One Trick Ponies

Before I decided to know what I was doing in the gym and in the kitchen, I still liked to work out.

And from what I see out there, a lot of other people like to work out too without really knowing what they’re doing.  And in doing so, they seem to enter a sort of pattern in which they do the same thing they like to do.  And what some people like to do is arms and/or benching…leading to the fabled internet meme of:

Like an outboard motor on a canoe.
Like an outboard motor on a canoe.

Yes, this can happen to you.  I was lucky. I ran and benched, so my legs stayed rather fit looking.

But here’s what happened.  I decided to put up “3-plates”.  That means I wanted to bench the bar with three 45 pound plates on each side.  I was already comfortably benching 2 plates at a decent pace. And so I increased my RM1 (max reps at a certain weight, only being able to to that weight 1 time).  I got up and up and was hitting 305 on my bench press so close to my goals.


But I had a realization.  I may be getting stronger, but I wasn’t really in shape.

I thought to myself, if I am this strong, then surely I can crank out some pushups.   And so, I started to crank and I hit the wall at 25.  Now, earlier in my life I was at a point where I could do 80-100 pushups in a first set.  So, this was unacceptable.  And what was going on?  Was I not strong?  Did I not lift much weights?

Well, it turns out that that that number alone was not enough.  I had ignored other aspects of fitness.

For every person out there preaching strength, or size, they need to realize that there’s also power and endurance.  I gave up that quest to hit 3 plates and instead started down the path of the 5 stage human machine, recognizing that strength is merely the first step.  Once you have it, it stays with you for a long time…and during that time you can work on the next steps.

So, with my squat, comes sprints and running.  With my bench goes push ups for endurance and power.

The point being. Don’t become a one trick pony.  Right before I had my realization, I met a guy who could bench 315 all day long.  Very impressive until your realize he wasn’t fit.  He could lift that weight easily enough but I doubt he could squat or run or do anything else.  And in the real world, that sort of specialization is worthless.



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