We all know that foundations are important. If you build on a crappy one, you can’t rely on the end structure. We know this is true for houses, cars, businesses, education and in many other facets of life including fitness. Personally I have an issue with always jumping ahead. I think “I get it. I have it. I know this” and then later I inevitably look back and tell my younger self “You didn’t get it”.
In fitness the pyramid is structured like so:
Conceptually it makes sense to shore up the bottom level first and then move on to the next. Build from the ground up. When you’re building a house it’s a concept that proves itself. You can’t work on perfecting the roof first if it’s not there. But with fitness (and with life) it’s more complicated because things need to happen together. There’s a ‘trial by fire’ feel to it all. You’re asked to pick up a barbell on your first day in the gym! Wait…isn’t weightlifting close to the top??
Often times a focus on a ‘lower level’ task actually solves two or three more ‘upper level’ tasks at the same time. In part this is why people join gyms. Making exercise a routine part of the day is likely to improve quality of meals. A focus on eating less sweets is accompanied by feeling less sick and more conditioned in workouts. It’s accompanied by less inflammation in joints which is accompanied by better muscle control and engagement in gymnastics and weightlifting. Coincidence? I think not.
There’s no shame in moving back down to the foundation. Maybe you were dialed in on one level a few months ago, but lately not so much. It’s not a backward step if you go work on the foundation again. Often times when you revisit the foundation it deepens your understanding of yourself and you find new contexts and subtleties that you didn’t notice before. You find yourself becoming the expert on your own foundations. You find yourself able to recognize problems easier, fix them faster, and approach the overall process with more efficiency and less worry.
So to my younger self who tried to pole vault off a back porch and ended up with a concussion, you didn’t get it. But you were learning (and still are) so I respect you.
Here’s to all of us who are becoming the experts on our own foundations.