Workout of the Day

The Perfect Pitch

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I’m not much of a “baseball guy”⏤I only ever got as far as Little League, and I have never felt particularly drawn to follow the sport or watch it on TV⏤but I was recently listening to a podcast in which the hosts were discussing ways of fostering meaningful conversation, and one of them used a baseball analogy that stuck with me. The analogy was built around the idea of waiting for the perfect pitch. Naturally, my mind related the analogy back to my interest in fitness and obsession with movement and improvement.

The idea with this analogy is that while we wait for the perfect pitch⏤the one that we can send flying out of the park, we let a dozen, two dozen, a hundred viable pitches fly by. Caught up with our desire to get that one “perfect” opportunity, we pass up opportunity after opportunity to get on base. In life (and in baseball), getting on base is hugely valuable. Getting on base a hundred times will produce far more productivity than that one perfect zinger out of the park. Of course, this analogy has its limits within the confines of baseball rules, with strikes and outs and whatever, but you get the idea.

In my mind, the person who sits around waiting for the perfect pitch has two things going on.

One, they’re afraid to start. They don’t want to be in the thick of things, to risk failure, to deal with uncertainty, to be part-way there and have to face the fact that there’s more distance to cover and more work to be done. They either want the guaranteed home run or they don’t even want to take a swing. When it comes to fitness, this approach never goes well. The reality is, there really aren’t any home runs in fitness. There are plenty of bases, and always opportunities to advance forward or go backwards, but there’s no definitive home run. You never get a chance to put the big “W” by your name, call it a job well done, and withdraw yourself as a permanent victor. If you’re waiting for that “perfect pitch” to get started on your journey or to take the next step, it’s not going to come. You’re much better off taking a swing at the next viable pitch and getting yourself on base.

The second thing at stake in this situation is ego. Everyone wants to be the person talked about in the post-game highlights, the one whose point bought the victory, and nobody wants to be the one who took swings and never made contact. In fitness, everyone wants to be the next great success story, the zero-to-hero athlete, or the one always on top. No one wants to be the person with failed attempts, the long-haul struggle, or the lifelong journey. And so they choose to wait until the stars align, until they are sure they can guarantee a victorious path that will make their own journey in fitness a standout win. But again, that perfect pitch will never come. If all of the time and energy spent waiting for the perfect pitch was spent taking swings, even with the failures along the way, progress can almost be guaranteed. But waiting around without taking risks, without taking any swings, is a guaranteed way to stay right where you are.

I’m fairly certain this analogy fell apart just a few sentences in, but let’s leave it at this: the best time to start is now. I don’t think perfect pitches really happen in the real world, and even if they do, I can guarantee that waiting around for them to fall in your lap is not buying you any forward progress. Line it up and take a swing the next time you have a chance, and get yourself on base.

- Preston Sprimont


11/7/16

  • Farmer’s carry - max distance in 60 seconds with 1/2 bodyweight in each hand (completed as 50’ there-and-back shuttle)

  • For time:

    • 1000m row

    • 800m run

    • 500m row

    • 400m run