I’ve been in the fitness industry as a coach since 2006. I’ve seen thousands of clients that range from weight loss to performance for sport, rehabilitation from injury, bodybuilding (mass) and even lifestyle based fitness like CrossFit. I’ve learned a lot from each of those clients and athletes and yet one thing has echoed stronger than anything else. Something is better than nothing.
If you are in pursuit of elite level performance or you simply hope to be able to stand up out of a chair without assistance, your training involves some kind of a plan. You may have found a plan online for free, you may be paying hundreds of dollars a month for a 1 on 1 training or specifically designed program for your goals but there should be a plan. Another quote I’m sure you’ve heard and is also very true is, “If you don’t have a plan, then you are planning to fail”. The downside to a plan is that it often leaves us feeling that if we can’t follow it to the “T” then we aren’t going to meet our goals or even that we are failing! Like I mentioned I’m a fan of a plan, but it can also be a deterrent to progress if you develop the aforementioned mentality. This mentality breeds an “All or none” approach that leads many people to failing their fitness journeys before they get very far at all. For example, each year people in January start crushing their goals, starting workout plans, nutrition plans, hitting the gym and often even with a trainer but by March they are done. They aren’t done because they reached their goals and they are happy and fulfilled, they are done because along the way they had a few missteps or missed sessions in the gym or didn’t hit their macro’s for a week straight and they decided to just scrap the whole plan! This isn’t how success is built in anything.
“All or none” isn’t an approach for anyone. Like I’ve mentioned I know athletes who have won the CrossFit Games and still train for them every single day to be the “Fittest on Earth” yet they don't’ even live or train this way. A successful approach to health and fitness and even performance is a long, broad journey. There will be ups and downs, lefts and rights, good days, bad weeks, great months and slow years. Keep your eyes on the prize. Enjoy the process. Love the grind. And always remember that “something is better than nothing”.
I’ve been “training” again in the gym. For no specific reason other than that my body feels good and I’m motivated (I think I’m drawn to the gym when adversity is present and there’s a lot of that in the world right now). But I’m about to hit the road and go on a family trip for a week. Does that mean my training will have to suffer? Nope. Will I spend 2 hours in the gym while on vacation or have equipment to train? Nope. Well, which one then? Both. My expectations will shift and my priorities will be on quality time with family and creating memories and adventures for my children. I will get in some training however. Maybe I’ll just go on an early morning run, or be doing push ups and sit ups throughout the day while the kids are watching TV or taking a nap. I know from experience that motion is lotion, and something is better than nothing, so I will do my best to apply it. No I won’t be moving several hundred pounds in weight each day (yes that is something very normal in my training), or doing a few hundred pull ups or toes to bar and putting down thousands of meters on a erg for cardio work but I’ll still make progress.
How does “something is better than nothing” apply to you? Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been training your body and mind for years or if you are only hoping to begin. Just do something! Walk, run, play, crawl, push up, sit up, get on the ground and get a few times (burpee’s), do some body weight lunges, step ups on the steps, but do something, do anything. Our bodies are meant to move and you will be much happier when you do, as will your peers simply from how it changes you. Remember this when you get off track and miss a few days of the gym or go off the deep end in your nutrition. Give yourself room to make mistakes and remember a small thing, a small effort and a small action is better than nothing. When you can get right back on track and be as compliant as you can, but you’ll NEVER be perfect. And if you ask me, I wouldn’t want to be, that’s a really boring way to live.
This application can work for anything you are pursuing, not just your fitness. I try to live this way when it comes to my spiritual walk, affection with my Wife, relationships with friends. I’m not perfect in any of them and some days I really drop the ball, but I try to remind myself that there's no reason to not do “something”! A text message to a friend I was supposed to call, even 5 minutes in my Bible, holding my Wife’s hand while we watch TV, these are all “somethings” and they are certainly better than nothing. We won’t be perfect, we won’t always be compliant to our vision or expectations but we can certainly do “something”.