Thursday, October 11, 2012


The concept of self-rewards is nothing new; people have been doing it for ages and it manifests itself in many forms. You did something good so now it's time to treat yourself.

You got a promotion at work; so you go on vacation.

You made it through exam week; so you go get blackout drunk on Friday.

You had a really good training session; so you go crush a cheat meal. 

Well, great. You did a good job. That's awesome and I'm really happy for you. But why does everyone have this underlying need for a reward?

Since we were little kids we were given performance-based rewards. It's one of the ways we learn: positive and negative-reinforcement. You pee in the potty, you get a lollipop. You do your homework, you get a gold star. Mow the lawn, you get five bucks. Throw a chunk of ice at your sisters head causing her to bleed, and you pay the consequences (Sorry about that; I love you.)

Works great with kids; but why do we need to do that as adults? Why can't the result of your hard work be the reward?

I hear this all the time regarding workouts and food. People post on Facebook about how they just "crushed a gym sesh" (i.e. 45 minutes of cardio and then some biceps blasting) so now it's time to head home and reward themselves with a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

You know what the pay-off of a good workout is? Doing it again the next day. And the day after that. The results of days and weeks and months of breaking your balls in the gym is the pay-off. Losing the weight, gaining the muscle, or being ready for your sport is the pay-off.

Thank You, LBEB.
I hear training clients do this all the time, too. "Well that was a great workout, I'm going to stop and get some froyo as a reward." Well, you did do a great job and I am very proud of you, however, your reward should be more training. Your reward should be going home and crushing a high-protein/high-carb meal, adapting to the training stress and coming back the next day stronger than before. Not fucking froyo

Even worse is when someone completes a great few weeks/months of training, see's results and then says "Oh, it's time to take a few weeks off; I earned it!" 

No, you didn't. You did something you should be doing for your health and your life. You didn't train for and complete a marathon or a powerlifting event. Even those athletes don't take a few WEEKS off, they take one week off and then get back on the grind. 

Here's the harsh reality: you didn't do anything special. You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake. You should be working out and training because you need to be healthy and strong. Your wife shouldn't make you do it. Not your doctor or trainer, either. You should be doing it because you know it's the right thing to do! Stop rewarding yourself, the reward is in the effort itself. 

Have a great day. Go lift some heavy shit!

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