Let me tell you a little secret, a lot of folks think you don’t work hard enough. Behind your back they think you really don’t want it all that bad, that you can’t stay focused enough to make real progress. Their tools are meme’s, images of themselves or clients that had a 4 pack that they helped get a 6 pack. I am not trying to be dismissive of that person’s journey but let’s be real, that’s not the big problem society faces. These people are used as “the example”, their home is Instagram, all of them eat pizza and ice cream all of the time and they eat donuts. That’s right DONUTs, yum!
Beast Mode is the norm, oh, and caffeine, they all love it and can’t get enough. I wonder why that is?
Struggle, struggle is the norm, so much so that “struggle porn” is followed by a bunch of likes and comments that say “I needed this today”.
Let me give you an example of a high level athlete I coached. She was a gymnast when she was young and played division 2 volleyball. Her family owned the gym where she worked out until she was 25. By the time she made the Crossfit games it was a foregone conclusion, she had been working out all of her life. I once asked her, what do you think about all of the people that say you are such an inspiration? And she told me the truth “most of them can’t live my life, I am very lucky”.
Recently the gym where I started put up a banner that said “under new management”, almost immediately I started getting 21 day transformation nonsense. If you ask these gym owners if it actually changes someone in 21 days they will all tell you the same thing “no, it’s just our way of trying to get someone through the door”.
BUT THAT’S LITERALLY NOT WHAT YOU ARE SELLING!!
It’s true, the grind does never stop but everyone’s grind is a bit different. You exercise to get better at exercise because it makes you better as a human being, it’s the full expression (literally) of who you are supposed to be genetically.
But what if you have a job, a newborn, a death in the family, a child with special needs? What if you actually have an excuse (aka reason) to not spend 3 hours a day in the gym? (here is an article I wrote on “what’s your excuse videos”)
The point of all of this is that EVEN if you buy the beast mode crop top, show up at bootcamp and even lose 40 pounds (or 20 or 100, whatever your journey is) nothing about what someone else does is your journey, your struggle. Your struggle is your own but here is the key point, here is the main reason all of this bothers me.
You’ve already made it. I know who my audience is and if you are reading this you probably move or at least understand it’s importance in your life. You also probably eat right for the most part. I once worked with a potential Olympian and we talked about those pizza and donut pictures (she didn’t have any, she also didn’t have a huge following). She never had to cut to make weight but everyone around her did. The minute they left the platform the IG pictures started coming in because within hours they ate themselves sick.
When you are an elite athlete or even a gym killer your capacity allows for a lot of progress quickly because work capacity does that. If you have been working out since you were eight congrats, you have more tools in your toolbox than most. But selling people on eating clean, cheat days, beast mode t-shirts and the grind is getting old. It’s not the real answer, in fact, it’s a distraction and every day I talk to people that wonder why “they aren’t making progress but everyone else is”. The reality is that everyone’s progress is different. When you are working up your capacity to improve your health and you want to eat a bit more flexibly those are great things. The problem is when you define what that progress looks like based on another example that really isn’t relevant to you at all.
Because of Eat To Perform I have this weird information stream with some elite athletes and just regular old folks. I would be lying to you if I said the narrative wasn’t different but shouldn’t it be? I mean if everyone else is just killing it and beast mode non-stop and your child was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes your struggle isn’t similar. One of my acquaintances made a post about the differences between a professional and someone that works out and gave all of the levels of commitment that it takes. I won’t bore you with what he said, all of which was true except this part. A professional derives their primary income from their struggle. There are too many librarians posting on IG thinking that’s their hustle and that hustle will end up being their primary job long term because they are half naked on InstaGram.
Not only is that a joke but it’s also not helping the overall message that we as health professionals should be putting out there. So if you are selling 21 day life fixes, the struggle every day narrative and selling beast mode crop tops to show off the abs that you have been working on since you were 12, just admit it. You want to be liked and you like that people acknowledge your hard work but your hard work is yours and no amount of the protein that you are selling, nutrition programs that you barely follow or YOUR gym workouts is going to change all that much for your followers. What will help is if you were honest and said, I struggle like this daily because I want it to be my job but it’s very frustrating right now because my real job is an accountant. I am on this grind so I can sell you protein so I can quit being an accountant and I think that this struggle will be worth it in the long run FOR ME. You my protein buying public are nameless and faceless to me and as long as those affiliate checks keep coming in I will sell just about anything.
That would be honest.
The real truth is that struggle (like willpower) is finite, if you go the gym for a specific result you are missing the point of why you go to the gym. Also you can and should have pizza and maybe even donuts if that’s your thing because true health is both mental and physical. If you workout 2 hours a day to earn that donut, you might be missing the point. So the ultimate answer is to struggle when you can, stay focused when you can and forgive yourself when you can’t.
And stop following all these fake hustle people and their affiliate codes. It’s fake hustle because you can’t say “the grind never stops”. The grind needs to stop so you can enjoy the reason you started grinding in the first place and it’s that reality that provides you a more complete picture of what health truly is for almost everyone (including most of the grind never stops posse).