Today, while driving home from the gym, I had an “ah-ha!” moment. I freakin’ love those. I was thinking about something completely unrelated – a video on pec tears of all things – and realized that the problems leading to this particular injury are why so many people struggle to reach their goals.

Seriously – one of the factors responsible for rampant pectoral tears is closely related to why so many people struggle to be consistent with good choices. It’s about instability. 

First: this has nothing to do with fitness.  Hang with me through the fitness talk for just a minute, okay? Let me explain how this started.

During this year’s CrossFit regionals, an uncanny number of men tore their pectoral muscle during a particular workout. From the last numbers I saw, about 26 men tore their pec. That’s kinda crazy…

Of course many people jump to the conclusion that there was something wrong with the workout if one particular injury was so common. The CrossFit community was full of chatter about poor programming, but it doesn’t seem that’s the problem. Kelly Starrett, one of the most knowledgeable physical therapists in the fitness industry, put together a 30 minute video explaining why these injuries happened.

This video is what triggered my aha moment (please note that you have to be a paid MobilityWod subscriber to watch the full video).

While he discussed many factors, one of them was the difference between using barbells & gymnastic bars versus dumbbells and gymnastic rings. In the regional events, there were no barbells and these injuries happened on gymnastic rings.

In short, dumbbells & gymnastic rings require better form and muscular stability from the athlete than barbells and gymnastic bars do.

With a barbell or gymnastic bar, you can create your stability by bracing against an object (the barbell or bar) that provides you with stability. With a dumbbell or ring, the object provides no stability which means the stability must come from your form. It has to come from you.

Essentially, without a fixed or firm object during the competition, some athletes created their own stability and others did not. Without something to brace against for stability, they weren’t as stable in their movements. They could have been, but they weren’t. In their training, they had relied upon external objects for their stability and, when faced with events without such objects, they weren’t stable.

See where I’m going with this?

As I was driving home thinking about how great this explanation was, I realized how many of us rely on external factors for our stability.

For example, if we go to a party and no one is eating or drinking, we follow suit and find it easier not to eat or drink. If, on the other hand, we go to a party where everyone is drinking and over-indulging, we really struggle to make good choices.

Like the athletes at the CrossFit Regionals, you have a choice. You can get your stability from external factors (your environment, what other people are doing, etc) or, you can create your stability from within, allowing you to be successful and productive no matter what is around you.

If you rely on outside factors for your stability, you will routinely be in a situation where that stability isn’t there for you. The instability creates inconsistency.

Because other people weren’t making good food choices, you didn’t either.

Because your schedule got screwed up, you didn’t make time to workout.

Because someone said something you choose to fixate on, your feelings are hurt.

If your stability comes from within, you’ll be consistent.

If your stability doesn’t come from within, you’ll be inconsistent.

Practice structure. Practice internal stability. Practice making the choices that are right for you regardless of external factors.

That’s the path to consistency.

So yeah. That was my moment. I was excited to share it with you.

In other news, here was today’s workout:

“Front Nine”
AMRAP 18:
18 Calorie Row
15 Box Jump Overs (24/20″)
12 Toes-to-Bar
9 DB Front Squats (50’s/35’s)

I loved this workout. I’m so glad I got up and got moving this morning. When my alarm went off at 4:45am I didn’t want to get up and I started debating going back to sleep and working out this afternoon, but I knew I’d feel better about my day if I got up, got moving and crushed the workout early. I was so right!

On the food front:

I was out of town this weekend & got back late last night. You should have seen the look on my face when I sleepily opened the fridge at 4:48am only to realize that there was no cold brew and no more butter coffee from Picnik. No coffee. Sure, I could have made some cold brew but it wouldn’t have been ready before my workout. This sort of thing can’t happen!!! Fortunately, I had an energy drink from Zevia in the car so I dashed out in the rain to get it. Crisis averted.

After the workout I headed right to Starbucks for an Americano. All is well with the world.

My favorite thing about Mondays is that it’s Paleo Power Meals delivery day! Now I have a fridge full of yummy meals for the week!

I had grilled chicken strips around 11am, flank steak with mixed veggies around 3 and a cobb salad around 5:30pm, all from Paleo Power Meals. If you want to give them a try, you can hear my thoughts about them here and here – and be sure to use the coupon code ebprimal20 to save 20% on your first order!

PS: If you’re new to these posts, listen to this podcast episode to get the scoop on what changes I’m making in my life and you can start back at my first daily post here.