BL&T No. 019: Training for Everyday Life

Fitness & Wellness

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.


"Regardless of the exact mechanism, the solution to getting more flexibility or mobility is relatively simple — challenge the body to handle load and perform functional activities at the end range of motion, and it will adapt in multiple ways (e.g. structurally and neurologically) to get better at doing that."

From "Playing with Movement" by Todd Hargrove


I've been thinking about the concept of fitness a lot lately. When you hear the word fitness, you probably have a picture in your head of someone working out or playing a sport. We're going to start there but what I'm interested in is "fitness" beyond physical movement. If we define fitness as "the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task," the task I'm referring to is life.

In the world of physical fitness, there are a few widely accepted actions one must take to become fit and maintain fitness. Simply put, we must:

  1. Practice exercise regularly (at least three times/week)
  2. Eat a healthy diet that supports our goals
  3. Physically challenge our bodies consistently

It will take time, but if we do this, we will experience change. Like most good things in life, becoming fit is not easy. It takes discipline and work.

During the onboarding at my CrossFit (now Community Fitness) gym, the instructor explained functional fitness as "training for everyday life." The idea was that practicing functional movement would give you the strength for everyday activities like carrying your child around at the store, unloading the groceries, helping a friend move, or assembling a piece of furniture. I hadn't ever thought about exercise this way, but truthfully, those four words forever changed my outlook.

From that point forward, my pursuit was no longer for near-term success. Sure, I set mini-goals, but I am motivated by the desire to get better every day and live a long and healthy life. I always tell Dana that I want to be the parent who can physically keep up with their kid, regardless of age. Yes, aging is real. Inevitably, our bodies will grow weaker if we let them. In that way, I believe that the future is what you make it.

Last week was all about the future at Barrel as we held our annual/quarterly leadership planning sessions. To prepare for our sessions, it is a tradition for the partners to read a book or article and answer a few guiding questions. This time, we each completed an activity that, in essence, challenged our current state as an agency. This simple activity proved to be a powerful one, opening the door to new territory. As a partner team, we're focused on getting better every day and building a long-lasting and healthy company. Not too different than my personal fitness journey. Last week's sessions are part of our fitness routine.

I realize now that there's more to "training for everyday life" than exercise. In his autobiography, the late Les Schwab repeatedly notes "life is hard" while he talks through his path to success. Schwab is right. Life is hard and unpredictable. We have to make a conscious effort to build and maintain fitness to stay ahead and overcome any hurdles we may encounter, physically and mentally.

The way I see it, the training is not unlike that of physical fitness. We must:

  1. Practice self-care daily. What is at least one thing we can do each day to be better and take care of ourselves? Meditation, journaling, and reading are all forms of self-care.
  2. Consume a healthy diet of content that supports our goals. Binging “The Bachelorette” on a Sunday is no different than a cheat meal. If it becomes the norm, progress is that much harder. Imagine the person whose cheat meal is every meal. The world is full of content; it is up to us to surround ourselves with the content that supports our ambitions.
  3. Challenge our minds consistently. It is human nature to be attracted to ideas that most closely align with ours, but growth isn't born out of comfort. We can seek out opposing views, learn about topics we don't understand, try things we don't think we’ll enjoy, and ultimately, be open to having our perspective changed.

Lesson? Life is full of ups and downs, no matter our circumstances. The goal should not be to get through it but to be fit for the journey.

Thought Starter

What is one thing I can do tomorrow to be more fit for the journey ahead?

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