Workout of the Day

Old New Beginner


This last week I decided it was time to pick up my old guitar that sat on display, gathering dust, and learn to play again. Notice that I said learn to play again. I had no expectation that I’d be able to pick up where I left off (and I was right), and I went into things with the intention of approaching guitar playing as a beginner. I searched YouTube for “beginner guitar lessons” and started at lesson one.

For some background, I spent the better part of my teenage years playing guitar quite a bit -- I took some lessons, practiced and fiddled around in my free time, and spent a few years pretending to be a rock talent in a garage band with friends during high school. I was never great, but I could demonstrate some level of competence on the guitar. This put me perhaps in the intermediate category.

But now, more than a decade later, the way I see it, I have no reason to consider myself anything more than a beginner; and so I took on the intentional practice of learning as a beginner. Not only am I desperately in need of the opportunity to redevelop techniques and recall chords and scales, I am eager for the opportunity to take on the role of beginner and fill in gaps that may have been missing before. And to assume that I should be able to jump back in to this practice as anything more than a beginner would be an error that could only result in frustration and sub-par results.

I see this same scenario play out frequently in the fitness arena. Individuals come into a new practice resting on the laurels of a long history of athleticism and training. Only, that history’s been sitting idle for 5 or 10 or 30 years. While this past experience is certainly significant, the unspoken assumption -- and the thing that gets folks in trouble -- is that this long-aged experience somehow earns them a free-pass to skip right over being a beginner. I’ll just spoil the mystery now: this never actually pans out.

Let’s get two things straight.

First, we believe in giving everyone the opportunity to be a beginner, whether they’ve never trained a day in their life or they were a highly-trained stud athlete back in their day. We’ve found this to yield the greatest results, and, unsurprisingly, we find that assuming everyone is a beginner tends to be a pretty accurate assumption 99 times out of 100.

Second, we all ought to put on the beginner’s hat on the regular and engage with learning without putting up the barriers of assumed expertise and superiority. Day one or day three thousand and one, there’s something you could still take from adopting a beginner’s mindset.

Maybe you still see yourself as a total beginner, maybe you find the word “beginner” offends you (it shouldn’t), or maybe you see yourself as an old new beginner or a new old beginner; regardless, we think you should give it a try. It’s a productive place to be.

- PS


  • Crossfit Total

    • 1rm squat

    • 1rm strict press

    • 1rm deadlift