10 Keys to Fitness Success
Written by Dave Thomas
1. Basics First
Crawl → Walk → Run → Sprint → Conquer
In that order. There’s nothing admirable about walking into a gym as a beginner and stubbornly insisting upon tasks above your experience level. Learn to hinge perfectly before picking up the 70# bell. Develop some shoulder stability and strength before stumbling on the rings like Bambi. There’s a lot going on that needs to develop in very methodical, gradual steps. Let the process unfold, and treat the victory of crawling to walking just as great as someone else in your class who might be celebrating at 500# PR.
Achievement is a game of relativity.
2. Own Your Mind
The body follows the map the mind has laid out, and the mind often throws curve balls into the journey that shouldn’t be there. It tells us to stop after one week because we haven’t seen results. It stunts our perception of what we can truly accomplish physically. Learn the difference between pain and discomfort, and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be insecure and vulnerable. That’s where the magic happens.
3. Technique is the Heartbeat
Always prioritize sound mechanics and movement pattern before load. You can never express absolute strength without first establishing muscle endurance or movement pattern. You can never effectively go full throttle in a conditioning workout without first priming your ability to push. Without proper technique we are car just waiting to break down when it’s asked to push the pedal. Allow your joints to strengthen and stabilize under the weight of their own movement first, then introduce load. Once there, never take load to a level that un-wires good movement habit.
Never abandon the urgency of great technique.
4. Embrace Community
Comparison, when dosed properly, is a great thing. It motivates us, shows us what our fellow man or woman can do which in turns tells us we can follow suit. Without community, we wander into the unknown not truly knowing what’s possible. Make a friend. Find a role model. Talk to and emulate them. Pick brains. Share barbells. Chase someone.
5. Be Performance Able
A polished hood is nice, but a hemi engine underneath is better. Do not just have the appearance of fitness. Be capable of it. Lay down your notion that a washboard midsection equates to success, or that cellulite means failure. Embrace the inner workings of your body and let them express their beautiful human performance nature.
6. Be Well Rounded
Maximize the potential of your strengths, but not at the total cost of your weaknesses. Over-specialization is often the demise of other fitness capacities and human movement.
7. Celebrate Wins
You work extremely hard to achieve them. Ring the bell. Smile. Throw up a high five. Take the night off and go eat a pizza with your friends. We do fitness to live an inclusive life, not an exclusive one.
8. Be a Student
The second you think you’ve learned it all, your progress stops. There is always someone in the room you can learn from, some aspect of your journey that can improve, and some other perspective to be had. Do not get stuck in the rut of feedback routine. Vary your input, change up your output.
9. Improve Daily
Exit the doors better than you entered. 100% of the time. Don’t mistake that advice for thinking that has to be more weight in your hand. Perhaps it’s a better push-up technique, learning to breath or brace better, figuring our your best squat stance, noticing you feel better on 300m runs, finally getting that handle placement right on the erg. There are dozens of ways within a class to get better. Open yourself up to all of them.
10. Have Patience
Fitness is an ever evolving journey. Understand that the results and goals you have on paper will take time. They want you to reach them, but they will insist that you struggle and face adversity in doing so. If something happens quickly, it becomes undone just as quickly. Set and achieve outcomes that are written in permanent marker, not pencil.
Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the challenge.