Workout of the Day

If Not Forward, Backwards


Joe Paterno is quoted as saying, “You're gonna get better or you're gonna get worse, but you're not gonna stay the same.” While perhaps not strictly true (there are, I’m sure, examples of exceptions in which you can stay roughly the same in some skill or condition for a period of time), this concept is true in every practical sense. The brain has a very useful function of committing minimal mental energy towards tasks which are comfortable and regularly encountered. It would be downright paralyzing if we approached every task with the same focus and attention to detail as the when we first learned the task: driving on the freeway, cooking a meal, mowing the lawn, etc. This ability to “autopilot” through tasks is an undeniable advantage, as it clears up processing power for newer tasks or more important demands.

However, this same adaptation can be a hindrance to progress in the wrong tasks. Consider approaching your career with the same apathy and lack of attention with which you approach driving on the freeway. While your first months or years on the job may have been filled with focus, intentional effort, perhaps even excitement, 10 years in you find yourself moving through motions and nothing more. And while this may confer the benefit of taking less energy than you committed during your first months on the job, I can guarantee you are not getting any better at your job with this approach. You would be lucky to stay the same.

This ultimately brings us to a decision about how we approach any practice. Will our practice be deliberate, attentive, goal-directed, and forward moving? Or automatic, complacent, and far from progressive? I have witnessed both approaches in people’s training efforts, and the results speak for themselves.

Undeniably, it is difficult to commit to deliberate practice in something which you’ve done 5,000 times before -- far more difficult than it is when you first learn. But this stands as the greatest difference between those who move into excellence and those who plateau and eventually fade out.

It’s all a choice: move forwards, or backwards?

- PS


  • For time:

    • 800m run


  • Every 2 mins for 10 mins:

    • 100m sandbag front carry (AHAP)

*5 burpee penalty for every drop/lapping of the bag