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Charles Mazibuko, Werner Beukes and Nhlanhla Mathebula

The illusion of predictability

Every time we step into the weight room we face a world of uncertainty

We want to conquer the world of weights every time we set foot in the gym. Anything less and we will only be spinning our wheels. We want to rule the weights and have the last word.

We want to survive the uncertainty but not just to make it through to the other side but also to claim it as ours. We want to outline our path to success and blaze our own personal road to triumph.

Muscle grows from the shock it is exposed to. This is part and parcel of the uncertainty of training. Although we can manipulate variables such as poundage, rep speed and rest periods to our advantage we often don’t know what lies ahead of us – after the next rep and the next set.

We subject ourselves to stressors we need to grow bigger and stronger and make appreciable gains. Although each and every workout has a measure of uncertainty we must go beyond our fears to show our resilience and robustness because that is how we deal with the unknown.

By subjecting our bodies to the right amount of stress, we continue to lift things and to lift them well. As part of our quest we are continuously fine-tuning our understanding of training, developing models and theories that can measure and track success to make our journey smoother and more linear. However, each and every time we lift, we are flung back into a world of uncertainty. Although as humans we thrive on the security of a cookie cutter system, a plan is in some sense only the illusion of predictability. Training plotted on a graph does not always go according to a straight line but can end up as a curious curve, a frustrating zig-zag. Success is not computable.

Yet we continue to predict and classify because understanding everything makes us less intellectually fearful of the unknown and gives us a mechanism by which we can regenerate a system for continuous use.

Although the experience of the lifters from the past carries the stamp of authenticity and the sincerity of opinion we still add and subtract, develop and refine and eventually through it all we find our own way.

Werner Beukes

Werner Beukes is editor of Muscle Evolution. After obtaining degrees in Journalism and Public Relations he acquired a solid background in journalism working for a number of newspapers and news agencies before joining Muscle Evolution where he combines his love for training and writing to produce content for South Africa’s Number 1 Bodybuilding Magazine.

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