Workout of the Day

Stop Optimizing


With the ambient temperature set at 60 degrees Fahrenheit with steady airflow from a nearby fan, your feet shod in specialized weightlifting shoes, your knees and wrists wrapped, your midline belted, your pre-workout energy and hydration cocktail having been consumed, your macronutrient profile of your 2 previous meals precisely set and timed, your favorite pump-up music playing, and your $1500 specialized barbell in hand, you’re ready to train and perform at your best. And yet, you’d be wrong to think that these are the best conditions for getting the most from your training.

If you’re operating from a framework where “optimization” is a buzzword that’s treated to mean “unequivocally good,” it may be a bit off-putting to hear that your optimized life is hampering your ability to advance. But it’s important to remember that evolution is a process that occurs only with the application of stress. Optimize everything, and you’ve removed the stimuli that drive adaptation. It may feel like you’re adapting as you watch your performance improve with the addition of each newly optimized piece of clothing, equipment, wearable tech, supplement stack, and motivational trick, but you’re only building up a support structure of crutches that, when removed, leave you a less adapted, less sufficient human being. Consider, for example, that Andre DeGrasse, current Olympic medalist in the 100m dash, attempted a 100m sprint in the conditions in which Jesse Owen won the gold medal in 1936, and lost to Owen’s time. While DeGrasse’s times in the 100m dash with our modern shoes and track is far better than Owen’s 1936 time, remove the advanced technology and we are, today, no better -- perhaps worse -- than 80 years ago.

This all isn’t to say that there isn’t a space for optimization. The right shoes can aid in performance or longevity in weightlifting or running, for example, or a belt can help squeeze out some extra performance in the squat or deadlift. The problem, though, is when our “optimization” strategies become as big of a piece of the puzzle as actual stress and work -- when they become crutches. They stand in the way of adaptation rather than promoting it.

Treat these accessories as just that: accessories. They should not guide or define training, but serve as a tool to be used to drive adaptation. Squat sometimes without your weightlifting shoes or without shoes at all, train at a time of day when you’re not at your most energetic, train without caffeine sometimes, train when it’s hot, train when it’s cold, train on an empty stomach, train with no music, train to jazz, train to adapt and to be adaptable.

Our purpose is to adapt and evolve. Be the owner, not the owned.

- PS


  • For time:

    • 100m sprint

    • Make 3 attempts


  • For time:

    • 2500m row

    • Every 90s, complete a 100m sprint