Is Optimization killing your progress?
It seems like every day there is a new article, or study, or “expert” opinion talking about the “best” way to do x or y. The best diet. The best exercise for killer abs. The one exercise that MUST be part of your leg routine. And I’m not talking about click bait, BS stuff here. Don’t get me wrong, those are a problem, but that’s a topic for a different day.
No, I am talking about legitimate, science based advice. The good stuff. The cutting edge, tip of the spear, solid shit. But fuck that shit. Just like anything in life, too much of a good thing...
Ok, so what’s the deal here? Aren’t I supposed to be a huge advocate of science? Don’t I base my entire internet career on championing the realities of fitness? Yes, I do. But the main purpose of my mission is not simply to be another voice screaming facts into the abyss. My mission is a little bit different. But hell, I can sum it up in one word. Simplicity. I just want people to understand that this whole get fit, get healthy thing isn’t rocket surgery. There are some basic rules, and if followed, they will change your life.
But when we start hammering optimization, it can become too much. HIIT is better. If you just leg press and skip squats you are a pussy whose legs are never going to grow. I get up at 5am, come home, feed 30 kids, go to work for 29 hours, come home, cook dinner, cure cancer, go to bed, wake up, repeat. Are you fucking kidding me?
Dedication is awesome. Dedication is admirable. But dedication, to the extreme, is not required. It’s very easy to get so caught up in how fucking cock out, hardcore we are, that we forget that broadcasting it every day could be hurting the people that we ultimately want to help.
Think about when you had just decided to really get into fitness. What was it like? Sure, some people have been “athletes” all their lives, so it has just been a natural thing for as long as they can remember. But that is not the case for most. Maybe you were a hardcore athlete in high school, or college. But then life happened. The belly started to grow, and the tight glutes started to soften. Then next thing you knew, you were average.
So, think back to the day you decided to change all of that. To break free from normalcy. To become YOU again. Did you feel like a fuckin bad ass who was going to take the gym by storm? I bet no is the answer here. Driving to the gym your stomach was in knots. Your breathing was shallow and fast. You were already sweating, just thinking about placing your shaky hand on that terrifying front door. Your mind was racing. What were people at the gym going to think? Everyone there is already in great shape. You are going to be such an outsider. Such a noob. Such a loser. Such a joke.
But you fought through the fear. You pushed back the doubt, and faced the imaginary rejection. You did it.
But how many times during the process were you faced with people, or articles, or ads, telling you that you needed to change something or you were just wasting your time? I know I did, and still do see it every day.
Why is it not enough that I am being active? Why can’t I just do what I enjoy? Well, you can. Are you legitimately trying to get onto the cover of your favorite fitness magazine? Are you a professional athlete? If the answer to either of these is no, then who gives a fuck? Why does it matter if you are getting the most out of every workout? Why does it matter if your iron will for dieting should be bronzed and placed center stage in a history museum? Do you really think that the benefits outweigh the stress, if you are MAKING yourself do these things simply because they are the “best”?
How many times have you skipped leg day because you hate squatting? Yes, some of us love working legs, I know. But most people don’t. Squats and dead’s elicit more dread than excitement all around the globe. They just do. They are hard. And some people don’t like feeling that uncomfortable. They want a workout to be challenging, but not TOO challenging.
But too often, we look at that in a negative light. But why can’t it be ok? Why must all of us be bad ass motherfuckers? Does not squatting twice a week mean that you are bitch-made? And is being a little bit bitch-made really a bad thing, for everybody?
It’s time to drop this elitist attitude, that many of us don’t even realize we have. It's ok for people to want to do moderately comfortable workouts. It's ok for people to be half disciplined with their diets.
The price of admission into this world is not blood, sweat and tears. It’s simply a desire to change your life for the better. And I am here to tell you, that being YOU, is good enough.
- Eat Dirty my friends