Workout of the Day

Two Truths and a Lie


Let’s say you get a flat tire on your way to work, and so you arrive late. That afternoon, your boss drops by your desk to let you know that the TPS reports need to be redone because they didn’t pass muster -- and they’re due tomorrow. This means a late night in front of the computer at home. And of course, on your way back from work, there’s road construction and traffic is a disaster. Because of the chaos of your day, you send your coach a message: “car problems, work issues, and traffic -- can’t make it to class today.”

On the one hand, you’re telling truths: you’ve had a “when it rains, it pours” kind of day, and suddenly your 8-hour workday and 20-minute commute has turned into a 12-hour workday and 2-hour commute. You’re not spinning tall tales or making up lies to get out of your training commitment -- you really did have car problems, work issues, and encounter traffic. There’s just one thing: the story of “can’t” is a lie.

Practically speaking, there are not many true “can’ts” in life, just a sliding scale of choices. I am reminded of the recent news story of Walter Carr, a young man in Alabama whose car broke down the day before his first day at a new job. The job was 20 miles away, his car was not functional, he couldn’t find a ride, and he was supposed to be at work the next morning, so he made the choice to spend the night walking the 20 miles to work. He had every reason to believe stories of “can’t,” and yet he made a different choice.

(The young man’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, either -- the chief executive of the company Walter had just started with heard about Carr’s inspiring choices and gave him his own car).

When you get a flat tire and an extra load of work that needs to be done by tomorrow and you sit in traffic forever, it’s easy to turn to the story of can’t; but the reality is, there’s still a choice. The choice is to prioritize the very disruptive, nearly-unavoidable, and pressing issues of car troubles, workloads, and traffic over a day of training. And honestly, that’s probably the better choice 9 times out of 10. A day of fitness is not the end-all be-all, and I would never tell you that you should, in the above example, neglect your work or your family or your well-being to get in an hour of fitness. But please, stop telling yourself stories about how your hands are tied and you simply can’t. Be straight with yourself: things are hard, there are unexpected challenges and so you’re making a choice of priorities, and that’s perfectly okay.

I intentionally chose an extreme example because when we can acknowledge that we still have a choice, even amidst the chaos of a day that feels like a bad comedy movie in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong, it puts a healthy perspective on the average day in which the story of “can’t” is built around rather small and inconsequential challenges, or is much more in your control.

There’s an incredible freedom to be had when you stop telling yourself lies about can and can’t, and recognize that you will always have choices. It’s scary. You have to own your actions and your priorities, you have to acknowledge what matters, you can’t let yourself off the hook for your choices, and you have to be real with yourself. But it’s true.

- PS


  • 20 min AMRAP

    • 200m run with (45/25lb) plate

    • 20 KBS (53/35)

    • 200m KB suitcase carry (53/35)

    • 20 wallballs (20/14)

    • 200m run with (20/14lb) medball

    • 20 pull-ups