Workout of the Day

Getting a Four-Course Meal When You Ordered The Bowl of Soup


You’re out to dinner with some friends and, when the waiter asks for your order, you decide to go with a bowl of soup. The waiter asks if you’re sure that’s all you want, and you confirm, “yes, just a bowl of soup.” About 10 minutes later, a plate of fine appetizers is delivered to you. Assuming it must be complementary at this restaurant, and since you are rather hungry, you dive in and enjoy the delicious surprise. A few minutes later, your soup comes out. Another ten minutes passes, and out comes a full entrée, complete with grilled pork loin, roasted potatoes, and a salad. A bit perplexed, you tell the waiter this must be a mix-up, that you only ordered the soup. The waiter assures you, “no, this is for you.” Another 40 minutes pass, and out comes the waiter, again bearing a plate full of fantastic-looking food that you are sure you didn’t order. Dessert this time, as well as coffee. After trying to convince the waiter that this must be a mistake, and he needs to take it back, you finally give in and accept the fact that this restaurant must just give everyone four-course meals, and you steel yourself for the large bill you’re sure you’ll receive. The bill comes, and on it is just one thing: a bowl of soup.

In a lot of ways, fitness is the same as this mysterious restaurant that serves you a four-course meal when all you ordered is the soup. When we initially embark on our fitness journey, most of us start with a goal like losing some belly fat, running a bit faster, feeling more energetic, or maybe improving performance in a sport or hobby. This initial goal is your bowl of soup. As time goes on, though, you start to get a bit more than you bargained for. Whether you’re ready for it or not, more dishes start coming out. Discipline, mindfulness, tenacity, perspective, relationships, strength of will, emotional strength, humility, and more. These generally aren’t the things that get us in the door, but stick with fitness long enough, and you might be surprised what’s delivered to your table. And, just as you’d be rather inclined to return to the mysterious restaurant suggested above, these surprise benefits of fitness tend to be the things that keep us coming back for more. The soup's great, but everything else you get too? That's a whole different ballgame.

Of course, this analogy comes with a few caveats.
First, it’s not as simple as sitting down at the table and having all of these wonderful attributes delivered to and bestowed upon you. Fitness takes work, and it’s the work that goes into fitness that ultimately produces these unexpected benefits and growth opportunities for you.

Second, it helps to come hungry. If you showed up at the restaurant with an appetite for just a bowl of soup, and you were delivered a full four-course meal, you might leave feeling a bit sick to your stomach, or bummed that you couldn’t fully enjoy your evening of surprise fine dining. So many of the people I talk to at the start of their fitness journey tell me that they’re hoping to get maybe some fat loss or a little strength out of it, but that’s really it. Just like the waiter, I ask, “are you sure you don’t want anything else?” But they’ve come to the table hungry for just a bowl of soup, and the sight of a full meal might even be enough to turn them away. All of the benefits of fitness enumerated above come from the challenges that fitness can present, and the subsequent growth that can come from working through such challenges. If you enter into your fitness journey hungry for more, you’re going to be ready to derive more benefits and get more from your endeavors. Come hungry for only a bowl of soup, and you might get just that.

Finally, you have to be ready to stick around for the whole meal. If you leave as soon as you finish your soup, you’re going to miss out on everything else that was brought to the table. This weird fitness-dinner analogy that I’ve created is lifelong. The benefits keep mounting, assuming you stay the course. But if you rush out the door as soon as you think you’ve “finished” your fitness, you’re missing out on the real meat and potatoes of it all.

Ready to eat?

- Preston Sprimont


  • Front squat - work up to max single

  • 16 min EMOM

    • Even: 1 clean + 3 front squats @60-70%

    • Odd: Max ring push-ups in 30s