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Do Less To Get More

The journal topic for our Lifestyle and Nutrition Challenge today is as follows:

“What can I say No to, so that I can say Yes to something more important?”

This is “Essentialism”. For anyone who has read the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKowen, this is the entire point of the book. What is the highest priority thing for you to do? What can you give up to do that thing more & better.

Essentialism has been a topic of discussion around the world lately as business’s and employees are deemed essential or non essential and thereby are forced to close doors, lay off employees, and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s job or business is “Essential” in times likes these. The government has to choose what things are most important to us. While there is argument to be had as to what should remain open, the point is that the government said no to business’s opening to do something more important – keep you safe.

Essentialism as a practice can be used in all parts of your life. From career to home to fitness and to the relationship between all of those things, choosing what is essential and what is not can help you make a larger contribution to what really matters.

In the gym we often talk about how sometimes less is more. If you’re doing too much volume, often you wont recover enough to reap the benefits of all the exercise you did. Sometimes working on skills like muscle ups, olympic lifts, toes to bar, etc. is NOT what’s essential. What is essential for you will depend on your goals, then reasons you workout, and what we call the “Athletes hierarchy of needs”.

At the base of the pyramid is Flexibility. Flexibility is your ability to move through a range of motion passively. For example, bending over a touching your toes. 

One step up is Mobility, which is how much of that range of motion can you actually control. This requires strength at the end range of motion. These two combined will motor control will determine how well you can perform movements in the gym. If you are missing range of motion, this is your most essential thing to work on in the gym. Without mobility and flexibility, you’re ceiling for potential is very low. The wider the base, the higher we can build the pyramid. 

Next up is Strength Balance. How strong are you in opposing movement patterns, left to right, up and down? There should be a balance on either side of a joint in order for it to function properly, optimizing performance and staying away from pain. If you have cleared the mobility and flexibility screen, and lack balance here, this is essential to you. 

Next is Work : Rest. Can you recover from the amount of work you are doing from the gym? If not, you’re wasting your time. You don’t get stronger or fitter from exercise. You get stronger and fitter by recovering from exercise. Often, Less is more. There should be a reason behind each and every thing exercise you do. If there is not, cut it out!  (We’ve got you covered on this one!). 

Last but not least, we have Skills. Gymnastics, olympics lift, etc. These are FUN! They give us something to look forward to and progress. They make exercise enjoyable for a lot of you, but they are likely NOT essential. If you have issues with any of the things below Skills, try spending more of your time working on those and say NO to things that might be more fun, but take away from your priorities. It’s going to make the skills you try later much easier to learn and more fun to do!

My challenge for all of you is the figure out “What is Essential” for you in the gym. Take your goals, the reason you workout, and the athletes hierarchy of needs into account!

If you’ve been through our mobility/flexibility and strength balance screen, you probably know the answer! 

If you’d like to go through our FREE assessment, email andrew@yankeecrossfit.com (this can be done remotely!)

-Coach Andrew