On last week’s episode of GEAR’D UP, we had on special guest Dave Pulcinella, and he talked at length about the mindset of physique competitors from 20 years ago as contrasted with today.
One line that really stood out to me in Pulcinella’s rant was about how, while prepping for a show, he was adamant about “leaving no stone unturned”. Meaning: even if he could have gotten away with doing no cardio, he did it anyways, just to make sure; even if he could have trained without going to failure, he went to failure anyways, just to make sure; even if he could have dieted on a bazillion different tasty foods, he stuck with his most basic of staples, just to make sure.
This is the mindset of a champion. We’re not all born with the genetics to be the top bodybuilder/footballer player/fill-in-the-blank, but we are all born with the choice: Exactly how hard am I going to push the throttle today? That is a choice that each of us makes, every minute of every day.
And while most are busily searching for a way to win without putting the pedal through the floor, that will always be that small contingent who says, “Fuck it”, and drives just a little faster than technically necessary—just to make sure.
Our world and our culture has always changed at a fast pace, and with the advent of the internet, it is changing faster than ever. We have more information available, and more options, than ever in the history of humankind. And from what I can tell, most of us are using that info in order to not leave every stone unturned. We are using that info primarily to search for a shortcut, and easier way, a comfortable way—some pseudo-expert who will tell us what we want to hear, blow smoke up our asses, and confirm that our “preferred diet approach” or “preferred cardio approach” will “get us there”, and work just as well, as the “leave no stone unturned” mentality.
But it won’t, and it doesn’t. Those who thoroughly adopt the “no stone unturned” mentality, end up making up a small subset of individuals commonly known as “winners”. Or to use another bodybuilding cliché, “He who suffers the most, is usually the winner”. We have seen this proven time and time again in our sport, and time and time again in the real world. REGARDLESS of natural gifts, genetics, and propensities, we see that, time and time again, it’s the person who is willing to go the extra mile, the person who is willing to do what others are not willing to do—the person who is willing to stay up all night long, working on their project; the person who is willing to find time to do two hours of cardio a day instead of one, because that might be what’s needed to be your personal best and win—we see time and again that these individuals are the ones who come out on top.
But we don’t like that anymore. It’s 2013, after all, and we want our comfort; we want our simplicity, and our balance.
News flash: being a champion isn’t about being “balanced”. It’s about intentionally being im-balanced, almost obsessive about moving in this one specific direction, and then putting absolutely everything you have into going full-throttle. Again, this is how champions are built and made. You think Michael Jordan was out carousing and drinking with all of his buddies while in high school, or was he practicing to be the best? How about Tiger Woods, having it drilled into him from a very young age that he was born to be the greatest, and then spending countless hours practicing his craft, over and over and over again.
Do you think men like that left any stones unturned? Did they look for shortcuts?
No, men like that do what they do, because they love the process, they love the journey, almost as much if not more than the end goal itself. A completely foreign concept to most in 2013, for sure.
The joy is not holding up the first place trophy, if you know you cut corners and half-assed it to get there. All that means is that you didn’t challenge yourself and select a tough enough competition, probably to protect your delicate self-esteem. The real joy in all of this, is knowing that you pushed harder than ever before, brought something to the stage more amazing than ever before, invested your blood, sweat, and tears into showing absolute physical perfection on the day of the event. That is the memory you will walk away with, and the self-esteem you will live with for years to come.
That is leaving no stone unturned.
-David A. Johnston