Paying For Time


By: Gym Jones

The other day a hypothetical situation arose in conversation:
If you had five minutes with the best coach in the world what would you ask him?
1) What's the magic interval structure?
2) Which workout will blast my lats the best?
3) Can random, short, high-intensity work trump scheduled, variable intensity/duration efforts when trying to produce X result?
4) Etc

Personally, I would ask him nothing. I would socialize. I would show that I am interesting, inquisitive, intelligent, committed, and that I have done a lot of work already. I might ask about his family and his interests outside of sport training. In short, I would use those first five minutes to make sure that I get another ten. And then use those ten minutes to earn another 30. Eventually, I might delve into the training questions but maybe not. By the time I had earned enough time with him I might realize the questions are irrelevant and the picture is far bigger than the means I was so curious about before.

On the other hand, if I had questions I could not answer on my own, if I required input about or oversight of my training program I would BUY the time of the aforementioned coach. Paying for his time and energy with currency is far more respectful and professional than asking for free advice and expecting a thoughtful, and meaningful reply.

I wonder why people expect to be given something useful, something carefully crafted and individual to them, without offering anything in return. This applies to advice and it applies to one's training: folks feel entitled to get what they want and when they want it even though they invest nothing, sacrifice nothing, and comparatively, DO nothing. "Oh, it took a decade of inattention and apathy to get that fat and you want to change not only appearance but behavior and habit in the absolute minimum amount of time, which you have decided is somewhere north of 30 days and certainly less than 90?" What about this idea makes sense?

I'll make a tangential reference to Ravi Mohan's blog because he quite succinctly stated his position on mentorship, which applies in this situation:

"If you claim to be "very passionate about X" but have never done anything concrete in X I find it difficult to take you seriously. People who are really passionate about anything don't wait for "leaders" or "mentors" before doing *concrete* work in the area of their passion, however limited.

In other words, when you ask for a busy person's time for "mentorship" or "advice" or whatever, show (a) you are serious and have gone as far as you can by yourself (b) have taken concrete steps to address whatever your needs are and (optionally)(c) how helping you could benefit them/their project.

I hate to sound all zen master-ey but in my experience, it is doing the work that teaches you what you need to do next. Walking the path reveals more of the map. All the mentoring a truly devoted student needs is an occasional nudge here or an occasional brief warning there. Working with uncertainty is part of the learning. Waiting for mentorship/leadership/"community"/whatever to start working is a flaw that guarantees you will never achieve anything worthwhile."

To circle back, if you ask a question via the Public channel you may receive a response. The more interesting and challenging the query, and the more work you have already done on your own, the better the chance. On the other hand, Salvation members have paid for the time it takes us to consider and craft answers to their questions. This is but one advantage of joining the club. Sooner or later the Public Q&A option will be shut down because we simply do not have time to field all of the questions that come in via that channel.

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So, first do the work that might teach you what you want to know. Then, if you think we might be able to assist you, invest in yourself and your future by paying for access to our experience and the collective Gym Jones mind.

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