Workout of the Day

Plains Winds


Living smack dab in the middle of the Great Plains for a few years, I got to experience a different type of wind than the one I was familiar with as a Southern California native. In Nebraska, wind was a daily matter. With stretches of flat land as far as the eye could see, the wind rushed through the unprotected plains aggressively and with little reprieve, like a faucet left wide open. This was in considerable contrast to the Southern California weather patterns I spent most of my life with: calm and quiet air most days of the year, with infrequent intermittent periods of high speed, gusty winds when the Santa Ana winds or El Niño rolled through.

While I am partial to the more more intermittent winds of California, it has its downsides as well. When the winds do come, they shake things up a bit. The trees and foliage, left relatively unperturbed for months, have plenty of loose leaves and weak branches to shed. Some trees, having been allowed to go months without the testing force of high winds, are easily uprooted by high speed gusts and dragged into roadways and backyards. Californians, notoriously unprepared for any sort of weather variability, end up with their patio umbrellas and garbage cans and potted plants blowing about the neighborhood with the now-loose branches and leaves.

In the Great Plains, on the other hand, a windy day is just another day. Sure, trees lose their leaves, but there are only a few to lose today, because yesterday already took any that were ready to fall. Trees that can’t withstand the winds never make it beyond sapling stage, and weak branches are either strengthened or have already fallen. Residents know to leave their patio umbrellas closed, and easily wind-swept lawn items are either secured, put away, or non-existent.

If we take a step away from weather patterns for a minute, these two very different types of winds and their effects on the landscape can lend us insights into our own behaviors around self-care, health, and fitness.

Our “California winds,” if you will, are a common pattern: long stretches of negligence, of minimal challenge and maximal comfort, of gradual accumulation of problems and destructive behaviors, and then the sudden application of some forceful effort to “fix it all” and the inevitable mess that results. Think of the vicious cycle born out of New Year's resolutions or the extreme reactionary behaviors of crash diets and purposeless exercise to attempt to undo months or years of idleness. Like Santa Ana winds through a young and under-stressed tree, leaves are ripped off, branches break, and you’re left with a mess. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The “Plains winds,” on the other hand, are a pattern shared by high-achievers and growers. Frequent and regular stressors don’t allow for the accumulation of unaddressed problems or destructive behaviors, but rather encourage consistent growth and adaptation. Loose leaves are constantly groomed by the wind, weak branches are quickly stripped away or adapt to withstand the stress. What is left standing is durable, resilient, and ever-adapting.

The well-stressed system never lacks opportunity to grow. Rather than going through the ugly stop-start cycle, what if you just never stopped? In a weird way, I think you might find it’s easier.

- PS


  • Sandbag front squat - 5rm


  • 4 rds for time:

    • 4 SB front squats (AHAP)

    • 12 DB thrusters (40/25)