Tactical retreat vs quitting: When to give up on fitness

Just because you aren’t charging the hill right now, doesn’t mean you’ve decided to surrender the war!

Honestly, I mean it. You don’t always have to be fighting, pushing and crushing it with your fitness goals. Sometimes its ok to pull back, regroup and attack again.

Take it from me, a 30 year old currently fumbling his way through parenthood. For the past 12 months my fitness has taken the back seat. Sure, you might say that it didn’t have to. Sure you could say that the excessive food and drinks weren’t a necessary coping mechanism to this new stage of life. But hell, it’s all been consumed now, and there’s no use crying over spilled tequila. But what are we going to do about it?

What we are going to do is dive face first into a six day fitness regime, intermittent fasting and dropping booze and coffee all together. Crash. This was not a good week. Well, if I’m perfectly honest this week wasn’t too bad at all, but the following one was a doozy. Time and time again my clients fall for this trap. They (read as I) get super excited about a new workout regime and proceed to crush it (and themselves) for 7-10 days before the wheels come off. The fatigue sets in and the muscle aches become a little unbearable. They stop, take a few days (read as a week) off and slip right back into those terrible habits that got them in this mess in the first place. No progress, insta-depression and a doubling down on those aforementioned habits. The funny thing is, you go straight back to step one next Monday and kick yourself in the face over and over again.


Its time for a tactical retreat.

Inspiration for this article comes from a podcast with ex Seal team leader Jocko Willink. Jocko was asked by a listener when it is time to give up on an idea or if they should ‘never quit’. His response was the interesting part. He went on to describe how, at least for the first part of your seal training – the single best characteristic you can have is ‘never quit’. It will get you through buds, the grueling even day sleep deprivation and physical torture test to even get you into basic training. And if you’re lucky, it might even get you a few years into your career as a navy seal. But at some point (just like your fitness regime) the wheels fall off.

Never quitting on a plan or tactic that is causing you to lose men or waste resources is NEVER a good idea.

So then what? How can you still achieve the mission?

You need to zoom out. What is your overarching goal? What is the grand strategy you are employing to take out the enemy? This is something you never quit on. It could be vanquishing the evil dictators from a foreign land and restoring power and prosperity to the people. It could be building a million dollar business. Or it could just be ‘be a fit dad who is happy for his daughter and present for his wife”.

If you never, ever quit on this high level strategy – the tactics you employ really don’t matter all that much. Crossfit not working out because you need to be at the gym for 5:30 and that coincides with your daughters wake time, change it out for gym after work. Gym too expensive and leaving you excessively sore, maybe an exercise bike at home.

There is ALWAYS room for quitting tactics. Give it a good try, and maybe even try again. But by the third time, if things aren’t working, you need to look to other avenues.

The tactics don’t matter. It is the result. The long term goal for your health and fitness that we are looking for here. So try something new.

If you need ANY help, send me a message – I have more than a few things to get you started.