Baseball season is in full swing. I watched a little bit of a game last night and it reminded me of my glory days. I was a good high school baseball player. I played center field and was lead off batter all four years on varsity.
My job as a lead off batter was to get on base. I was fast, had a good eye for balls and strikes, made good contact with the ball and rarely struck out. In the baseball world I was known as a “Punch and Judy.” A slap hitter. A person that hits a lot of singles and doubles, but not many home runs. I only hit two home runs in my entire life during an official game. One during a little league All-Star game (game-winning home run, thank you very much) and one against a neighboring rival in high school. You remember these things when there are so few.
Become a Punch and Judy
We all love the home run. In fitness the home run would be a new personal record in a lift, your fastest time in a run, or dropping a dress size. Home runs are great, but you can’t always swing for the fences.
Long-term fitness is mostly about hitting singles. When you are putting good wood on the ball and hitting a lot of singles, the home runs will come. Good wood refers to making solid contact on the ball with the sweet part of the bat.
- Getting to the gym 3-4 times a week is hitting a single.
- Drinking a recovery shake after your training sessions is a single.
- Eating until you’re 80% full is a single.
- If you are a runner you have to log the miles. Just because a half marathon is 13.1 miles doesn’t mean you always run that distance. A single would be getting out and crushing those 3 mile runs, paying attention to your gait and journaling what pre-run meal provided sustainable energy.
- Eating a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass daily is hitting a single.
- Working on a weakness is a single.
- Mastering the squat and deadlift technique are singles.
- Doing a movement through its full range of motion is a single.
- Taking a day off to fully rest and recover is a single. (Actually let’s make this a double. The recovery is just as important as the work. Don’t forget this!)
Your fitness home run is your ultimate reward. Your home run is a byproduct of hard work and repetitions. Day in and day out you have to hit the singles. You have to focus on every minor detail. Nothing is too small.
Make a list of “singles” that you need to hit daily to get you closer to your goal. Also make a list of things that you need to avoid to keep you from slipping further away from your goal. We can only move in two directions. We always want to be taking more steps forward than backwards. It’s called progress.
Guess where you do not make any progress? When you are riding the pine. Riding the pine refers to someone sitting on the bench (benches in baseball used to be made of wood) not getting any playing time.
It’s time to get off the bench.