There’s “young and stupid” and there’s me.
Early in my fitness career I’d act first and ask questions later. It came with some tough lessons. If I had stopped to think (for just a damn minute) I could have saved myself a lot of pain and frustration.
C’est la vie. Such is life.
I’ve compiled a few blunders that stick out. Learn from me so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Training is all that matters
“If I want to get fit, I have to workout.” This is a true statement.
“If I want to get fit, all that matters are the workouts.” This is not a true statement.
Fitness is more than training. It’s a lifestyle, a worldview. An all-encompassing perspective that has no expiration date. Training is important, but it’s not the only thing that’s important.
For a long time I didn’t value sleep. I slept too little during the week and too long on the weekend, and it was often fragmented from alcohol use.
Sleep is paramount for both physical and mental recovery. Aim for 7–8 hours each night. Turn in at the same time, wake up at the same time. Go to bed sober. Keep your thermostat on the cooler side. GET YOUR TV OUT OF THE BEDROOM.
For a long time I didn’t value nutrition. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I didn’t track my consumption. I didn’t consider salt or sugar. While I wasn’t overweight, I wasn’t a bastion of health.
Eat whole foods from whole food sources. Avoid processed crap. Eat more on days you train and less on days you don’t. Don’t worry so much about macros — if you’re eating well-balanced meals you’re getting what you need.
Oh, and supplements are a crock of shit. Get your vitamins and minerals from food.
You can’t outwork bad genetics
“I’m too big, I’ll never run a marathon.”
“I’m too skinny, I’ll never be a powerlifter.”
“I’m too short, I’ll never be a basketball player.”
Genetics may limit your potential in certain activities, but they are by no means barriers to entry.
If you work hard enough you can improve any skill you desire.
I’ve always been the skinny guy. In 2015 I decided to do something about it. I took a break from running and focused my energy on lifting weights.
18 months and 21 pounds later I was bigger and stronger than ever before. I was putting up numbers beyond anything I could have imagined. I maxed out at 245 pounds on the bench after starting at a measly 115.
You can do anything you put your mind to. As famed marathoner Eliud Kipchoge likes to say, “No human is limited.” You may not become the greatest of all time, but you’ll be worlds ahead of where you are today.
Variety isn’t that important
Running was my entire world for a long time. There was no cross-training, no weight lifting, no deviation whatsoever. This led to a handful of overuse injuries over a handful of years.
Don’t be like me.
We all have our favorites, but spread the wealth. Don’t do the same thing all the time. Along with upping your propensity for injury, you’re severely limiting yourself to other amazing areas of fitness.
I didn’t know I loved hot yoga until I tried it. I didn’t know I hated spin class for the same reason. I didn’t know how much weight lifting made me a better runner until I incorporated it into my routine.
Variety is the spice of life, as they say. Variety in fitness levels up your game big time.
And if trying something new makes you uncomfortable, good! It should. That’s how you know you’re on the right track. That’s how you know you’re growing and learning.
Happy Wednesday friends. Get after it.
Yes, yes and YES! Fitness for me isn’t just about working out - it’s how I feel emotionally, physically and mentally. None of those things go right if you don’t pay attention to your lifestyle.