How defined do you want to be?

Hey Gang,

I’ve had a lot of inspirational quote pictures popping up on my Facebook this week. I don’t know why, there just seems to be a glut of them recently and it got me thinking. You know the ones:

I am not here to pull down these quotes or in any way take away from the message that they are sending, because mostly they have good things to say that are worth reading. I do take exception to the phrase “that’s life”, or “that’s what life is all about” or anything in a similar vein. I think I’ve even begun to develop a superiority complex about it. I get guilty and feel like damn, these guys have it all figured out and are sprinkling their wisdom on the lesser folk like me so we can all figure it out too, why haven’t I figured it out? Why aren’t I rich and famous yet?. Then I think that’s dumb, they’re just throwing their 2 cents out there for everyone to see.

I think we have an over reliance on definition right now, and having definition for everything isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Having definition in your muscles is great. Defining your goals is imperative. Defining life isn’t.

If you have a look around the globe, the amount of people who are in constant danger and oppression because people have defined what is right and what is wrong and are very black and white about it. Israel is wrong! Palestine is Right! Palestine is wrong! Israel is right! I think any outside party would acknowledge at this point there is enough blood on everyone’s hands over there that the best thing would be if someone had one of those Men in Black flashy things so they could forget the generations of evolved distrust and in some cases hatred for each other and start fresh with open minds. This is an extreme example and doesn’t have much bearing on how many squats you should do later, but it does serve as a pretty wild case of how becoming so locked in on a certain definition of life can have disastrous results.

The same is true for your lifestyle and fitness. Crossfit forever! Paleo or go home! Cardio is for chicks! This is the only protein powder that works! No carbs after 12pm! You’ve heard cries from all corners that their way is the only true way to train or get results. Let me tell you what none of these diehard evangelists will: No one knows it all.

There is always something more to learn. There is always a new experience to shape the knowledge we have already. This is true for fitness professionals as well as those at any stage of their own personal journey. I’ve written before how I don’t know it all. I know a lot about how to get you results, but I learn more every single day. A lot of you remark how the sessions are good because they are never stale. Part of that is a personal mission to keep things interesting and another part of that is because I am constantly evolving my craft to deliver the best workouts and advice I can to you all. That’s just the way I am. I seek more knowledge. I hate making an uninformed decision and I work better if I know why I am doing something. I often get accused of being gullible because I tend to believe most things people tell me. I think it’s more I tend to understand that there’s an element of truth to most of the stuff out there. I take some and leave some but I try hard not to write anything off before I give it a chance.

I’m not telling you to poo poo anyone that says they have the answer. By the way I hate that saying but there doesn’t seem to be another one that fits where that does. If anyone knows one, please let me know. I just think it’s important to understand that no one has the full answer as it relates to you. That is something you have to find for yourself. You won’t turn it up one day by Googling the right combination of “lose weight”, “tone”, “instantly” and “no effort”. As the sage writers of the X-Files put it: “The truth is out there.” However they spent nine seasons dedicated to finding it and didn’t really, they kind of left it open.

So next time someone tells you “that’s life”, or that they have the answer, draw your own conclusions, don’t simply take a risk because some inspirational poster told you to. I strongly feel that some things do not need a definition. Not much that I’ve come across is purely black and white. Taking someone else’s definition, which may be very black and white, and using that to justify taking a risk may backfire terribly. I think most people that tried it, regret their time with Amway. I know my parents do, but they went along with it because someone told them to. Understand why it’s a good idea to take some risks and do it if it makes sense for you. Feel confident in the decisions you make because at the end of the day, the number one person you have to answer to is yourself. Do something because you decide it’s the right thing to do, not because you were told to.

Just don’t do Crossfit.

Or do, if you want to.

-Dan