Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Social Acceptance of Mediocrity



I have a list of sayings that make my blood curdle, and "hey now, at least they're up and moving" is close to the top of that list. We've all heard it before and probably have said it ourselves, but if you think about it, it's depressing to see how that saying has become a norm nowadays.

We now live in a society where doing the bare minimum required to keep your heart beating is supposed to earn you a pat on the back and a sugar-free cupcake (don't worry, its only 100 calories...guilt free!). Since when did getting off the couch and moving around become an acceptable form of exercise? You may say, "Hey, at least they are moving around", and yes, you're right, that is the least they can do--but the problem is that they shouldn't be stopping there.  Getting off your ass should be the thing you do when you wake up, not the physical highlight of your day.

90% of the time, I hear this saying when discussing those who walk as their main form of exercise. Sorry, but walking 15 minutes is NOT a workout; it's a warmup for your warmup. Just for comparison, Alexander's army marched over 5000 miles from Thessaloniki to the Indus river. That isn't even counting the stops at tourist attractions or the journey home.

How long would this take you at 15 minutes a day?





Seriously, what happened to the grit that people used to have? My grandpa would call those people "the old breed". When he lived in Africa, he would run 9 miles to school and 9 miles home everyday, with no shoes. See if you can get one of your fellow Americans to do something remotely intense for even 9 minutes before crapping out, but not before they congratulate themselves for at least "getting off the couch".

Folks, you shouldn't be fine with doing the least amount of work. Putting in the least amount of effort will get you the least amount of results. It shouldn't be enough to simply walk around, you should be challenging your limits almost daily. I understand if you have a debilitating injury that limits your mobility, but most people don't have debilitating injuries, they are just bloated and lazy.



Directions on walking, in case you forgot.

Walking isn't the only "workout" that is the main form of exercise for many people, another popular one is yoga. While claimed to be an ancient practice, it is anything but. It's 60-90 minutes of stretching and breathing, and that's supposed to be a workout? People claim that yoga makes you skinny. False, I see it as another activity for wealthy white women. It may be great for stretching and finding your inner chai tea, but it is no replacement for actual weightlifting.


My impression of yoga is that it is a practice which teaches you that your body is a vessel of sickness and toxins that must constantly be purged. They also tell you to put your body in very unsafe positions and that tingling, pain, nausea and blacking out means you are doing it correctly (they actually said that blacking out is normal during our yoga class).


Here at Lift Big Eat Big, we don't believe in mediocrity, and if you are a reader then you shouldn't either. Strive to reach your potential in everything you do, especially in your workouts. You will be sitting or laying down for more than 18 hours a day, why not give your training 100% for one hour a day? And when you hear others say "at least they're moving" in regards to a mediocre workout, don't stand for it. Instead, encourage these people to do more. The least work produces the least results and when it comes to your body and your health, you shouldn't strive for mediocrity.


That is all. Go forth, Lift Big and spread the good word.

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for your comments on yoga. I tried a yoga bootcamp once - every morning at 5:00 AM and hurt my back so badly that I had to quit after the first week.

    Did I get a partial refund? Nooooooooo!

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  2. In defense of yoga, I think it can be a good supplement for someone without major mobility issues who works out hard most other days of the week. I don't go all the time, because if I have an hour on weekdays to do something for my health and fitness, I'd rather go to CrossFit or do barbell work at home instead of roll around on a mat... most days. Yoga, though, is incredibly pleasant on rest days when it comes to keeping things moving and supple. (I also don't go to a crazy studio where some slavedriver instructor expects me to perform inverted postures, bend ways I just don't bend, or endure insanely hot temperatures.)

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  3. That's what I am saying: it can be a good supplementation to actual fitness, but shouldn't be a replacement.

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  4. While I'm all for heavy lifting, I think yoga ranks in the same category as other activities like barbell training, bodyweight exercises, running, dancing or whatever when it comes to "actual fitness". All of them have their strong points, but you need a good balance of them for optimal fitness.
    Push a ups are good, but an asana sequence from handstand jumping to a push up position is somehow less demanding? Something like advanced ashtanga yoga is all about mastering your body rather similarly to gymnastics (though with yoga its more about strength endurance rather than power), and is pretty impressive in my eyes.
    Also there are tons of different types of yoga, and a lot depends on the course structure and teacher, just like with most sports. There is a lot of hippy BS surrounding it, but we shouldn't let that detract from its value as a physical practice.
    But as for the points that we agree upon - yes, yoga the way most people do it is not going to produce any proper results, just as a 15 min walk does shit compared to some proper hiking.

    "At least they're doing something" or the equivalent can be so infuriating, especially when I hear it from a friend or a family member. The worst is when it might be said in regards to me, like how my diet or fitness is already good enough compared to most people... why on earth would I want to be just better than most people, when that really is not much of an achievement? Demanding better even from yourself can be tough sometimes, when other people just don't seem to have any determination whatsoever.
    Eh, sorry for the rant.

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  5. You went to the wrong yoga class! I think I'm one of the rare breeds who values both aerobics and strength training, and yoga done properly makes you limber, in control, and relaxed. I've been doing it for 5 years and I've never had a teacher say anything thing like "blacking out is normal." You are supposed to immediately ease out of positions if they hurt. And no yoga I've ever done has anything to do with toxins. Breathing exercises are for mindfulness. That's it.

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  6. I just have to agree that there are types of yoga that are hardcore. I do a lot of strength training and occasionally crossfit. My friend teaches rocket yoga, and whenever I go to his classes I get my butt kicked. I pulled him to a gym one time thinking I would get show him up, turned out he was able to squat 240 with great form, from somebody who has hardly ever done a barbell squat, so pound for pound he was almost where I am. And his shoulders turned out to be just as strong as mine from the millions of handstands he has done.

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  7. Your post was spelled wrong. What you meant to say was this

    "Here at lift big, eat big, we are a bunch of myopic macho dipshits. BEcause if everybody doesn't train exactly the way we think is right, we define them as lameasses. And we wonder why nobody wants to come into the weight room and put up with our bullshit. Because god forbid we be happy that people are doing SOMETHING active. Better to judge them as inferior and wonder why our weight room only contains us and our two dipshit friends."

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    Replies
    1. Spoken like a true professional mall walker. Bravo

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    2. I'd rather it only be me and my two dipshit friends than a hundred of you half-assed morons who can't stand the sight of sweat or the thought of actual work going on in the gym.

      Now get your curling ass out of my squat rack and STFU!

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    3. I can see you typing that statement furiously while saying it outloud to yourself at the same time...then putting on your shape-ups shoes and going for a walk to cool down.

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    4. Sounds like someone got their 4XL panties in a twist and googled "myopic." Did you break a sweat doing all that? At least you're being active!

      LOL @ curling in the squat rack:
      http://femmemuscle.blogspot.com/2012/05/never-do-it.html

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    5. Uh um yeah. You missed what the post was about. Obviously you disagree but the truth is that there are a bunch of lazy Americans out there that actually think that walking 2 miles a day at a pace of 2 miles an hour for 3 days a week is a workout. It is not. I've taken Yoga. I can't say that it's a workout but that's my opinion. NOW that being said. We are not "dipshits" but I am macho for a chick. So, get yourself of the cardio equipment, find a chick or dude in the gym that lifts, ask them for assistance and give it a try. You might just find out you like it.

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  8. As a lifter with medical issues, "At least you're doing something" is the most infuriating thing I ever hear. I have stage 4 cancer and have been on chemotherapy for the last 6 years, working out throughout treatment.

    Although I know lifting has definitely helped my overall health and my ability to cope with the treatments, it seems everybody wants to believe I'm doing it solely for that reason, not to get measurable results, or to look incredibly hot, or to be able to deadlift a goddamn truck.

    People just really seem to hate the idea that a cancer patient's whole life doesn't revolve around being as heartwarming and noble as possible. Hell yes, I'm shallow. I want hot men to think I look good in tight pants. That is why I lift. So when I'm frustrated about my slow progress toward that goal, it drives me CRAZY to hear "At least you're doing something" from people who would never, ever let other lifters get away with mediocrity.

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  9. I got double-takes from coworkers yesterday when I told them my current goal is to deadlift 120kg by August. As I explained to one of them, after he said that my current 80kg deadlift was impressive 'for a woman', most women don't lift heavy because they're wusses. Or scared to try something hard.

    Now my new goal is to match one of my colleagues at that 120kg deadlift, and maybe even outdo him. I'm in the Army, this is a completely normal thing. Also I weigh 60kg and he's only 70kg so I reckon I can do it.

    It pisses me off no end when people can't even make the effort to keep themselves healthy and disability free, when not only are my mates and I putting ourselves in uncomfortable and dangerous situations so they have the safety to do that, and other countries don't yet have basic primary health care and they're clogging our systems with their self-caused health problems. It's the pinnacle of selfishness, in my book.

    Every damn day, the least any person on this planet SHOULD do is make themselves harder, better, faster, stronger, smarter, kinder, or any number of other good things. Improve yourself or improve the world around you, because if you aren't you're a waste of space who doesn't appreciate anything others do for you. Look after yourself so other people don't have to.

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  10. I'm a competitive powerlifting, yoga instructor and mobility coach. First of all, I'd never suggest that blacking out is "ok" during yoga - it isn't. Second of all, I've never held the belief that the body is a vessel of sickness from which toxins must be purged. (Colloquial "toxins" don't really exist.) Third, I always strive to challenge my students but to offer modifications and remind students that we're trying to push ourselves but to betterment, not injury.

    I find there's a good balance to be struck between strength and flexibility training. That being said, it's up to the individual to find what works best for them.

    I'm constantly seeking to improve and I work hard at it - personally, professionally and in training.

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  11. One of your best posts ever - loved the reference to Alexander the Great's army. Those "tourist spots" were also known as battles which changed the world at the time.

    Put this into perspective versus modern couch potatoes: Alexander's troops served well into their 60's and even 80's. That means daily marching, drilling, and fighting in full armor.

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