Expert Fitness Advice: Never Send the Child
Once I was bitten by the fitness bug, I started searching everywhere I could for expert fitness advice. I don’t know that this is the case for everybody, but with the wealth of information available at the touch of a button, expert fitness advice is readily available to all of us. I’ve spent hours upon hours reading articles and blogs, watching YouTube videos and trying out different exercise and nutrition theories, to find what works best for me. However, after all of the research I’ve done, I still find that some of the most expert fitness advice I’ve received, hasn’t come from fitness professionals at all — but from family members, coaches, friends, teachers and a few random folks who have been right there with me all along.
Expert Fitness Advice From the Card Table
Today’s expert fitness advice comes from Grandpa. Grandpas are special people — they’re funny, handy, great at making coins disappear…and endlessly wise. I’ve been lucky enough to have two awesome grandpas in my life — and I wouldn’t trade either for the world. On my Dad’s side of the family, many of the life lessons you learn, come from the card table. You learn to win gracefully, accept defeat (but always suggest another game), and re-hash the mistakes that were made, so you don’t make them again. We’re a Euchre family, which means as soon as dinner is over at any family gathering, and the dishes have been washed — we head over to the nearest available table, grab the pre-sorted deck, and start playing, arguably, the greatest card game of all time…Euchre .
In Euchre, the idea is to win as many tricks in a hand as you can. You can win a trick for your team by either having the highest card in the trick, or stealing a suit trick by using trump. If you’re interested in the ins and outs of the rules of Euchre (it’s sort of complicated), check this out. There are any number of fun phrases that are heard around the card table, but one of my favorites almost always comes from Grandpa — “Never send the child.”
The situation in which this advice applies to Euchre, comes in the case of a suit trick. Let’s say spades is trump. The first player in the round leads a heart, the second player follows suit, and lays another heart. When it gets around to you, you have the 10 of spades (second lowest card) and the Jack of spades (the highest card), and no hearts — so you have the opportunity to use your trump to take the trick. The problem is…one more player needs to go, and you don’t know what they have — they could have hearts, in which case the 10 would be more than enough to win the trick…or they could have no hearts and, say, the King of spades (the 4th highest card).
So, now you have a decision to make (Granted, there are a number of variables that would determine your next move in this situation, but just humor me.). You can lay the 10 – somewhat of a commitment, because you’re giving up a trump card, but not all would be lost…you’d still have the highest remaining trump. You might get lucky, and the player after you could throw a measly little heart on there, and you’d win the trick for a fairly small price — OR, you could play it safe, throw the 10, and get beat by the next player when they throw their only trump, the King of spades, stealing the trick right from under your nose. This can be especially disheartening when you know you had the ability to get the trick FOR SURE right in your hand — you just didn’t commit. You played small.
So, now, not only are you down a valuable trump, and feeling bad about your decision, you’re possibly at fault for losing the hand for your team….and in swoops Grandpa with a firm, “That’s what you get when you send the child, Meg (let’s just say you’re me). Never send the child.”
So Where’s the Expert Fitness Advice?
A fair question. Staying on euchre for a minute — understanding the rules of the game doesn’t really matter. The basic message of “Never send the child,” is to go all in, especially when you have a basic guarantee of success staring right back at you in your hand. It takes a certain level of commitment to win the trick by playing your highest card, but the ultimate success of winning the hand – with the support of your partner across the table – makes getting out of that safe, little comfort zone completely worth it!
You can probably see where I’m going with this – and you’re right. In fitness, like most things in life, it pays to go ALL IN. When you play small, and only commit to your goal(s) to the point where there really wouldn’t be thaaaat much lost if you didn’t follow through, you’re selling yourself short. Every time.
To clarify, I’m definitely not arguing for going all in on every single thing you want to accomplish at one time. I’m talking about determining your #1 goal, be that in fitness, school, finances — whatever — and giving it your all. Once you’ve determined your goal (lose 2lbs/week, 3.0 GPA, save $50/month, etc.) go all in on it. Determine what needs to happen in order for you to achieve that goal – Strict nutrition plan? Studying 2 hours every night? Giving up your daily coffee run? Whatever it is, you must 100% commit to it.
Easy for me to say, I know. I’ve dealt with the suckiness of following through on my goals — I’ve even “sent the child” and told myself…meh, one slice of pizza won’t hurt…I can study for that tomorrow…$45 is still pretty good. It’s difficult to give up current habits — because you might be missing something. What if pizza suddenly tastes better, or you miss your favorite TV show? (It won’t, and that’s what DVR is for.) It’s the same thing in Euchre — you know that high card is going to make you successful, but if you play it safe, and send the child now, you can always try again for success on the next trick.
Take Grandpa’s expert fitness advice, and STOP playing the game (of life) this way. There’s no reason to hold yourself back — you’re so much stronger than that. You have the tools to be successful all around you, but you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable, and use your best card in order to win. Determine what you want, within reason, make a plan, and execute it, with everything you have — NEVER send the child. You can read more about strategies to set and achieve your goal in 6 Ways to Achieve Any Goal.
What goal are you striving to achieve right now? Is there anything holding you back? Comment below and let me know if you’ve ever “sent the child,” and how it impacted you. Let’s find your best card, and win the trick! Stay tuned for even more expert fitness advice
Thanks for being you — keep it real.
Founder: MCP Total Fitness