When your personal trainer tells you to pick up a light weight

by Don Smith

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Eight months ago during our first session, my personal trainer, Jeremy, told me to go grab a pair of ridiculously light dumbbells. My first thought was who does this guy think I am, a ten-year-old girl???

Yesterday, he asked me to pick up a light weight (which would have been a hefty one for me when I first started), and I think my face looked more like this…

When your personal trainer tells you to pick up a light weight - scared girl hiding

If you've ever had a personal trainer, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You're about to look like you just came out of the shower and may vaguely resemble a rag doll being manipulated by a puppet master as you attempt to walk out of the gym without melting down into a quivering puddle later.

Listen, there's a lesson here. You don't always need to “go big or go home.” Small actions which are taken consistently over time lead to massive results. Here's a picture of what 1% improvement each day for a year looks like.

Graph of exponential gain with only 1% growth per day

Get the picture? Small steps consistently taken in the right direction is how you reach your goals. You don't always have to grab the heaviest weight or go to extremes to make progress. Jeremy said something awhile back to that stuck with me. “I can't train you if I break you.”

You should not start lifting 500lb weights and working out for hours on end seven days a week when you have been sitting on the couch for the last few years to get healthy, that's an excellent way to break yourself. Instead, start small and work up. It's the same with any new area of life you want to grow in. You don't need to dump your life savings and quit your job to start a business. You don't need to give up everything but bread and water to start saving money. Start small, stay consistent, and the results will come.

You do need to get out of your comfort zone to grow, but you shouldn't take risks that will likely break you. Small steps in the right direction will get you where you want to go. Figure out what direction you are going to head, and start walking today.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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