Hardest Things First

I'll tell you something about a lot of people that just might surprise you: people can't figure things out. Sometimes I look at people like, "Man, you are just not right with that." People don't understand things much, is the problem. People don't know.

Life is much like the gym, which is much like life. Always do the hardest thing first.

"Okay now today we're going to bench press 350 pounds. So first I want you to do ten reps of the bar and then ten reps of 135 and then ten reps of 185 and then ten reps of 225 and then ten reps of 275 and then ten reps of 315 and then finally after all that you'll be ready to do your super heavy grand finale."

"Okay today I'm going to go for a new max squat poundage. But first I'm gonna jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes to 'warm up' and then I'll do some lunges and then some leg press to 'build up to' my big hardcore attempt."

Yo people cannot do simple fitness maths in their heads which is one of the main reasons we need internet fitness columns, and thank god for that.

Here is how you should order your gym experience: first, you do the hardest thing. After you've done the hardest thing, then you can do other things. But first, you do the hardest thing. (QUIZ: What do you do first? A: The hardest thing.)

I will tell you the secret mystical reason for this hard-won piece of wisdom for which you would normally have to spill gallons of blood sweat tears vomit and Mountain Dew AMP™ Energy Drink to learn: the reason is because doing stuff makes you tired. Therefore—and this is the part where a background in graduate-level philosophical logic comes in handy—you shouldn't do a lot of stuff before you do the hardest stuff. Because—and here you may reflect on Grayling's conception of the of/ about distinction of logical philosophizing—you don't want to be tired when you do the hardest stuff.

What does all this technical mumbo-jumbo mean in "the real world" of when you go to the gym sometimes? I'll tell you one thing it doesn't mean brother and that is "warming up" by running on the stupid treadmill for 20 minutes!!! Okay?? You get off the stupid treadmill all sweaty and winded and you're like, okey-doke, ready to squat that 400 now, and what happens? That's right—you get crushed, literally, to death underneath the bar, because guess what my friend, that's right, you tried to get a little too clever, by not doing the hardest thing first.

People don't know what "warm up" is. Here's a good warm up for before you do something hard like I don't know shall we say HEAVY DEADLIFTS TO WHERE THE AIR IS SUCKED OUT YOUR LUNGS AS IF BY REVERSE VACUUM, for example? 1) Come in the gym 2) Go over to where the deadlift stuff is 3) Do some deadlifts with just the bar, then maybe some more with very light weight, just to get the juices flowing 4) Shake it out now, shake it out, maybe a little dynamic stretching, why not 5) How about doing some more lifts to become fatigued? NOPE. 5) BOOM LIFT THAT SHIT.

Not to get too technical on you but the advantage of this philosophy is that you have 100% of your energy to dedicate to the thing that needs 100% of your energy. After you do the hardest thing, maybe you only have 70% of your energy left. But guess what fellows? You only need 70% because the next thing you're doing is not the hardest thing. In this way, the Hardest Things First™ fitness philosophy ensures that you have the energy that you need when you really need it, and that you don't burn your Max Hardcore Hyper Pump doing some little reverse cable flies or some shit, glamour muscles, get a real job workout hippie.

Dewey Bozella. Remember Dewey Bozella? He was the inspirational man who was exonerated after spending 26 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, and who went on to make his inspirational pro boxing debut at age 52, thereby fulfilling dreams and proving you can do it, never give up, whatever whatever. Add a little more honey to that ham why don't you? The reason I bring him up in this hard-hitting forum of unvarnished truth is that Dewey was initially denied a boxing license by the commission after "failing" his licensing test. What was it? First, he had to jump rope for five minutes straight, then he had to immediately pound the heavy bag for five minutes straight, and then he had to immediately get in the ring and spar with a heavyweight fighter, who whupped him, big surprise. Hey licensing guys maybe just let me spar the god damn heavyweight fighter before I exhaust myself on menial tasks next time okay???? Maybe let ol' Dewey do the Hardest Thing First in order to not get whupped on physically with fist hands by a huge dude who probably weighs like 220??? Maybe make the other guy do the pre-exhausting high intensity workout before sparring since he's not god damn 52?? The point being that even an inspirational figure such as Dewey Bozella can be laid low by the perils of not doing the hardest thing first??? So what makes you think you're special Joshua or whatever you name is???

I'm surprised at how many people have not figured this out already.

Just do the hardest thing first. Once it's done, everything else is "small potatoes." Once the deadlifts are completed, it doesn't matter if you barely have strength left for curls. Once the fight is over, you won't give a shit about the jump rope. Once you have faced The Tiger, the concerns of the world will no longer trouble you. The hardest things are done. And now you are free.

(Dead.)