Workout of the Day

Putting Macro-Importance on Micro-Matters

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Walking through a crowded amusement park a number of years ago, I witnessed a woman use her stroller (with the child in it) as a weapon as she rammed the heels of the person in front of her, enraged because this person wouldn’t (I would argue couldn’t, given how crowded it was) get out of the way and let the woman with her stroller pass. Words were exchanged, a threat or two was made, and eventually lady speed-demon and her stroller made their way through to hack at the heels of the next person in the crowd. While a bit terrifying and mildly amusing, I’d like to use this story to bring up something that I think it illustrates quite well: humans are notoriously good at making a big deal out of very insignificant things.

You’ll find this a lot in how people navigate health and fitness. Much care, concern, and energy is directed towards the small details while basic and foundational principles, habits, and mindsets are completely overlooked. People worry about whether balsamic vinegar is an okay dressing for a Paleo diet, but they still drink 12 beers every Friday night and eat an average of 3 vegetables a week. People worry about whether doing 5 sets of 3 or 3 sets of 5 will get them a stronger squat, yet their training is wildly inconsistent and they can’t bend over to touch their toes because their hips are so dysfunctional. People spend countless hours in the gym doing a hundred unique bicep and calf exercises and they have no athleticism or strength to show for it. It’s a classic case of missing the forest for the trees, and it’s incredibly common.

Fitness and health, in general, can be continually improved by adhering to a few basic principles. Sticking with these principles is simple, but it’s not easy. Ultimately, the small details that people obsess over are distractions from the real meat and potatoes of health and fitness. They’re immediate, they’re flashy, and they provide a diversion away from the hard work and consistency that really lie at the heart of progress. In addition, people fool themselves into thinking that until they have all of these tiny details lined up and planned out to a T, they can’t make change. They provide themselves with their own roadblocks.

In my mind, we can turn this into a rites of passage issue. Can small things be important? Sure. That’s what makes a Bentley stand apart from a Toyota -- accents, attention to detail, precision, niceties. But none of this is important if the car’s missing a transmission or if the steering doesn’t work. Bentley figured out how to make a functional automobile, and then they focused on the wood inlays and the stitching of the leather seats, not the other way around. Prioritizing and following through with the basic principles of health and fitness acts as a rite of passage to focus on the little stuff. Want to get really excited about the newest and best weightlifting shoes on the market? That’s fine, but I want to see you able to consistently perform a bodyweight squat without folding in half first. Keen on getting all the best supplements your money can buy? Cool, let’s go ahead and kick that daily soda habit first. At the end of the day, I want to see our effort and energy in proportion to the importance of the matter in question. Let’s give 95% to the stuff that accounts for 95% of our progress and 5% to the rest of the little details, not the other way around.

- Preston Sprimont


12/5/16

  • Weighted ring dip - 5,5,5

  • “Mary”

  • 20 min AMRAP

    • 5 HSPU

    • 10 pistols

    • 15 pull-ups