On choosing consistency over perfection, gaining wisdom as we age, and handstands

Happy Monday,

If you want to make progress in any craft, fitness-related or otherwise, the first step is a willingness to try.

To give your best effort even when you feel like an awkward, bumbling beginner.

To keep showing up even when you don’t want to.

To keep going even when it feels pointless. Or when you’ve been stuck on the same plateau for ages and it feels like none of your hard work is making a difference.

You don’t have to have a good training day every single day. What matters more is that you keep putting in the work. That you keep pushing through the struggle, and ultimately, refuse to give up.

Aim for consistency, not perfection.

What I’m reading —

The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger as Your Brain Grows Older by Elkhonon Goldberg

I’ve been fascinated by the brain for years now, ever since I learned about the concept of neuroplasticity (our brain’s ability to change). I grew up believing that our brain (and, therefore, who we are at our very core) doesn’t change much past our twenties. Thankfully, decades of recent scientific research  shows this isn’t true — we can change and learn new things well into old age.

Goldberg, a neuroscientist and curious baby boomer, details how we gain wisdom as we age through pattern recognition not available to younger, less experienced brains.

Getting older, he says, isn’t all that bad:

“As we age, we may lose the power of our memory and sustained concentration. But as we grow older, we may gain wisdom , or at least expertise and competence, which is nothing to sneer at either.”

What I’m listening to —

Steven Pressfield on The Artist’s Journey, the Wisdom of Little Successes, Shadow Careers, and Overcoming Resistance — the Tim Ferris Podcast

The War of Art is one of those books that everyone should read at some point in their life, but is especially applicable to those either just starting out or switching to a new career. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend reading that first, then listening to this interview.

Pressfield, an extremely successful author, shares how he became an overnight success — after 30 years of effort. He talks about what he calls our personal hero’s journey, or the shedding of the identities given to us by our parents or society and finding out who we really are.

No matter where we are in our journey, says Pressfield, we have plenty of time to figure it all out.

“They always tell you life is short, but actually life is long. If we find ourselves making mistakes or we haven’t yet found our real calling, don’t drive yourself crazy. There’s plenty of time. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You’re on a journey whether you realize it or not. Things will reveal themselves as they go. Don’t beat yourself up too much.”

What I’m training this week —

Handstand holds. (Instagram post)

People often stop and ask me when I’m training handstands how I got so good at them (it still surprises me, even after all these years). My answer? Consistency. Those of you who have been following me for years probably remember when I first started doing handstands. I could barely hold one against the wall — let alone freestanding. I’ve practiced almost daily for nearly seven years now. All that consistent practice adds up.

Three new workouts from last week —

Outdoor Jump Rope HIIT Workout (12 Minute, jump rope)

Faster Medicine Ball  HIIT Workout (12 Minute, Medicine ball)

100 Burpee Challenge (Challenge workout, equipment-free)

And here’s a park-friendly workout I posted on Instagram.

Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).

As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Here’s to choosing consistency over perfection,

– Krista Stryker

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