Workout of the Day

Uncommon Outcomes from Common Choices

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It’s a fact that you, as a member of this movement and improvement culture, are a bit of an outlier. You’ve chosen to move against the tide of neglected health, complacency, and disconnection with physical self. You’ve chosen to move away from the common results of obesity, pain, dysfunction, dissatisfaction, and decline. You’ve made some uncommon choices, and as such, you are an outlier in some respects. But even as an outlier, it is possible to lead something of a double-life.

I’ve seen this countless times: on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for approximately 61 minutes, you’re all in on fitness. It’s intensity, grit, commitment, self-improvement, and care. But for the other 9897 minutes of the week, you’re average-American-Jim or -Sally. It’s slumped in office chairs and stuck in the rut of stress and daily iced mochas and glued to the couch watching Netflix ‘til 2am.

Almost without fail, I see these situations yield similar results. “Man, I can’t seem to lose this last bit of belly fat.” “My hips hurt whenever I squat.” “This sucks -- I put in my hours in the gym, but I haven’t gotten any stronger in 6 months.” “I feel great after I go to the gym, but I feel like garbage for the rest of the day.” The frustration is understandable: this exercise stuff is challenging, and to put in the work and see stagnation or diminishing payout is disappointing. But if we play the numbers game for a minute, it should become clear that we’re fooling ourselves if we think that committing 1.82% of our time every week to our fitness will yield 80%, 60%, or even 40% returns. We cannot expect uncommon outcomes from our common lifestyle choices. We cannot expect to live like average-American-Jim or -Sally 98.18% of the time and stumble into anything more than mediocre results.

Before I move on, let me clarify what I’m not saying.
I am not saying that you cannot lead a “normal” life, cannot enjoy life’s indulgences, or ought to seclude or distance yourself from others who don’t share your lifestyle choices and aspirations. I am not saying this is an us vs. them battle, or that to have your fitness and your ice cream too means playing both sides of the ball or developing alter-egos or secret identities. The last thing I want to encourage is any degree of self-righteous, exclusive, or fitness-separatist practices. This stuff is for everyone, and we can’t forget that.

But to live a life almost entirely of common practices and imagine that you can redefine your whole being and condition with three hours per week of sweating is a pipe dream. Yes, you absolutely can and will see some positive change from even a couple hours per week (a true testament to the power of movement), but this is still an overwhelmingly common lifestyle, and as such you shouldn’t be surprised when you’ve stopped getting stronger and your hips hurt and your body composition won’t budge in the right direction and you see overwhelmingly common outcomes.

Look, you don’t need to be the unapproachable fitness freak angrily eating your kale salad in the corner of the break room and doing burpees in your office all day. You don’t need to throw away your television or never eat ice cream. But maybe if you get up from your office chair and move around every hour, pass on the sweetened drinks at the coffee shop, and shut off the TV and computer and get to bed an hour earlier, you’ll find yourself getting a bigger return on your investment. This stuff is for life, after all.

- PS


3/30/17

  • Every 2 mins for 10 mins

    • Max unbroken ring dips

  • 18 min AMRAP

    • 200m run

    • 1 strict pull-up

    • 1 box jump (24/20)

    • 200m run

    • 2 strict pull-ups

    • 2 box jumps (24/20)

    • 200m run

    • 3 strict pull-ups

    • 3 box jumps (24/20)