What Popcorn Can Teach You About Fitness

3025758942 edda85e68c z What Popcorn Can Teach You About FitnessWhat if I told you popcorn can teach you the secret to mastering fitness? You’d say I was wrong, and you’d be right :)…BUT popcorn may just be able to help you find the perfect balance of life and fitness you have been looking for.

At End of Three Fitness, we have talked about making fitness a golf ball and what Gandhi and Bruce Lee can teach you about fitness, now, it is time to take a page out of popcorn’s book.

Do you ever look at ordinary everyday objects, or food, and wonder…what can this teach me about fitness?

Yes…? Ok, good. Me too.

Well, I was looking at popcorn kernels the other day…wait, that is not way to start a story. Ok, never mind, how about we just get right to it…What can popcorn teach you about fitness?

First off, I am talking about fitness here. This is not some popcorn diet trick, do not be confused. If you really look at popcorn, or rather, the popping process, it can teach you a lot about fitness and how to survive the long haul that is, fitness.

As you know popcorn starts as a kernel, and inside that kernel is a small amount of oil and moisture. As the popcorn is heated, the moisture inside turns into a pressurized steam, which blows out of the popcorn as the starch in the popcorn kernel begins turning to a gelatinous consistency.

BOOM! Popcorn.

Making popcorn is freakin’ easy. Throw a bag in the microwave and you are done, right? Well there is a lot more to it than that. According to NASA, the moisture inside the kernel turns to steam at about 450 degrees F before it bursts and turns inside-out. If the popcorn is heated too quickly, the corn will burn instead of pop. If the popcorn is heated too slowly, the popcorn will not pop at all.

  • Heat too fast…singe the kernel.
  • Heat too slowly…never going to pop.

So how does this apply to you and fitness??

Read on!

You Got Singed!

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Have you ever gotten all jacked-up (excited) to start a program, to lose weight or change your diet?

Sure you have! Once you get all jacked up it is time to turn on the heat full blast!

This overwhelming excitement, or kick in the ass, normally comes from an external source of motivation. You read a motivating story, you saw an inspirational movie or something got you hyped up to start a great program…

You got the gear, started the program and you are pushing it 110%, but there is just one thing…You don’t have that kind of stamina. You can’t push it that hard or be that strict 5 or 6 days a week, especially if you were just doing 2, or 0, days a week.

Then, it happens…a few weeks into the program you are left with little to no results and you are burnt out…You came out of the gates too fast and you weren’t prepared for the long haul.

You singed the kernel.

Solution…the perfect pop; keep reading.

It Just Won’t Pop

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Some of you aren’t like that at all. You are more like the kernel that just won’t pop.

You know the importance of being fit and healthy and you keep to a strict schedule. Maybe you workout 3, 5 or even 6 days a week, and you have for years.

Discipline and sticking power are not your problems.

The problem is, you are stuck in your comfort zone. Sure, what you are doing is good, but you lack intensity. You  may be fit and healthy but you are not truly seeing the results you want.

You keep chugging along day after day, but the results are just not coming as quickly or how you would like. You seem to be spinning your wheels.

Your kernel just won’t pop…you need more heat, more intensity.

Solution…the perfect pop; keep reading.

After all that…burnt popcorn

 What Popcorn Can Teach You About Fitness

Lastly, we have the burnt popcorn.

Ladies and gentlemen, these guys and gals are serious. They had the right program, they stuck to it and they had the perfect level of intensity, and…

BOOM! Popcorn!

They saw all the results they ever wanted, but they wanted more, so they kept pressing. However, they forgot about one very important aspect of training…the brain. They kept going and going, and finally, like a rubber band their brain just snapped…

It’s not there anymore. Intensity is waning and results start to slow.

They pushed too hard. They were too eager and aggressive.

They burnt the popcorn.

Solution…the perfect pop; keep reading.

Solution: The Perfect Pop

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To state the obvious; popcorn will not pop on its own or when it is not directly exposed to a heat source. If the heat is much hotter than 450 degrees, the popcorn will singe before it pops. If the temperature is below 450 degrees, the popcorn will not pop because the moisture inside the kernels has not yet evaporated.

So the solution is to find YOUR 450 degrees, or to put it a different way, find your balance.

You do not need to start off with two-a-days seven days a week, but you also do not need to have an almost nonexistent level of intensity when you exercise.

You have to strike a balance, and to do so you have to realize a few facts:

Time off is OK!!

  • There are a lot of fitness fanatics out there who are terrified to take time off. Occasionally taking a full week off a few times a year will be more beneficial then trying to work through all the aches and pains of overuse. Take a full 3, 5 or even 7 days off from time to time. Let your body fully heal and then hit it hard after the break.

More is not better

  • The more time, reps and volume you put into an exercise program does not always equate to results. If not intelligently programmed, you can easily start to see negative returns in your efforts. Doing 7 days a week does not make you a fitness monster; it just makes you injured.

Intensity DOES matter

  • If you workout everyday, I am not going to beat you up here. Congrats, on having a good routine. However, you all know I don’t like average. You need the occasional burst of intensity. Increased intensity (as long as efficiency and proficiency are there) will always yield results. If you don’t like where you are at, trying being intense. Oh, try this in life too!

What works for me

  • The schedule I have hashed out is based off of Blair Morrison’s success in fitness. I do 4 days a week, generally mon/wed/fri/sat. Sometimes I will even just do every other day as a rest day, and occasionally I will take an entire week off.
  • This has worked great for me. Knowing I pretty much always have a day off the next day allows me to mentally push myself to a high level of intensity, because I know the next day is a break. It also works wonders for recovery, as I never feel beat up or over trained.

Honestly, I have been in every situation I stated above. I have come out of the gates too fast, I have not worked hard enough and I have worked so hard that I burnt out. It took many many years for me to find a balance in which I feel mentally and physically fresh. With a family, job, Eo3 and other responsibilities I have to find a balance, and this balance works great for me.

What works for you? Add it to the comments.



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Hey, I'm Jerred Moon and I write about: proven methods to get stronger, faster and harder to kill; tips, tricks and DIY projects for bringing fitness to the home front; and ways that food can help you recover, cure disease and better fuel your brain.

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  • Kevin T

    Good post! I think my struggle right now is not knowing exactly where to start or knowing what system will work for me. I guess you just have to jump in and see how your body responds.

    Anyone following EO3 daily WODs have advice for those like me who are new here?

    • http://endofthreefitness.com/ Jerred

      There is a certain level of experimentation that need to be done. For Eo3Fit it will be finding which level is best for you, for the long haul.

  • Claude

    Jarred, you have a knack for being completely nutty while giving very useful information. Makes your blog enjoyable.

    Anyway, I was a non-popper for years. Kind of a tinkerer when it came to fitness. I worked out daily, but it was very routine and not very effective. Im done with all that.

    • http://endofthreefitness.com/ Jerred

      Haha thanks Claude! Glad to hear your non-popping days are behind you.

  • Alice

    What a great analogy about finding the right balance. Thanks for sharing. We’re a shaving company called Dorco and we sell high quality razors for a fraction of the cost you’re probably paying now. Give them a try and see how smooth a shave you can get, all for 30-70% less than the cost of leading brands. Check out our prices for yourself at DorcoUSA.com. Thanks again for a great post!

  • Brian

    Good read! I dig this analogy a lot. I used to be a singer and a Yo-Yoer but no more! Popcorn perfection for life!

  • peanutbutterjoel

    Bowl of burned popcorn over here ;p really like it how you relate things like this to fitness

  • http://www.skinglowing.com/ jessie

    That was funny yet great! Intensity always matters! Anything that is done regular has a enhanced impact :)
    Bench press is the best of all for a massive six-packs