Fit Tip: Why You Can't Always Beat Yesterday

Posted On Sep 18, 2020 By Tom Holland

A woman stretching next to a BowFlex Max Total

You see these two words in memes on social media, printed on the back of t-shirts and layered over sports images on motivational posters:

Beat Yesterday.”

Sounds great, right? When it comes to your goals, especially your fitness goals, do a little more today than you did the day before. Never stop improving. Do a little better every day.

Lose a little more weight. Lift a little more weight. If you are tracking steps and walked 10,100 yesterday, do at least 10,101 today, if not more. Torched 299 calories on your BowFlex MAX on Monday? Better break that 300 mark on Tuesday.

A man sitting next to a BowFlex Max Trainer

Now while it sounds super-motivating, and I’m all about motivation, it’s completely unrealistic. In fact, it’s impossible. Believing that you can and should improve every single day is a prime example of faulty goal-setting. It’s one of the reasons people ultimately give up on their goals as well. They fail to see constant, daily improvement - They believe that they’ve failed, and they quit.

Progress in fitness is not linear. For anyone. It doesn’t matter how fit you are or how motivated you are, you simply cannot better yesterday every single day. Exercise science says so.

You will have good days and you will have bad days. Oftentimes you won’t have the faintest idea why. Sometimes the weight you’re used to lifting just seems heavier, for no reason. That three-mile run you normally do with relative ease in thirty minutes? There will be those days when your legs feel like lead, your heart rate is through the roof and it takes all you have just to finish in 35 minutes.

It happens. To everyone.

Because the truth is you can’t always beat yesterday. Sometimes it’s because of the heat, the cold, what you ate, what you didn’t eat, your job, your family.

You won’t always hit your daily step goal, much less exceed it. It happens. There is no perfect. If weight loss is your goal, there will be those days when you believe you have lost a pound but the scale says the exact opposite.

The “secret” is to accept and that there will be peaks and valleys to your progress. That is not failure, that is life. You stick to your plan and keep moving forward even though the scale, your fitness tracker or the weight on the bar might not show improvement every single day.

Success lies not in always beating yesterday, but by showing up and never giving up.

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