Review: “Progress”

Last week, on a three-hour flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas, where I was going to meet my Dad to celebrate his 65th birthday, I read Progress by Chris Moore, the Barbell Buddha, from cover to cover. I could not put the book down, skipping my usual mouth agape airplane shuteye.

Moore is a former college athlete, competitive power lifter, writer and host of his Barbell Buddha podcast and Barbell Shrugged.

The man is well versed in the world of strength training and has found enlightenment along the way in his diligent path of learning how to be stronger and happier.

The book has a unique voice and Moore is extremely articulate when it comes to boiling down his views on progress.

With short chapters, well chosen quotes and personal anecdotes, he conveys to the reader in short to keep it simple stupid.

“Setting big goals is the easiest thing in the world to do… Crawling under the barbell, running laps or preparing a week’s worth of high quality meals is far less exciting. But you cannot arrive at your destination without those first steps.”

In addition to keeping it simple, Moore advocates a process of self-evaluation encouraging the reader with the following steps:

  • Write down your goal. Don’t just think it, commit it to paper.
  • Identify your motives. Know exactly what you are after and why.
  • Visualize your success. See yourself achieving your goals.
  • Focus. “If you only have one ass, you cannot ride two horses.”
  • Take it step by step. Take your time. It’s not a race.
  • Use what you got. Don’t make the lack of equipment, program or a coach an excuse for not starting.
  • Work with your limitations. Know your barriers and adjust as needed.
  • Get lost in the process. Take those first few steps and get in the rhythm.

While Moore finds inspiration from Buddha and takes a Zen-like approach to training, he is not a monk.

He believes that a little vice is needed – for him that is the occasional tequila and a donut. Essentially, Moore recognizes that progress is a daily pursuit through habit and purpose.

It is not something fleeting. Goals can be short-term, but the pursuit of being stronger, faster, happier is ongoing.

“What matters most is that you make your decision and then put a plan in place. With that, and a perspective that allows you to adapt and evolve along your journey, you are sure to arrive a higher ground.”

Moore finds solace in a barbell, but don’t let his weightlifting background be a deterrent from reading his tome. Anyone can find inspiration even if your journey doesn’t involve any kilos.

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