On Cherry-Picking Workouts

by Michael Plank

Back in the old days, when I was just doing CrossFit by myself in the garage, the programming on crossfit.com would go up at 5pm Pacific Time every day. And I remember working so hard to cultivate enough discipline to do that workout that popped up for the next day NO MATTER WHAT. I would not skip a workout because it was hard or because it had burpees or because it was heavy. I would just do whatever was set for the day.

That’s how you become well rounded. That’s how you overcome weaknesses. That’s how you build mental toughness. Do it no matter what!

And that was what everyone said you should do in those days. Don’t “cherry pick” workouts! Which means don’t only do workouts that you like or that play to your strengths. Do it even if you hate it. Do it because you hate it.


I’ve changed my thinking on that some. A lot maybe.

There’s a time and a place for that attitude. If you’re trying to be a high-level competitor, for example. If you’re trying to become super well-rounded as an athlete, if you’re trying to work specifically on mental toughness and fortitude, if you’re seeking out opportunities to regularly do hard things, by all means, refuse to do any cherry picking.

But to be honest, that is not the case for the majority of people we work with and it’s certainly not the case for the majority of people in our community. Most people just want to be healthier. They want to be stronger. They want to have less pain. They want to enjoy life more. They want to establish some kind of movement routine.

For those people? For most people? Cherry pick your face off. Only do the workouts you love. Skip workouts you hate. Only do stuff that you’re good at or that’s exciting for you. Skip working on your weaknesses and just come work on your strengths. I’m 100% serious. Why?

Because something is ALWAYS better than nothing.

The thing you do that’s “good enough” is infinitely better than the perfect thing that you don’t do.

Working out is supposed to make your life better, not worse. Most of us aren’t trying to be, and honestly don’t want to be competitive athletes or in special operations. We don’t actually need to train like they do. We just need to move and sleep and laugh and drink water and eat nutritious foods and be around people who make us happy.

Not everything has to be hard. Sometimes you can just do stuff that you enjoy.