Be a Fitness Sponge
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt

If you are an athlete or coach that’s been in the health and fitness game for a while, you need to start asking yourself this about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING – be a fitness sponge!! You only get one body in this life, let it do ALL THE THINGS and see what happens! Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into thinking that if you identify as a CrossFitter, no other modality of fitness or exercise expression is worth your time. That’s just silly.

Sometimes we do that because the power of tribe and identity is very strong in human psychology. “Belonging” is important to us – in the past it provided security and higher chances of survival (social and physical). But beware that “belonging” does not become “excluding” – otherwise you might miss out on some good stuff that can amplify your existence!

Would an artist who paints with oils find new inspiration/perspective from drawing with charcoal? Likely.

Would a road biker gain something from spending time on a mountain bike? Absolutely.

Would a yogi benefit from attending a strength class? Totes.

Would a CrossFitter benefit from attending a martial arts class? You see where this is going.

What you can learn from is limited ONLY by your own curiosity and mindset. This principle holds true across modalities > Fitness. Business. Relationships. Science. Life. Open your mind, fitness-jedis, and see that the force is all around you – whether it’s a spin bike, yoga mat, barbell, or a mountain!


Truthfully, I did really enjoy and benefit in many ways from a month of Peloton (I kept 2-3 strength sessions in my weekly training). I increased my aerobic capacity (took a test on day 1 and day 40, improved!). I got a few new coaching cues that I love, and I got INSPIRED AF by 2 coaches in particular. It gave me a lot to consider in my own pursuit of excellence in the craft of coaching.

BUT…the biggest opportunity for growth during my January Peloton challenge arrived due to my own failure. 

I did not complete the entire month, I achieved 30/31 days. I straight up FORGOT to complete a session on January 25th. *homer simpson: DOH!* If you’re a perfectionist like me, you know how aggravating that moment of realization is when you become aware that you’re not going to get the perfect score/outcome/results/winning streak that you wanted. 


Ahhh, perfectionism – what an extremely sharp, double-edged sword. And I have a mean streak of it in me – perhaps you do too? Truthfully, perfectionism has helped me to accomplish much in my life – it gives me a drive and willingness to commit an obscene amount of focus and time to endeavors. But as I age, I can more clearly see the blind spots and handicaps that perfectionism has also placed on me.

Missing a Peloton class so close to the end of my month-long challenge, spotlighted my shitty perfectionist mindset that wouldn’t have been revealed had I NOT missed a day. A part of me wanted to sit and pout in frustration – complain about it to my wife (but she was too busy reading murder mysteries)! 

For an instant in time, an iota of me thought that finishing the remainder of the challenge was rendered pointless. I’m disappointed to admit that, but proud that I didn’t let it become my reality. I’m publicly sharing my internal dialogue because how many of you have ever started something, hit a road bump, and instead of moving on and picking up where you left off, decided to abandon the initiative? It’s easy to fall prey to. Even for coaches.

I see this behavior manifest frequently in client endeavors at the gym:

Client wants to start clean eating, but 2 weeks in eats pizza and beer at a birthday party –
“Oh well! Eff it! I’ll start over again next month!”

Client wants to commit to a 30-day mobility routine, but misses a day –
“Oh well! Eff it! Guess that challenge wasn’t right for me! I’ll never get good at mobility anyway.”

Client wants to commit to training 5x/week but misses some training due to a work trip.
“Oh well, eff it! I’m a failure and my work is too demanding to take the time to workout. I’ll never meet my goals.”

These examples sound silly written out, but I’ve heard similar sentiments from clients since I first became a coach. All the habit-scientists (*cough cough – James Clear) are correct…there is power in methods like: “Don’t break the chain” method and habit-stacking that can aid you in successfully achieving your goals. 

But who the hell is telling us about the power of short term memory? About the fatal flaw of pursuing perfection rather than a resilient commitment to overall consistency?! Instead of, or rather in addition to, trying to make your “habit chain” as long as possible, the real reward (at least for us recovering perfectionists) is to shift focus from the length of the chain to how short we can make the inevitable “gaps” in the chain. The win is when we fail (which we will all inevitably do) how quickly we start again, even though we may feel disappointment.

I think that’s the sign of someone that gets it. Not perfection. Fook perfection. Don’t show me 75 perfect days on the “75 hard challenge” Instead, show me someone that made it to day 45, fucked up, and started again back at 0 on day 46 rather than day 65. That person gets it! 

Minimize the time between failing and beginning again. Yes, we want our habit chains to be long. But we also want the gaps that occur to be short. To only focus on the continuity of the chain itself rather than the skill and mindset needed to begin again quickly seems like a fatal flaw.


So, here I am, celebrating my 30/31 days of Peloton.

*Sound of clapping myself on the back while my wife reads yet another murder mystery. Should I be concerned?*

Imagine what would have happened had I gotten 31/31 days? I might not be writing this tribe letter. I might still be pursuing perfection. Thanks, Peloton. You ain’t so bad, I don’t care what all the haters say about you. I know you didn’t kill Mr. Big.

Are you a perfectionist? Let me know about a time that your perfectionism has helped and hurt you – in the gym, in a relationship, in a pursuit of something you wanted. It would make my day, honestly.

Notify me of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Julia Bierster
Julia Bierster
April 3, 2022 7:50 am

Great post!

Chip Boldin
Chip Boldin
April 1, 2022 3:06 pm

Funny, but so true.

Scroll to Top