Why “Getting Your Butt Kicked!” is NOT Good
Posted by Michael Vacanti
So, in the past week:
- The membership sales lady at Equinox spent 20 minutes pitching classes that would “kick my butt!”
- My sister got a hernia after two weeks of CrossFit
Lady, did you ever think maybe 1000 reps of bodyweight nonsense isn’t optimal for my goals?
“You gotta try pilates! Pilates will kick your butt!!!”
Let’s put aside the fact that I’m a dude, so the answer is no, and pretend I was open to using these inner thigh activation machines. Why do you assume difficulty is positively correlated with results?
The Logical Flaw: X is hard. So X must be a good workout.
- Bowling is hard. If I bowl three games, my wrist is in pain and my forearm is sore. Does that mean I’m losing fat?
- Yoga is hard. I’m not very flexible, and a lot of those holds destroy my hamstrings. But does that mean I’m getting a broader chest?
- Shooting a rifle is hard. It makes my shoulder sore. Is that going to help me change my physique at all?
Just because something “kicks your butt”, makes you sweat or is physically demanding does not mean it is necessary or optimal for your fitness goals.
3 Reasons Not to “Get your butt kicked”
- Increased chance of injury. It is very difficult to maintain proper form when you are exhausted, particularly for non-advanced trainees. The shoulders roll forward, lower back rounds and your form breaks down all over as you risk being sidelined for weeks, months or longer.
- Reduced adherence to the program. Aka: You’re gonna quit. If you take someone from 0 to 60, do you think they’re going to stick with it very long? Please. Lasting change comes gradually. Adherence and consistency are crucial for success.
- It’s just not fun. Only real sickos enjoy killing themselves in the gym. Pro athletes train anaerobically to perform at a high level. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY for most people to train like this, especially if their goal is physique change or general health improvement.
KEY TAKEWAY: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE IN PAIN, SUCKING WIND AND MISERABLE TO CHANGE YOUR PHYSIQUE. IN FACT, IT IS SUB-OPTIMAL TO DO SO.
I spent years chasing single digit body fat. It involved impossible circuits, deathly HIIIT in 90 degree weather and other “butt-kicking” strategies. But I never got close.
After years of trial and error, I figured out what works.
Eat a caloric deficit. Lift heavy weight 45-60 minutes 3 days per week. Take long (3-4 minute) rests between sets. Perform zero cardio. And never get your “butt kicked” by a workout again.