Expert Fitness Advice: Pick A Pitch That’s Going to Make You Successful
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 Batting Cage
I’ve been an athlete ever since I can remember. I’ve always been very competitive, and willing to do whatever it takes to work harder, and perform better, than the competition. I dabbled in a bunch of different sports, but softball has always been my #1. I started out small, with some blooper bat (you know, the fat, plastic ones) batting practice and nightly sessions of catch with my dad in the backyard, with occasional appearances from my mom sticking her head out to tell him not to throw it so hard.
Eventually, I ended up at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota to play college ball. I was recruited by Coach Fennern throughout my senior year of high school and, while her intensity scared me to death, I knew she was going to make me better, which is exactly what I wanted to be. Her team was ranked 17th in the country at the time, too, so there was plenty of evidence to suggest this would be the case.
Coming into the program at SMU, I was a very successful hitter – at the high school level. My favorite pitch to hit was anything on the inside half of the plate. I had quick hands, and connected consistently on this type of pitch, but this wasn’t small town, high school softball anymore. I had a lot of catching up to do, so I would be able to have success at the plate in the college game. So, naturally, I spent the majority of my time working on successfully hitting the outside pitch.
Today’s expert fitness advice comes from a one-on-one hitting session I had with Coach Fennern. We were working on some front toss, hitting a mix of pitches in different locations, at different speeds, etc. We started throwing in some hitting counts, with different numbers of balls and strikes, to work on hitting strategy. I remember wanting so badly to connect solidly on a few outside pitches, and was swinging at basically anything close to the strike zone – no matter where it was. After swinging at an edgy outside pitch I had no business swinging at on a 2-0 count, coach stepped out from behind the screen and said very simply, “Pick a pitch that’s going to make you successful.”
Without getting too much into the specifics of hitting strategy, the basic message here was to understand my strengths as a hitter (i.e. NOT outside pitches). When you’re way ahead in the count, you have choices about what pitches you swing at. Sometimes, it’s OK to let a strike go, especially if it’s in a spot you struggle with. You get three strikes every at-bat, so you can wait on a pitch that works for you, and give yourself a greater chance of being successful.
Finding the Pitch That Will Make You Successful
Now, I don’t believe Coach intended me to take this advice any further than softball when she said it – or for me to remember it nine years later, but here we are 🙂 . To me, “Pick a pitch that’s going to make you successful,” applies beautifully to fitness and, really, life in general. The abundance of information that’s available about fitness is seemingly endless. There are tons of workouts you can do – running, strength training, HIIT, yoga, Crossfit, etc. There are tons of nutrition regimens you can follow – low calorie/low fat, IIFYM, paleo, intermittent fasting, vegetarian, etc.
The abundance of information out there can be really intimidating for somebody just getting into, or back into, a fitness lifestyle. Where do you even start? What’s the best type of workout and diet? The answer, as per usual, is — it depends. The answers to these questions are really based on your personal goals, and are something I’d highly recommend discussing with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist.
On my own fitness journey, I’ve found that incorporating activities I enjoy into my training, has helped me to be most consistent. I have several friends who enjoy, and are good at, running. They stay in great shape this way, and enjoy participating in 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons – you name it. I think it’s awesome, and find it to be extremely impressive…I really do.
Confession time: I hate running. With every ounce of my being, I despise it. I enjoy the scenery – you know, running around a lake, on rustic trails – or whatever. I get it…but if I ever wanted to see just how badly I could fail at implementing an exercise program, I would try to become a runner. Running is my outside pitch on a 2-0 count.
Now, if we’re talking inside pitches — I’m all about weight lifting, HIIT workouts and sprinting. Those are things I enjoy doing, so I look forward to them…and they get me results. There are plenty of people who don’t enjoy doing any of those things, and that’s OK. The point is…there isn’t necessarily one type of exercise or one way to eat that is better than the other. Certainly, there are different benefits to different methods – which is something, again, you’ll want to discuss with a trainer and/or nutritionist – but the important thing, in my opinion, is that you’re doing something.
Start by finding what that something is for you. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, preferences, etc. — just like hitters in softball. Find which “pitch” is going to make you successful, and swing at it. Much like hitting a softball, maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle is difficult. It takes patience, consistency, and boatloads (big boats) of hard work. It’s also a very individual experience. You have to consider everything from the exercises you do, how long you workout for, and the number of rest days you take, to the food you eat, how you meal prep, if you meal prep, what motivates you, etc. etc. There are a ton of different variables that go into what your personal journey will look like. Everybody’s body, mindset and lifestyle are different, so it’s a process of figuring out what works for you – in all aspects of your fitness journey.
An important thing to remember once you’ve found your most “successful pitch,” is to keep working on, and being open to, the pitches that are more difficult, or seemingly less appealing. Keeping variety in your routine is the best way to avoid plateaus, and ensure that you’ll always make progress toward your next goal. Try new things, listen to advice you trust — and mix things up….it’s OK if you decide something new you tried isn’t going to work for you. In the end, determine what pitches are going to make you most successful, and swing at them with everything you have. You just might get that inside rise ball you’ve been dreaming about, and knock it out of the park 😉
What has helped you be most successful on your fitness journey? Are you still struggling to find your groove — what are your biggest road blocks? Leave a comment below with your successes or questions about what you can do to find the pitch the will make you successful!
Thanks for being you — keep it real.
Founder: MCP Total Fitness