Commitment or Contradiction?

Posted: September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

Over the years I’ve witnessed a significant percentage of men and women try to destroy themselves in their workouts all with the intent of either attaining a high level of fitness or feeling like they’ve done enough to have earned the ambiguous “rite of passage” to compare themselves to others by.

It’s not just ironic, that this same group has an ever-enlarging incidence of chronic injuries, burnout, or at best, lack of progress/result for their efforts. With the advent of YouTube and other social avenues to training practices, this issue is well on its way to becoming epidemic.

Tempting as is, I’m not going to take the easy path here and start slamming certain training methods or organizations. The reality is, all training systems can work to your benefit when applied with regulated progressions and the secret ingredient of…common sense. It’s the people involved that “fail” training systems with their flawed instruction and/or application.

Very frequently I’m asked, “What’s the most important thing in getting leaner, more fit, less pain-riden, stronger, greater endurance, more mobile, etc, etc.” They expect some coded, underground, scientifically-inspired gibberish that will take an interpreter to understand…But, the answer is so simple it’s typically discounted and ignored. Write this down, store it in your smart phone…


Going to extremes in exercise will certainly provide immediate feedback in regards to whether something is “working”… but that’s really not all that impressive when you consider a 10-year old could be taught– literally in minutes– how to “coach” a group of adults into exhaustion via certain elementary exercises done to quite severe levels.

“Wow, that was a killer workout!” is the most overrated endorsement of a fitness trainer I can think of.

Consistency in applying sound principles on a regular basis, with deliberate and modest progressions, is the most valuable characteristic of an individual committed to a lifetime of fitness.


Now, let me clarify that if you are a competitive athlete and your chosen “sport” happens to be a form of what the majority think of as “a fitness routine” (i.e. PowerLifting, Bodybuilding, Olympic Weightlifting, and yes, CrossFit), this article is not as relevant to you as it is the overwhelming majority of general population. No matter your chosen competitive sport, there will always be some level of extremity involved in training.

However, even then, you are best to understand the value of biofeedback and workload regulation. This is especially true when your training program is outside the practice of the actual sport. For instance, few sports require more off-field preparation than football. The work in the weight room is important but still must not become more so than the on-field product. Thus, football athletes must be coached in the weight room to challenge their current strength and conditioning levels to make progress but never to the point where the carry-over to the football field suffers. 

Now, when your chosen sport is the training itself (i.e. CrossFit), it’s more about achieving  “peak performance” rather than a life of ‘optimal performance’. This isn’t to say you can’t use some of the principles of a dedicated sport to build an overall functional training program. The key is to consciously select these methods, in scaled-back fashion, and fit them in as part of the program as opposed to the program.

When your competitive result literally takes conscious valid precedence over other stuff in daily life such as a job, career, family, or being able to fully function as your chronological years compile, then have at it. No argument here that achieving your greatest potential physically must sometimes entail pushing the boundaries beyond what makes for a mostly-sane individual. But, for the vast majority, I digress…

The actual functional view of training understands you are only as “good” as your NEXT workout. Whereas the “dysfunctional” view believes you are identified with your previous session(s).

To be truly “committed to” the fitness lifestyle, and to experience the full benefits of training for strength, conditioning, and mobility there are two prerequisite understandings:

#1 You expect to train for a lifetime.

#2 You view each workout as a vital investment that sets the stage for your next workout. You’re only as good as your next workout.

In reality, it takes more discipline to train deliberately this side of the proverbial cliff of “extremes” and to be consistent day after day, week to week, month after month, and year by year than to always just pin your ears back and “go for it”.  For argument’s sake, even if you could take the flight of stairs in one leap, is the risk worth the reward especially when the small margin-for-error can leave you in condition not even being able to take a single step? Unless you’re a competitive “flight-of-stairs racer”, it’s likely best to consistently take it one step at a time.

Commitment is demonstrated by your having a plan, making minor adjustments as needed, being technically sound, and remaining consistent in training accuracy which includes  leaving “something in the tank” to build on workout to workout, knowing those specific times to take it nearer the “redline”, and to pull back just enough to live to train another day with purpose and passion.

To repeat, 

Consistency in applying sound principles on a regular basis, with deliberate and modest progressions, is the most valuable characteristic of an individual committed to a lifetime of fitness.

  1. Nate says:

    Great article Vince! It may not sell like the latest fad, but truth is truth. Thanks for telling it!

  2. Joe P. says:

    Vince, as you know I hate every step, every day, but I do it.
    Joe P.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s