From a Fit Pro: The Problem with Extremism


We've all heard the horror stories about someone getting rhabdo from exercising too much, passing out because they are doing a water and cayenne pepper detox vitamin packet cleanse, and our endless search for the ONE quick fix supplement to cure our insatiable need to make immediate progress.

Humans will do whatever it takes to skip over the fundamentals in order to (hopefully) get where they want to go. But, too many of us learn the hard way.

Some of us will repeatedly have our self confidence crushed, we will feel enormous self guilt, and a reluctance to start over, again. This merry go round process is the psychologically equivalent to getting run over by a garbage truck. It hurts and it smells bad, so we have a hard time getting back to it.

This is the problem with extremism approaches. It’s all or nothing. Win or lose. Most times we quit before we even have the chance to see which one.

I can, in many cases at the very least, applaud the effort because let’s face it: hopefully we’ve learned something.

Here are some things that I have learned that I know “work”:

Hard Work and Effort - Nothing is given in this day in age. Period. It must be earned by you and you alone.

 Huh? Seems a bit... optimistic.

Huh? Seems a bit... optimistic.

Discipline and Deliberate Practice - When you get better at something (ex. fitness, weights, nutritional choices, running) it builds confidence, meaning, self esteem, and pride. In this case, you are getting better at managing your own health.

Positivity and optimism - And before you say it, I’m not talking about being blindly positive and never taking ownership of your own mistakes. I’m talking about finding the good and focusing your energy on that. If we focus on negativity we will become it.

Mastery and task oriented goals - This of course, is in contrast to outcome related goals. People respond better to focusing on the one thing in front of them vs. the daunting task of losing all that weight. Just do what you need to do, today, in the next hour, or right in this moment.

Eating real food - Just remember that whole food choices are better processed and more absorbed than supplemental and synthetic ones. So, when you are weighing up which MLM cleanse to do that exclusively uses supplements as the food source, maybe take a peek at something else. Again, supplements are by definition “something that completes or enhances when added to it.” Thank you Yahoo search engine for clearing that up.

Simplicity - We are busy these days. Make things simple. If boring works for you, then do it. Make those decisions easy and they will be easy to make consistently. Over time the results will follow.

Those, are what I’ve got, but here’s another one.

On Target Fitness is running two great programs this Fall. They are Fit in 42 and the Fall Back to Fitness. We do what works.

Fit in 42 is a 6 week complete immersion into fitness and nutrition. It is highly educational and designed to immediately impact the way you think, feel, and treat yo’self.

Fall Back to Fitness is another 6 week program that is designed to give you an idea to see what it’s like in our gym. To see if in fact, this fitness community is right for you and whether those health and fitness goals (that keep coming up over dinner) can be achieved here.

With either program, we think they can. We KNOW they can. Give us a shout by filling out the application for below. Please only fill out the link IF you are ready to overhaul your approach to fitness.



PS: Thanks for reading. It's been a while since I've put something together, but please let me know if I can help you achieve your own fitness goals. 



My girlfriend started lifting and now she flexes around the house.

Note: (Now fiancée - and here is photo evidence so you know I’m not making it up.)


It’s true.

When Meg and I first started dating, I was this scrawny kid who liked to lift weights and teach people how to do it. I’m still scrawny, but a little better at the coaching thing. Obviously, I encouraged her to start getting after it, not at all in a “Hey, you need to lose some weight” kind of way. She had an interest and I told her I could help her. That’s how you get yourself in trouble.

So one day we went to the gym and I showed her some cool things; Goblet Squats, Trap Bar Deadlifts, Push Ups (Big fan of those, she is), TRX Rows; nothing fancy. You can be really good at basic movements and still get awesome results. But, that was a few years ago. She never really picked it up. It was always inconsistent and I don’t really think she liked it. Most of the time if she did go to the gym on her own she would just run in preparation for a road race or one of our Ragnar Relays. Lifting weights was just kind of my thing for a while. She needed something a little bit more.

Flash forward to today where I have a new…ish position as the Head Strength Coach at On Target Fitness in Portsmouth, she trains regularly, more than she ever has before. Even with a really demanding travel schedule. So what changed?

For starters, she needed the social aspect of training. She is very much a people person, and is enough of an extrovert for the both of us. In the past, Meg would typically go to the gym by herself, do some exercises, get bored, and then leave. Not really ever enjoying it or having a sense of direction. We forget sometimes that your environment can shape your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This is vital for having a sense of purpose and sense of belonging, two things key to fulfilling basic human needs. We are super lucky in that our members freaking rock, work hard, and support each other in the process.

So, it’s not enough to say “Go to the gym” – it’s more about finding the right gym… for you. As reluctant as I am to say it, I had gotten that part wrong. I always preached consistency, but that’s impossible if you don’t actually enjoy your routine or have any idea of what to do.

Secondly, she needed a consistent program to follow. At On Target, we program our Team Training schedule collaboratively, so it’s similar every time you come in, but variable enough to keep you engaged.

Third, she needed a coach that wasn’t me. I can do a lot of great things as a coach to put her in the right position for success, but there are blurred lines. I’m already biased, and sometimes too much honesty isn’t what your girlfriend of 4+ years needs to hear after a long day. Our other coaches call it like they see it and keep people accountable, and they are way cooler than me too.


Meg has been training at On Target for less than 12 months, probably 2-4 times per week. Nothing crazy, maybe she’ll squeeze in a run or crush a mountain bike ride with me here and there. But, in that span of time, here’s what I have noticed:

More Confidence, Less overall stress at work, Better Sleep, More dedication to consistency, Repeated Flexing, She has fun!, Asks me to “feel my bicep”, Tells me to “check out my triceps”, Better choices with nutrition, She has muscles that she’s proud of, More energy and less lethargy, Stronger – She even knocked out a legit push up the other day!, More control of her emotions (sometimes), She feels more in sync with her body, Asks me “why I got her addicted to exercise”, Increase in overall positivity and optimism, Owns her mistakes, Increased ability to eat pizza, and…

More drive to pursue her ambitions and fitness goals.

My point is really simple. Meg didn’t really have a passion for fitness when she started, but she knows what it does for her and how it makes her feel. There are so many other things to consider when thinking about training.

We can’t let the external noise shape our perceptions about how you should look and what you should do. If you need help figuring out how to get there, talk to us so we can help you get started. Sometimes you need a family behind you to keep you motivated, engaged, and in the fight. That’s exactly what happened with Meg, and now I can’t get her to stop flexing around the house.

'Til next time,