An Argument for Average Fitness

Average Fitness

I recently read an article by Mark Manson called “In Defense of Being Average“. (worth a read!)

The premise of the article is that we tend to idolize and make heroes of people (or characters) who embody perfection. We think up heroes like Batman and Superman, and idolize Greek gods and Spartan warriors. We’re always looking up to those that are the best at what they do.

The same is true in fitness. You can tell by the endless amounts of Instagram posts of “Fitspiration” focused on peach booty’s and 6-pack abs. It’s perfect images of perfect body’s in perfect lighting and perfect poses.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to look at for sure, but what does that do for our expectations of OUR fitness?

Mark said it great in terms of what I want to focus on in this article:

“Today, I want to take a detour from our “make more, buy more, fuck more” culture and argue for the merits of mediocrity, of being blasé boring and average.

Not the merits of pursuing mediocrity, mind you — because we all should try to do the best we possibly can — but rather, the merits of accepting mediocrity when we end up there despite our best efforts.”

Think of it like playing basketball. Of course you’re going to idolize players like Michael Jordan, Cobe Bryant and Labron James. However, if you’re reading this it’s likely that you accept that you’ll never be able to perform at their level. You may be good and even great, but you’re not the best.

Does this discourage you? Not really. You’ve accepted it and you can use it as inspiration to push yourself further.

However, I don’t feel the same is true in fitness. From the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with and countless people I’ve talked to, we tend to get discouraged if we can’t be the best.

Yes we have the motivation. Yes we stare at the 21 year old fitness model and want to look exactly the same. Yes we push for a bit to take ourselves further. However, if we don’t reach those results within a couple of months, we get discouraged and quit.

Truth is, fitness has the same type of bell curve as anything in life.

Average Fitness
image from Mark’s article

In this image we can see someone like Michael Jordan is in the top 1%. Sticking with basketball we can probably argue that all other NBA players would fit in the top 5%. College players and high level Rec players will fall into the top 20% and the majority of us regulars would fit into the middle 60%.

This same is true in pretty much any other area of life you can think of.

So why not look at this the same way for our fitness?

What’s wrong with accepting that we’ll have a “middle 60” level of fitness?

It doens’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t persue more, it just means that we don’t get so discourage when we don’t lose 20lbs in 1 week.

Average Fitness

In terms of health and fitness, the bottom 20% is obese and at a high risk of cardio vascular disease and other health issues. The top 5% are the fitness models you see and double tap on Instagram. The top 20% are athletes of some level constantly training for their sport.

So if you’re an average gym goer that shows up 3-5 days per week on a semi-regular basis, then you’re going to land in the middle 60.

The problem is many people aren’t even that. They get so discouraged that they’re not doing 5 days per week, at high intensity, eating nothing but rabbit food and flaunting their abs any chance they can get that it’s just not worth it.

If I’m not perfect what’s the point?!?!

The point is that the middle 60 (or maybe more specifically the upper 30 of the middle 60) is still a solid level of fitness and health. You’ll look great naked, you’ll feel great inside and you’ll live a longer happier life.

If you can accept this mediocracy then you’ll experience more enjoyment in your pursuit of fitness and even the rest of your life because you’re not stressed about not being the top 5%.

I encourage you to consider the value of having an average fitness and the happiness that comes with it.

This Shit Ain’t Pretty

This Shit Ain't Pretty

Building the body of your dreams (the one you follow on Instagram) isn’t easy, it’s not pretty and it doesn’t happen overnight.

I’m so sick and tired of all the crap out there that says otherwise that I wanted to step up and be a voice in the opposite direction.

The truth is, it’s not easy, it’s fucking hard, it takes a long fucking time, and you likely won’t get it on your first fucking try.

This Shit Ain't Pretty

 

Yes, of course, there are a few people that got those AMAZING results you see on the infomercial.

Yes, someone you know lost 40 lbs in 40 days.

However, that’s not normal.

What’s normal is that you’re following a 22 year old fitness model on Instagram.
What’s normal is they’ve had that body nearly their entire life.
What’s normal is that MOST people haven’t looked like their entire life, don’t have the same metabolism and won’t see the same results as them in the same time frame.

What’s normal is:

Most people fail many many times before reaching their fitness goals. 

And if they do it’s not a simple straight line. It’s an ugly, grinding mess that has you feeling like you want to give up over and over again.

So please, please, please, stop believing the bullshit. Stop believing the hype and stop believing you’re the exception.

Likelihood is you’re not the exception, you’re the norm.

It is what it is so accept that reality now and get prepared to put in the work it actually takes. Be prepared for the bumpy road because it sure ain’t pretty.

~ Chad 

 

Why You Should Food Journal

Ever had the feeling that you’re eating healthy but you just can’t seem to get any results?

A client of mine was recently feeling the same way.

He started a photo food journal to track what he ate. He takes pictures of everything he eats each day and shares it with me.

Within a week my client noticed that he was eating better.

A week!

Here’s why:

I’ve long been a fan of a journal when starting to change eating habits. At minimum because I need to see what my clients are eating to be able to help them. But also, because it’s often very eye opening for the client.

I’ve seen it so often, the new client says “but I eat healthy, how come I’m not seeing results “.

I ask them to journal and very often I get the same experience as the client mentioned above. The journal actually opens their eyes to EVERYTHING that they eat in the day.

Sure, the main meals, especially when you at at home are pretty healthy. However, many people don’t realize the frequent snacks, amount of sugary beverages they consume, gaps in their eating, or late night habits.

It’s not just what they eat that they end up seeing, it’s how they eat.

They see their habits.

Food journaling is a great idea if you’re unsure of why you aren’t seeing results or want to know how you can modify your diet.

I encourage you to try a photo journal like my client. You might be surprised by what you find!

~ Chad

An Industry Built On The Learning Curve – Or At Least My Version Of It

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

Let’s start with Wikipedia:

A learning curve is a graphical representation of the increase of learning (vertical axis) with experience (horizontal axis).

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

A learning curve averaged over many trials is smooth, and can be expressed as a mathematical function.

The term learning curve is used in two main ways: where the same task is repeated in a series of trials, or where a body of knowledge is learned over time.

… the term has acquired a broader interpretation over time, and expressions such as “experience curve”, “improvement curve”, “progress curve”…

Thanks Wikipedia!

My interpretation of this learning curve is that in the early stages, or when one is a beginner at something, there is a steep increase in learning and progress. However, over time that progress reduces and eventually flattens. This flat portion can also be known as a plateau.

Now, what is the timeline in which someone reaches that plateau are we’re talking about here?

In my experience of coaching fitness, the flattening of the curve usually happens within the first 1-3 months. As in, clients can see rapid results for the first 1-3 months and then those results slow down or stop.

Whether this is in increased strength, increased endurance, increased power output, weight loss or reduced body fat percentage, the results slow down rapidly or even stop all together.

Now that the baseline knowledge is out of the way, I want to apply this to my industry: Fitness.

It is my opinion that 90+% of the services and programs that are out there are targeted and marketed directly at this learning and performance curve. They are built within the range of achieving the most success from their customers.

Where do we see this?

  • 30-day challenges
  • 8-week bootcamps
  • P90x – aka 90 day DVD program

Do a search on Intagram for Fitness Inspiration, Workout Motivation or Booty Challenge and you’ll find thousands of accounts with 6 pack abs and peach booty’s with links to their DVD or downloadable programs.

(and no, “peach booty” isn’t a typo)

You’ll also see dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who have had success on that program. However, often those numbers only represent a fraction of the people who actually followed the program. So if you see 100 success stories, it’s likely that thousands of people tried the program. If you see thousands or success stories it’s likely that hundreds of thousands tried the program.

I have no scientific data to prove this, but from my experience observing clients over the past decade, I would bet that at most 10% of the people that do a program get the results you see advertised. That leaves 90% who didn’t even make it that far!

Heck, if you’re still reading this you probably ARE one of those 90%!

My question is always: what data or percentage of success stories would we get if we expanded that out to 4 months, 6 months and 12 months after the program. How many people STILL have the success once the 4, 8 or 12 week program is done?

As I said, the programs are built to fit WITHIN the highest growth rate of the learning curve.

After the program, let’s look at:

How many people have built a habit?

How many people have created a new lifestyle?

How many people actually learned what’s next?

I don’t have exact numbers on these things either, but I’m not sure anyone does. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that no matter the program, 100% of people will experience a flattening of their learning curve at some point in their progress.

100% of people will hit a plateau at some point in their training.

It’s totally unavoidable.

The thing I encourage you to think about from this article is whether or not your program, plan, system and/or training considers and addresses this fate.

Is what you’re doing ready for the inevitable plateau and are there resources available to take you past it?

Or is it designed to end before your plateau and then leave you hanging when you get there?

Deep right?!?

The good thing is that millions of people get 1-3 months of success usually within every calendar year. ( Can you say “new years resolutions” anyone?) Every year people are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing at their health and fitness goals.

The sad thing is that millions of people only get 1-3 month of success usually within ever calendar year.

They then enter a perpetual cycle of programs, challenges and bootcamps with the promise of the quick results we all desire so badly.

If I can leave you with one thought after reading this article it’s this:

The next time you consider and fitness program that lasts less than 90 days, think about your learning curve. I guarantee you that you’ll hit a flat point and plateau. Ask yourself:

How does this program address that inevitable fate and how will it take me past it?

Once you have the answer, you’ll know if it’s really worth your investment.

Thank you for getting this far and reading my article. I love feedback and interaction!

Did you like this article? Did it trigger any questions? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

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Chad