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Living in the Gray: Overcoming the All-or-Nothing Mindset in Fitness

Getting Real about Fitness with Wesley Showalter

Most folks approach to fitness tends to be an all-or-nothing mentality. With the mindset that if their workout isn't a 10/10 and looks something like a Rocky Balboa training montage, it doesn't count as a workout or isn't worth doing.

This tends to lead to burnout, injury, inconsistency in the gym, and an unhealthy relationship with exercise overall. Instead of a black-and-white, or all-or-nothing mentality, a better approach is living in the gray and meeting yourself where you are at each workout

Workouts don't need to be an hour — you don't need to be so sore that it's hard to sit on the toilet, don't need to be drenched in sweat, or churn 100s of calories. Workouts need to be consistent and they need to get done to reap the benefits.

When working with new clients, I try to instill this in them by framing training sessions where they should keep their RPE (rate of perceived exertion) at 7-8 most days (out of 10). And on the days that they don't feel great, more of a 6 or 7, while on days they feel awesome, more of an 8-10.

This approach tends to lead to a healthier relationship with the gym, fewer injuries, and most importantly consistency.

Consistency trumps intensity as far as stressing the system regularly in an effort to drive adaptation and create training effects (increased muscle, better mobility, less body fat, increased bone mineral density, etc) based on what you are doing, how hard you are doing it, how CONSISTENT you do it, as well as what you do outside of the gym.

Someone is better off training 5-6x a week at a 7/10 as opposed to 3 days a week 10/10 (generally speaking, athletes and specific populations are the exception).

Some days are smash-the-box workouts and some are check-the-box workouts, but both are better options as opposed to not getting your exercise in.

When short on time, use the time you have and get your bigger movements in.

When short on equipment, use what you can access (including but not limited to your body) and get something done.

A done workout is always better than one that isn’t done and both accumulate for better or worse.


Wes is from central PA originally and has been a fitness coach for 13+ years in State College, Chicago, Philadelphia, and now BACK to Chi!

Originally, Wes set out to train high-level athletes. So, a big part of his education includes:

- Strength and conditioning

- Exercise physiology

- Exercise psychology

- Anatomy

- Program design

All of that has contributed to his success as a fitness coach.

Wes has been training general population clients in one on one, semi-private, and group settings and finds it incredibly fulfilling to see what fitness can do for someone's quality of life far beyond the gym.

Strength training is his JAM, regardless of the environment he works with. He uses what he has access to, be it kettlebells, barbells, straps, cables, dumbbells, body weight, or bands to put people in the correct positions to execute what they need to do with the proper intention.

Over the years, Wes has coached tons of classes, trained tons of clients, gained a solid following in multiple cities, as well as mentor other coaches for a group. He's involved with Strength Faction.

Wes has had the privilege to contribute to women's health, shape magazines, assist with certifications, lead presentations, as well as coach a couple of private classes for the WWE Network in the past!

He meets people where they are and brings the JUICE to every session and every class, leaving personal stuff at the door before he turns it ON.

Education/Certifications: B.S Kinesiology, CSCS, RKC2, CFSC2, FRCms, Onnit KB specialist, TRX

For more information and to follow Wes online:

Instagram CLICK HERE


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