In Part 1, we talked about how … easy... it is to confuse SIMPLE and EASY. But (and you knew this was coming) it’s not JUST about keeping things simple.
Simple without a healthy dose of self-awareness can often turn into coasting toward comfort, yet getting frustrated that you’re not getting the “results” you’ve been seeking.
That's where the second principle of “keep it simple, but not easy” comes in.
#2: CHALLENGE YOURSELF as often as possible.
“...but NOT easy” means finding an opportunity for a challenge, for personal growth, for improvement, for intensity.
A well-known “secret” among the best coaches or fitness programmers in the world is this: a workout program that is simple to understand and execute provides the best environment for intensity. (Remember: intensity = energy or effort.)
If you are someone who has been training with Street Parking-style workouts for any significant amount of time, you know the trap: “this workout doesn’t look bad” means you are in for it. The most simple-looking workouts can provide a punch of intensity that you never saw coming.
Workouts with between 1-4 full body movements that are intended to take 10-20 minutes and where you are instructed to move quickly or lift heavy (or a little bit of both) are the foundation of our daily program because these workouts allow you to push yourself and deliver the greatest results in the shortest amount of time.
But, this is NOT a rally cry to challenge yourself by tackling every workout with 100% intensity, going all out every time. No, each workout you do provides many UNIQUE opportunities to grow that aren't always about going faster.
Challenging yourself with your fitness can (and will) look different on different days:
- Does the workout have movements you’re comfortable with? Give it a full send/don’t hold back effort.
- Stressed, in a rush, or on vacation? Choose to still show up even with a slightly lighter than normal pair of dumbbells or a quick bodyweight workout.
- Low energy? Getting little sleep? Showing up feels impossible? Walk for 10 minutes, as slowly as needed. Committing to doing #morethannothing is in line with “Simple, Not Easy” and you’re choosing consistency.
- Have a hard time slowing down or “missing” a workout? There can be GROWTH in slowing down, so it might mean TAKING A REST DAY or doing yoga or an SP Maintenance session in place of a workout.
The “simple but not easy” way is in your MINDSET — to push yourself in some way that gets you uncomfortable and challenges you to grow physically, emotionally, mentally.
Of course in life there will be challenges that will be out of your control. Injuries, illnesses, or seasons where you need to focus on recovery will happen. Life will get lifey — but when you choose the simple but not easy mindset, you'll be better equipped to handle what comes your way.
Putting yourself in an uncomfortable position ON PURPOSE with the goal of mental and physical growth will reap benefits beyond becoming a better athlete. It's the best way to get the dare-we-say guaranteed improvements in ALL areas of your life.
What else does SIMPLE, NOT EASY look like?
- Getting up at 5 am to work out. Especially when it’s dark and cold and you’re by yourself.
- Giving yourself 10 minutes to make breakfast a priority during busy mornings.
- Working out 5 days per week. And keeping that habit during vacations, when kids are sick, or during tax season as an accountant.
- Not purchasing sugary foods to keep at home when you have a hard-to-control sweet tooth.
- Brewing a nightly cup of herbal tea instead of having wine as you aim to cut back alcohol.
- Spending an hour of your weekend to meal prep lunches when all you want to do is nothing.
- Finding an accountability partner and sharing honestly about your goals and habits.
- Tuning out negative self talk.
- Taking a walk to unwind instead of scrolling through social media.
- Reminding yourself that healthy meals don’t have to be elaborate to be delicious and satisfying.
- Breaking the all or nothing mentality — moving on from getting off track and not throwing the whole day away after a slip up or change of plans.
Choose small, simple doses of discomfort consistently, and the results will follow. Will it get “easier”? Yes, and once what you are doing feels “easy” — once you have mastered SIMPLE — choose the next hard thing.
OUR CHALLENGE TO YOU:
Keep it Simple, Not Easy.
Pursue CONSISTENCY as your foundation. A commitment to that alone will set you on a path that most will never go down.
Then, push and CHALLENGE YOURSELF to grow — in your mindset, in your confidence, in your fitness, in your resilience. Do this by asking yourself regularly: “Have I chosen something SIMPLE - an element of this workout, or in my nutrition, or in my mindset — to challenge myself, to get out of my comfort zone and grow?”
And it never needs to be more complicated than that.