The Case for Floundering and Quitting

Mike Matthews
2 min readApr 1, 2022


Comparing yourself to other fitness folk is a sure way to feel lousy.

There’s always someone who looks better, lifts more weight, and has more of whatever you want. The deck is stacked. You can’t win. So turn your gaze inward instead, looking only at who you were, are, and hope to become.

Everyone wants to tell you what to do, too–what to eat, what not to eat, what burns fat, what doesn’t, what’s evidence-based, what isn’t. But ultimately, whatever works for you is valid. Your fitness is yours. To explore. To evolve. To enjoy.

So don’t let anybody railroad you into a lifestyle that doesn’t serve you. And don’t be afraid to allow that lifestyle to evolve in step with your goals and priorities. You know your needs. Trust yourself.

You don’t have to get it right the first time, either. Or the second. You have as many chances to lose fat and build muscle as you’d like.

And guess what?

It’s okay to flounder, too. Some days, you’ll try to weigh anchor, but the windlass is jammed. It happens. It’s even okay to quit a program, especially when it has become a hamster wheel. Just don’t quit all of them.

Whatever you do, though, don’t get so gripped by the cacophony of conflicting rules and methods that you spend more time thinking than training. Don’t allow the temptation of a Better Way to eat and exercise become the fiery, unblinking, and paralyzing gaze of Sauron. Push it aside. Train now. Reflect later.

And then, once you’ve found a setup that works for you, offer it to others. Leave a light on and ladder out for those coming up behind you. Show them your map so they can better draw theirs.



Mike Matthews

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