Either/Or

Sometimes when I sit at a workshop or seminar, a side discussion pops open. It’s interesting because the conversations seem to spring from some natural spring and refresh all of us. So, we were sitting around Sean Greeley’s NPE MegaTraining and somebody began discussing something quite simple.

Of course, within about twenty minutes, we progressed all the way from Good and Evil, Male and Female, and a number of Theological topics. At the same time, we began a concomitant concerning (shocking!) training. And, as usual, someone had to ask: “Is Training Style X good or bad?”

There we go, the “either/or” question. I have been lucky here: I bounded out of “either/or” thinking a long time ago. Oh, I had it…in fact, I had a full case of it. There was a time when I thought if I went to a party, kissed a girl or went on a date would, by definition, destroy my ability to compete for years to come.

For those who know me, you might have figured out that I have been cured of this.

It is an epidemic in strength and fitness. Either you squat or you are ….fill in the blank. If you don’t do this, your program is awful. My way or the highway.

It’s bad theology and it’s a bad way to think of training. Now, there are times where “either/or” thinking is fine, but as I type this, I can’t think of many. Sure, as I have told many of my athletes: “This Friday was the State Meet for you; was it worth hurting your ankle and missing it as a Senior to do X?” In college, we had one of the top rated collegiate high jumpers miss the National Championships because he hurt his ankle in a church league basketball game. Now, he could lose his scholarship for doing this…so he lied to Coach about it and said he twisted it stepping off a curb. (For those who missed the connection: “Church League” “Lied to Coach.” Just helping here.) And, you just don’t get this chances back you know. Time tends to move forward.

So, yes, there are times where “either/or” works. At weddings and funerals, don’t do anything too stupid. People don’t forget that kind of thing. But, in training, there are times when every stupid idea has a place in the binder (I don’t keep women in them) of a training career. I always tell my people that any dumb thing they read on the web or hear in the gym is fine to try; in fact, I applaud it. Who knows? It might be right!

Just don’t make a career of it!

For a bit more clarity, read my new article on T-nation.

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