiny fraction of what there is to know. I have this hope that by passing on what I learn via writing for this weekly newspaper and through my gym, that I might help others become higher level thinkers and enjoy being more fit.
In short, I am hoping to help as many people as I can to level up.
Now perhaps, when a challenge comes your way, no matter what it is, you can ask yourself: how can I level up? Do I need to grow, or find help? Or maybe both.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.