Michael Grogan is a Personal Trainer/Movement Coach in Melbourne CBD & Clifton Hill, Australia.  He uses a combination of Gymnastic Strength, Advanced Mobility and Barbell Strength & Power exercises to achieve increased levels of performance and body composition with his clients. For more information follow him on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelgrogan_movement/ facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGroganMovement and for enquiries contact [email protected] 

I remember when I first tried out a Brazilian Jui-Jitsu class (BJJ), my brother had invited me along and I was not sure what to expect.

As I arrived at gym I started looking around at some of the other participants, they appeared to have been doing the sport for a number of years. They seemed to flow through the positions with ease and put each other through some crazy moves as they were warming up.  My brother joined in and was drilling through various moves, which looked equally as impressive. The instructor then came up to me and said, as it was my first time I had to go in the corner and run through some basic drills. The following dialogue then ensued:

Me: “can’t I just join in with those guys?”

Instructor: “You really should learn the basics first”

Me: “Nah man I’ll be good I am sure I’ll be able to pick it up, I’m pretty fit and strong”

Instructor: “Up to you mate”

I joined in with the more experienced group just in time to do some light sparring (low intensity fighting). The idea was to spar everyone over a period of 5 minutes…over the next 5 minutes I felt as if I were a rag doll going through a washing machine as I was choked, arm-locked and knee-barred about 30 times. All of my sparring bouts had resulted in me lasting on average about 8 seconds before some would submit me (win the fight). After this I engaged in this dialogue with the instructor:

Instructor: “how was that mate?”

Me: “I can’t feel my face”

Instructor: “Do you want to run through the basics now?”

Me: “Yes, but first, can I just lie here in the corner shaking with fear uncontrollably for a few minutes?”

Instructor: “Sure, see you in 5”

It is amazing how many people out there seem surprised and then get angry and frustrated when they try something for the first time to find they are not good at it!

It’s the same when people pick up a skill they used to be good at (10-15 years ago) and then try it out again. There’s almost a feeling of shock when they discover that they are not proficient in that skill anymore.

What’s worse is not only that we expect to be good at the skill, it’s the fact that it puts us off learning or re-learning that skill altogether – lets get a grip peeps!

It takes time and persistence to learn a skill, if this wasn’t the case then it wouldn’t be a skill – everyone would just be able to do it!

How audacious is it just to expect to be good at something or expect that sitting on your bum for 15 years will allow you to pick up any given skill at a moments notice. The purpose of this article is to identify 4 view-points, that are commonplace in society, but will hold you back when you are trying to progress with your fitness or any kind of skill development.


1.    “But I just want to be good at it already”

Impatience can kill a number of great things in life. One of which is the ability to pick up new skills or develop your body physically. I can relate to this through my BJJ experience, I just wanted to be as good as the lads who had been practicing for years….straight away, and what happened? I got a knuckle sandwich soothed with a cool glass of ‘get back in the corner noobie’.

If you have ever felt the need to be good at something…then you need to put in the work required in order to be good at that particular thing. We cannot clean and jerk our bodyweight or deadlift 200kg from a week or month of training. We must first develop the base strength and motor skills required in order to perform these lifts.

How to dismantle this throw away phrase:

As with any new skill or developing oneself, you need to perform the due-diligence that is required in order to perform that skill to your desired level. Mastery is 10,000 hours of work, however competence can be achieved through 48x25min blocks of time or just over 3 months of consistent work.


2. “You wont believe how fit I was 10 years ago”


That’s the amount of people that care about how fit you were 5, 10, 15, 50 years ago. No-one cares that you used to do 30 chin ups when you were 21 or that you used to have a six-pack or that you used to be flexible when you were you were younger. Please spare everyone the old photos of you with no shirt on during the summer of 2004.

How to avoid living on those past glories:

The only moment in time that ever counts is right now! Don’t waste this moment by living on past glories. Make consistent improvements to your training each year and always live in the upper echelon of your demographic when it comes to your strength and health.

3. “I want to lose 25kg, have a six pack and feel great in 1 month”

The old new years resolution to make lofty changes to your appearance and health by training twice a day, every day until you achieve your goals which are so unreasonably unrealistic that the thought of going through with it makes you shudder with fear.

How to avoid disappointment with your expectations:

Set some meaningful goals that take into account your circumstances. Make sure they are achievable and you put a realistic time frame upon achieving them. Its ok to think big but you need to start small and be consistent in order to achieve those lofty goals.

4. “What supps do you recommend?”

Ahh.. supplements, the short-cutters ace card. There are some supplements out there that are very useful to supplement your training. HOWEVER there is no supplement that replaces getting your butt into the gym every week on a regular basis for an extended period of time. This should be your number 1 priority rather than looking for pills and powders to take the back route to success.

How to avoid:

Focus on the basics, make time to train and stick to it. Get advice on the foods you should be eating and try to eat clean for the majority of each week. Then if you train 6 times a week and eat clean; maybe you could crack open the magnesium supps in order to help out.


To Conclude:

When we start something new or pick something up again after a long period time away we should not expect that we will be magically be proficient at it. When we make unreasonable expectations we are often left disappointed and this leaves us to become defensive and close off from the people and the very skill we are trying to learn.

Embrace the feeling of learning something new, enjoy being a student and connect with those who can show you the way.

But more importantly please do not show us anymore pictures of what you looked like when you were 21 and had a six-pack.


For all those wanting advice on setting their own structure with their lifestyle balance please get in touch: [email protected]




The following two tabs change content below.
Michael is a Human Performance Coach based in Melbourne, Australia creating high performance human machines since 2009. Michael believes in building physical performance using gymnastic strength, advanced mobility and barbell strength & power. Building mental performance through constant challenge, goal setting and skill based activities. Building lifestyle performance through discipline and mental drive.