What purpose does it serve?

More is not necessarily better. Variety is not necessarily better. Extra is not necessarily better. Unless you can answer the question: what purpose does it serve? This single question can prevent a lot of wasted time and resources. More often than not being able to answer this question with a definite answer will help you narrow down your course of action.

When I brewed beer, apart from cleanliness is king, the concept that has stuck with me, and helped improve my brewing was to always ask myself; what does this ingredient do? Adding ingredients without any rhyme or reason results in a beer that tastes muddled and undefined. Some of the best beers that I made, were those that had a very simple recipe. This did not mean that the recipe didn’t have many ingredients. It was simple, because each ingredient and each process had a reason for being there. This hop was to create a citrus aroma, this malt was to retain the foam, the other malt was to add a specific color to the beer. Each and every ingredient was there because I had a specific end result in mind and only added things which would contribute to that result.

Do you find yourself adding more and more equipment to your garage gym setup, soon finding yourself asking why this 100lb heavy bag & stand is taking up so much room? The next time you consider adding a new piece of equipment to your garage gym setup, first ask, what purpose does it serve? This should act as a preliminary filter for not adding too much unnecessary equipment, reducing the clutter in the gym, and not to mention the opportunity costs inherent in buying something you don’t need. This has happened several times to me, I have a few pieces of equipment that get used maybe once a year: 55lb & 15lb kettlebells, battle rope, heavy punching bag, trap barbell, 10lb dumbbells, just to name a few.

The ability to reduce rather than add is often quite difficult and comes with experience. There are an infinite number of different exercises and it would be impossible to perform them all. Most of them are effective at what they do, but to perform them all would mean you do nothing other than perform different movements. An overhead squat is a great tool to assist those that want to be great at doing Olympic weightlifting. Not so great if you want to run an obstacle course race or increase your one rep max. Likewise, adding accommodating resistance in the form of lifting bands is great for developing explosiveness and dynamic power. But if your goal is to do well at CrossFit, as yourself when the last WOD contained resistance banded squats.

Not only does this concept apply to the movements themselves, but also to the programming. It will be near impossible to be a competitive marathon runner AND a competitive powerlifter. Both of these goals are both great goals to have, but are counterproductive to the other. What purpose does it serve? You can only have one primary goal with fitness, otherwise you end up with mediocre results in everything, rather than being great at one thing. Think of your purpose and adjust your programming and activities to propel that purpose.

Each and every item you purchase and each and every action you perform should be able to clearly answer the question: what purpose does it serve? The answer could simply be – to have fun, which is a legitimate reason. However, when thinking about long term development and progression, the best answer should include why it drives progress.

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