We all recognize the different forms of the “All or Nothing” Myth. We use convenient binary categorization on several areas of our lives, such as beast mode workout or no workout at all and diet or cheat meal. The truth is this “All or Nothing” mindset needs to be eradicated immediately. Can an all or nothing mindset apply and be beneficial in some cases? Possibly. However, in the context of fitness and performance, there’s no room for such limited thinking.

Take a moment and think about what “all or nothing” means.

It limits actions to two choices: do or don’t do, and in fitness, this often translate to good and bad. If you worked out, you are good. If you didn’t drink the green juice, you are bad. However, performance is more complex and meaningful than the black and white an all or nothing mindset perceives it to be. Performance lives shades of grey and even can change colors based on your goals and the trainer guiding you. Individuals have different performance needs. An experienced performance coach is trained to interpret those needs and provide realistic training program. For example, this is like a symphony composer who quiets the percussion section to complement the violins. In performance training, there are several components that are required work together in harmony to achieve your goals. None of this can be produced with the all or nothing mindset. Further, this is why a personalized program can yield such great results.

Another problem with this mindset is that we’re teaching people to have a negative association with exercise. Instead of a tool to assist in optimizing your health, lifestyle, and movement, exercise becomes a punishment. There is the false belief that an effective training session will leave you unable to walk due to the extreme soreness. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your body, specifically your brain comprehends that an external stress through exercise, so it’s attempts to adapt to that stress. However, too much stress applied too quickly can result in injury. This pain and injury can quickly develop into a negative association with exercise.

Lastly, if you want to see results from your training, you shouldn’t do as much as possible. You should do as much as necessary. As a great movement practitioner, Gray Cook, says, “more is not better, better is better.” Nothing can replace movement quality, not more weight or more intensity. Furthermore, when it comes to your training, aim to optimize not diminish by evolving past the all or nothing mindset.