We’ve all been there. You start getting the barbell bug and you’re making progress. And you think, I can just keep on going—with speed!

How FAST can we get there? How quickly can it be done?

Well, you can go pretty fast, but you’ll come to a screeching halt eventually. At least, if your fundamentals aren’t right.

So we’ll introduce George Hackenschmidt. Hackenschmidt was a strong MFer. No doubt.

But he doesn’t tell us that we need to be like him. His advice is to proceed with caution. With patience.

The way lasting change gets made. Slow and steady.

Chinese Proverb: Impatiently rushing produces no result.

The idea of huffing and puffing and getting all red faced in a workout?

Of pushing no pain no gain methodology?

WRONG-O.

George Hackenschmidt was a “nose is your barometer” kind of guy. So, if you are working so hard you can’t use your nose, then you had better stop and rest a bit, or slow down.

He also had some specific words for brainworkers. That’s me. Maybe you. At my desk, the spreadsheet is my tool belt and my attention is my currency of productivity.

For brain workers the pace of progress slows. According to Hackenschmidt, the principal foods of man are fresh air and sunshine. Brain workers don’t get that. Unless you supplement. And even then, it’s not the same as an outdoor occupation.

Fresh air is a big part of Hackenschmidt and that echoes what other smart men and women say.

I mean, obviously, right? We’re creatures of light and air.

(MacFadden would have you play a game of cards “with an enthusiastic friend” while you’re in the nude. You know, to get the fresh air.)

So, now you’re getting a bit of the feeling. Slow and steady. Nose is your barometer. Don’t get all red faced and wear yourself out in your exercise session. Build up slowly.

Nutrition, he said, is of secondary importance. Not that you eat junk, he writes about 1/4 plate meat and 3/4 vegetables is about right. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco.

“If, therefore, the mind or soul submits to the suggestions of the weaker organ, the body, which bids him to have a smoke now and again, to neglect physical exercise to-day, or to indulge to excess for once in alcoholic drink, the morrow will repeat this suggestion with easier and possibly increased success. Hence to obey your body weakens the will, whilst to control it gives one strength of mind.”

Reread that a few times. And remember next time the lazy bones come a callin’ – you submit, they grow stronger. Willpower is the seed of strength in mind and body.

Develop willpower by pursuing the pages of the Home Gym Self Improvement Plan.