Pushups: It has been my observation that only an extremely small portion of the adult population in the US can even do one single push-up at this point.
I can’t tell you many dozens of times I’ve had this verbatim conversation with a male client on his first day to train with me:
Me: Can you do a push-up?
Client: Yeah of course!! (ie: what a stupid question, why would you ever ask that??)
Me: Ok, how many pushups do you think you can do?
Client: At least 20-25
Me: Ok great.
5 minutes later - after we finish the initial fitness consultation/goal discussion etc and start our first workout.
I have them get down on the floor to try pushups and - trying with all their might - they get exactly ZERO pushups. Zero.
It’s always a humiliating moment for them as they are absolutely baffled as the reality sinks in. Last time they checked (20 years ago when they were 20 years old) they could do at least a couple dozen pushups...and they just assumed that they still could today 20 years later.
I have observed that the fitness gap between trained and untrained people is massive. Astoundingly massive. People who are out of shape generally don’t have any idea just how our of shape they are. Then they just show up to the gym and say “I want to lose 50lbs ASAP.”
Then I have to break the news to them that their body is 1) not even currently capable of performing the exercise necessary to achieve that goal at the speed they desire and 2) if they actually did try pushing they body hard enough to achieve such weight loss quickly, they would likely get themselves injured because their connective tissues are all weak, inflexible, and vulnerable - making them seriously susceptible to injury.
I then have to explain that we:
It is never a fun conversation. Not at all. Thankfully, I have found that most adults who come to me are mature enough, and have been successful in other areas of their life, to actually digest the information well and immediately recognize the truth of the reality that I am explaining.
They didn’t get fat and weak overnight and they’re not going to get lean and strong overnight either.
It may have taken them 20 years to get as out of shape as they are. It won’t take 20 years to get back in shape of course. But it won’t take 20 weeks either. It’s going to take at least a couple of years of serious effort to get them to a point
It’s not different than any other area of life...
Rust and rot destroy. A garden untended, fills with weeds. A bank account that is withdrawn on continuously - but never deposited into - runs dry. These are simply realities of life on earth.
When items are left unmaintained, they fall apart. Rebuilding them is not easy.
However maintenance is fairly easy. But it requires consistency. And consistency requires discipline.
Discipline. Not a fun word, I know. But it’s life. And unfortunately the facts don’t care how we feel about them. They are not sensitive. They just ARE.
We can deny them - to our own detriment. Or accept them - and do what it takes to cooperate with them - and flourish.