Got Gym Goats? (Welcome to the Club!) by Lisbeth Darsh

Got Gym Goats? (Welcome to the Club!) by Lisbeth Darsh

Can we talk about goats? 

I don’t mean goats like these:

No hooves, no cute little noises, no barn. I’m talking about the other definition of goats, the one we use in the fitness world.

Goat: (n)

  1. Something at which you suck
  2. A movement at which you need to improve
  3. A great opportunity to practice humility
  4. Those damn things that keep me at the gym and haunt my dreams! Argghhhh! Omg, I hate my freaking goats! They’re making me crazy!

Whoops. Sorry. I guess goats are a trigger word for me.

But that’s the kind of goat I’m talking about here. The stuff that you see listed on the Workout of the Day and suddenly you remember you have a late/early meeting or a dentist appointment or need to take your elderly mother shopping or have to supervise your children on a very important school project.

You want to avoid your goats (and sometimes you do), but you also work your goats because you know that if you do, you will become a better athlete and your friends won’t kid you as much. (Kid, haha! Get it? Okay, I’ll stop now.)

As much fun as it is to work on our strengths (did somebody mention deadlifts?), if you want to be fit and not a one-trick pony, then you need to work on your goats. (I’m going to use all the animal metaphors. Ducks, stand by: you’re up next.)

The good news? Everybody has goats. Everybody. 

Some popular goats:

  • Double-unders
  • Overhead squat
  • Push Jerk
  • Snatch
  • Pull-ups
  • Muscle-ups
  • Rowing
  • Running
  • Cooking

Okay, maybe that last one is my goat in the house, but you get my point here. Goats are common, so don’t be ashamed that you have goats. I have so many goats that it’s like a herd covering my gym lawn and making funny noises. (Have you listened to this goat’s noises? You need to. Just stop and do it, then come back.) I have so many goats that I’m more like a shepherd at this point—a shepherd in yoga pants and bright sneakers, but still a shepherd.

Will I ever conquer all my goats? I doubt it. But that’s not the point of having goats.

The point of having goats is to work on what you’re not good at. The point is to improve that at which you suck. (English majors: see what I did there?) The point is to expand and broaden not only your fitness and your health but your mindset as well. Because once you start facing your weaknesses and improving them in the gym, then you’ll start doing that in the rest of your life as well. That’s just how this sort of thing works, if you’re smart. You can go from being a horrendous athlete to being a mediocre one! (Oh sorry, I was talking to myself again.) But there is hope for everyone, from the best athletes to the not-so-great athletes. We are all students in the training game.

So, the next time you find yourself a bit down about a skill, and saying, “I so suck at this!” remember these three things:

  1. It’s just a goat
  2. You can improve
  3. You’re not the only one with a herd

No matter what you’re facing in training today, relax. (Read “You Don’t Suck as Much as You Think You Do.”) Everyone is facing something that they’re not good at or that they would rather avoid. But the best people are taking a run at those goats, trying like heck to improve, but not making themselves nuts in the process. So, get moving. You got this! Go run with the goats!