At Team Warrior Within, we get upwards of a dozen requests per week for online coaching and in-person training. Yes, we’re growing every week. And with that growth comes a slew of interesting phenomena. One of my favorite of which is the dreamer supreme, the Jack of All Trades.
When going over client inquiries, the first thing I always look at is the potential client’s goals. In a perfect world, you get something concise and logical, like “I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy, would like to drop the excess fluff, trim the butter, tighten up, and look great at the beach by next spring”. Said goal is specific (she knows exactly what she wants), measurable (easy to measure body fat loss), achievable (fairly easy to lose body fat, when it’s your sole focus), results-focused (no brainer here—pull up your shirt and look in the mirror; it’s working or it ain’t), and time-bound (she wants to look great by next spring). You know, a S.M.A.R.T. goal. SMART goals are easy to work with, and typically achieved, if the programming is done properly.
And then…. there are the others…
I had a client once tell me, “I want to be able to dunk a basketball, do the splits, do 20 pullups, and have abs that a girl can run her finger between”. So let’s see—we have explosiveness/agility (dunking the ball), doing the splits (flexibility), 20 pullups (strength/performance), and abs (body composition change). Sure, let me grab my magic wand and get right on it!
It’s good to be ambitious and set the bar high. It’s also good to not have your head rammed so far up your ass that you forget there is this thing called “science” and these pesky little nuisances called “facts”, that are going to slap you in the face when you randomly jumble together disconnected goals.
And then, there’s our beloved Crossfit, which everybody loves to hate. I wouldn’t say I “hate” Crossfit. I think it just misleads people into buying all kinds of bullshit pipedreams (which can be said about virtually every fad in the fitness industry, as we’ve covered before). On the front page of their very own website—“Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing” (www.CrossFit.com). And I may be imagining this, but I swear I saw a quote back in the day from the same page, “Specialization is antithetical to human progress”.
Yup. Tell that to the guy who spent his entire life devoted to discovering fire, or the wheel, or the lightbulb, while the other Neanderthals were living “well-balanced lives”. Surely, running through fields and chasing prey all day long was totally thetical to human progress, when contrasted with inventing the wheel.
The problem with CrossFit—not what it actually promises (explicitly) to people, but the message it conveys—is that you can have it all. You can be jacked, ripped, fast, agile, flexible, and amazing at all of it. And while there are a handful of awesomely-driven athletic individual on this planet who may have the gusto to pursue all of those avenues—usually those participating in the CrossFit Games—they tend to be the exceptions. Meaning: when Jane Housewife calls me up because she has a gut hanging over her belt, and her husband hasn’t touched her in six months, I am not going to suppose her lack of agility is what’s causing the problem.
The CrossFit “I Can Have It All” mentality recently led to an inquiry from an online client who was hoping to do the following, all at once:
- participate regularly in CrossFit classes
- pursue Olympic lifting
- follow a zero-carb “Paleo” diet, consisting of “random snacking” throughout the day
- prep for a physique competition
For anybody who has ever prepped successfully for a physique competition, you know that it pretty much takes your entire focus on a daily basis, just to be able to get through life and function. The combo of the training and the restrictive diet make it almost impossible to add in anything else demanding. But no, let’s go ahead and scrap the concept of a precise and calculated diet, while throwing another five pounds of random and unproductive training parameters on top of the pile.
There’s an old saying in this world: Jack of all trades, king of none. I have my own way of saying the same thing: You can be kinda’ good at everything, and really good at nothing.
Or, perhaps an even more eloquent way of saying the same thing: do the fucking math, people. Figure out what you want. Figure out what it costs. And get it. You can’t have it all in this world. But you can have quite a bit—if you define exactly what you’re after.
-David A. Johnston
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.