“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”
- Ralph ‘Where’s Waldo’ Emerson
True not just for worldview, political opinion, science and religion, but that applies to fitness and health as well. How many of us have fallen victim to subscribing to a particular style of eating (vegans and paleo folks come to mind) or fitness (CrossFit, Insanity, Barre) and jumped so soundly onto the train that we are headed in that direction no matter what and everything else is wrong. This is the best, right? We then proceed to surround ourselves with like-minded people and preach our fitness gospel, sometimes as if everyone else is doing it wrong.
Think about this, mankind has tried since the invention of though, to answer the most basic questions as to our existence. Brilliant people like Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Deepak Chopra, Friedrich Nietzsche and on and on and on have tried and failed. But after two hours of internet research I now know the Ultimate Six-Pack Shortcut! Not hardly.
We can all agree on one universal truth when it comes to fitness or any successful habit for that matter. Consistency is key. However, consistently adhering to principles that you barely understand, and not being able to see them in the context of fitness as a whole brings on “the hobgoblin”. Which means the second you stop doing whatever it is, you most times cannot recover. And since it’s pretty much all you know, you have no choice but to go back to it whether it seems to work or not.
I worked with a guy, a little on the short side. But easily could be the strong athletic type. Our jobs were pretty sedentary and people with sitting jobs tend to pack on weight. So, he fell headlong into Insanity. The first time through, he was 100% strict and he dumped a ton of fat and showed pretty good muscle definition. That’s when he became a lay-preacher in the Church of Insanity and preach he did. Once he got to his goal, he did what most people do. He stopped. Guess what happened? He did it a second time and it worked again, and the third time. But this greatest thing in the world, that he was 100% consistent with, did nothing for him after he stopped. And he had no idea what to do because all he knew how to do is unfold the 30-day calendar, get out the pre-made meal plan and pop in a video.
Not educating yourself is the greatest Hobgoblin of them all. Don’t stop at the first thing that works and swear it’s the greatest thing in the world. By all means if it is giving results, keep doing it. But educate yourself so that you have proper context when relating to others or when you plateau. The fitness industry makes it’s living selling one-size fits all quick fixes to anyone who will buy them. They are betting on people taking the easy way out, rather than doing their homework. The odds are on the side of the house, just like in a Casino. You may achieve a short term win up front. But their goal is to keep you playing long enough to inevitably relieve you of the burden of your hard-earned cash.
Don’t be the Hobgoblins’ slave.