Group coaching members gathering around a white board listening to their coach brief the workout.

The Fallacy of the All or Nothing Mentality
Written by Fritz Nugent

Most people don’t know how much administrative work is involved in being a full-time coach. I might coach anywhere from 18 to 22 hours a week, and the rest of my full-time status consists of admin work. One of the main focuses that we work on during admin hours is membership retention. We contact members that have been out of the gym for a while, and check in with them. And it was through one reach-out conversation with a member who was struggling with showing up that I realized this mindset mistake that many are making. 

All Or Nothing Mentality vs Reality

Many people have the mentality that when they walk through the doors of their gym, they need to be ready to give 100%. Either they show up and bring it ALL, or they no-show. All or nothing. Does this sound like you?

An all or nothing mentality can be a problem in almost every area of life. 

Sometimes we just don’t feel great, we’ve had a tough day, a poor night of sleep, didn’t fuel well, or just don’t feel like showing up. These are perfectly normal feelings, and every single person at the gym (coaches and elite athletes included) have had similar experiences. 

Everyone has good days and bad days, high energy and low energy days- that is part of life. But what you do on those days you can’t control is what really matters. 

Just Show Up vs All or Nothing 

This is the part where I encourage you to push through whatever is going on, and just show up. 

  • Even if you didn’t sleep well the night before. 
  • Even if you’re tired. 
  • Even if you didn’t eat well. 
  • Even if you had a tough day at work. 

You must show up at the gym in spite of how you feel. This builds resilience. Self-confidence. Grit. You might say, “But what if I show up and I can’t go 100%, coach? Won’t you chew me out? Throw extra plates on my bar? Ridicule me in front of the rest of the group?” 

The answer is no. I won’t chew you out, or humiliate you. As your coach, I will support you. It’s my job to help you get what you came for.

Get what you came for 

It’s important to understand what this phrase means. If you didn’t sleep well the night before, you might be feeling tired or wired. It’s your job to tell the coach what you’re up against, and it’s the coach’s job to ask questions to help YOU decide how to customize the day’s training to match how you are feeling. Customizing the workout can swing both ways, meaning that you are also allowed to go heavier or choose a more complex gymnastic variation if you wake up one day feeling great and ready to go.

On training days, check in with how you feel and what you need. For most people, three days a week of training is a minimum to keep mental and physical health well balanced. Commit to how many days a week you can sustain, and then…just show up. You just might feel better when you walk out the doors, and life might not feel so heavy.

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