Vision Quest

Vision Quest is the best wrestling movie of all time.

You’ve got Matthew Modine with his stunning weight loss and uncontrollable nosebleeds. You’ve got Linda Fiorentino at the height of her career as the older love interest. You’ve got Madonna in what became her signature look of fishnet crop top, tights and a million rubber bracelets tenderly singing “Crazy For You” in a bar. What else could you want?

And unlike, say, boxing or football, the field of wrestling movies (and we’re talking the sport of wrestling here, not entertainment wrestling which disqualifies the brutal and awesome “The Wrestler”) is pretty damn small. So I raise the arm of “Vision Quest” as the champion.

Unfortunately, this blog has nothing more to do with wrestling movies.

But just as Linda Fiorentino’s Carla recognized that she was distracting Modine’s Louden Swain from his vision of dropping two weight classes in order to take on the undefeated Brian Shute, I want to discuss how the typical fitness marketing approach is actually keeping you from achieving your vision of yourself.

Take a second to envision your ideal self. Let’s keep it simple and limit this vision to aesthetics and/or physical capabilities. Do you want to look jacked and lean like a fitness magazine cover model? Do you want to be able to add 200 pounds to your back squat? Do you want to make regionals at the CrossFit games? Do you want to drop two dress sizes? Do you want your hand raised at the end of a jiu jitsu tournament?

Now, assume you’ve never seen The Biggest Loser or fitness marketing posts on Instagram or been told there’s “one cool trick” to fat loss or read The Four Hour Body or saw the inspirational story of the kid who went from the JV team to a major university scholarship in what seemed like 5 minutes on ESPN.

Rather, pretend you are a blank slate armed only with common sense.

How long do you think it would take to reach any one of those goals?

The correct answer is: it depends. Sure, you can lose a couple of pounds in a few weeks and drop a dress size. Making CrossFit regionals would likely take years of dedication at this point. Getting big enough and then lean enough to look like a fitness cover model seems like it would take some time. Making the podium at a major tournament might take a lifetime of practice.

But one thing is for sure. If you have a vision of yourself as someone who truly inhabits the qualities of someone who is strong or lean or competitive. Of someone who is dedicated and driven and willing to do what it takes to be more than average, your vision is going to take a hell of a lot longer than 12 weeks to accomplish.

Yet, that is what many fitness and supplement and health companies are selling you. Twelve week challenges that promise to change your physique, capabilities and life forever.

But, with certain notable exceptions, changing something forever usually takes a bit longer than three months.

“Hold on a minute, cowboy,” you may be yelling at your screen right now. “Doesn’t The Fort promote a 12 week “Phase One” package, you God darn hypocrite!”

True. We do offer a 12 week package. But we don’t promote it as the mythical saviour to all your fitness sins and transgressions. Our Phase One package is exactly that – a beginning. Something that gets you on the path to achieving that vision of yourself. It’s the start. And last we checked, unless you are running a 3 yard dash, the starting line is usually nowhere near the finish.

Here is the overall point. Have a vision for yourself. Explore it, write it down and detail it with as much precision as possible. Be capable of seeing this vision of yourself in all its strong, chiseled, capable glory. And then start running towards it. Do everything you can and put the pieces in place as quickly as possible. Sign up for that training program or local competition or nutrition coach or whatever you need to help get you there.

And while the effort should seem urgent and meaningful and driven don’t expect the result to happen in 12 weeks or 12 months or whatever other mystical number you’ve assigned to it. Throw the calendar away and just keep running toward your vision. Work on it every day. Focus on the process. You’ll be amazed what happens.

People can accomplish much less in one year than they expect but over the course of a decade can accomplish much, much more.

And, quite frankly, if your vision of yourself is something that can be nailed in 12 weeks you’ve either been working at it a very long time and are near the end or you just don’t hold yourself in very high esteem.

And you deserve better than that. You are capable of more than you can imagine. But you have to give yourself the time to get there.

For the record, “Rocky” is the best boxing movie of all time. Football is a bit more of murky waters but I’m going to go with “Rudy” because this lack of sleep I’m currently experiencing is making me extra emotional.

And feel free to call me cowboy whenever you’d like. I find it endearing.