Workout of the Day

What Happens After Your Body Is The Shape You Want It To Be?

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Undeniably, body composition is the most common motivator for physical activity. Generally manifest as “I want to lose X pounds,” or “I want to fit into size X pants,” or even, “I just want to be thinner,” we all have some idea of what shape we want our body to be. Now, I’m totally cool with body-composition-related goals. Looking good is legitimately important -- it helps our confidence, often correlates to good health, and any motive that gets someone from sedentary to moving is a good thing in my book. But what about when you get your body to the shape you want it to be? What happens when you’ve lost X number of pounds and you fit in your size X pants? Is it game over, you’ve won, time to go home and pack it up? Is it worth your time to keep up a movement practice? Is it time to just go into maintenance mode?

Perhaps these questions are a bit loaded. Let’s step back for a minute and look at the usual course of things.
When someone sets out to change their body composition, there are two ways it commonly goes: they either fail to meet their body composition goals and find themselves disgruntled, which leads them to give up; or they succeed in meeting their body composition goals but find themselves still feeling somewhat dissatisfied or disappointed, and unsure why. At this point, people generally do one of two things: accept their dissatisfaction and turn to just “maintenance,” spinning their wheels and unsure of why they’re doing this or where they’re headed, or seek out/discover another motive: performance.

Performance doesn't have an end. Maybe that seems a bit discouraging at first glance, but if you stop to think about it, that’s exactly what we need. If our goal is to get better (and I would argue that it is), then a “goal” that has no true end is necessary. Better is a direction more so than a destination -- there’s always room for more, options to go further. Body composition doesn’t really stand up to this standard. Sure, you can get nitpicky and likely find something on your body that you could improve more, but this is where we reach a point of dissatisfaction and disappointment, where we find ourselves butting up against the limits of “nature” rather than getting a fair payout from our efforts. Performance, on the other hand, provides us with growing expanses of opportunity to improve. We can move forward, laterally, we can even take steps backwards and fine-tune our performance in the basics.

Performance has the added benefit of providing honest feedback. Body composition goals can be as much mental as they are physical. The way we physically see ourselves is always changing (and, added bonus: often this perception of our appearance relates back to performance) and is entirely subjective. But a 200lb barbell will always be a 200lb barbell. There’s no room for subjectivity or skewed perception or maybes.

At a certain point, the shape of your body won’t be enough to keep you going. Maybe it got you in the door, and maybe you haven’t even reached your body composition goals yet, and body composition is still what keeps you going; that’s perfectly okay. I don’t expect you to be as interested in squat PRs or split times or shoulder stability as I am. But be ready for the day when you’re going to have to answer the question, “what now?” Performance may be just the thing to keep you moving towards better.

- Preston Sprimont


1/31/17

  • Deadlift - 10,10,10

  • For time:

    • 4x50m SB carry (AHAP)

(rest approx 2 min between attempts)