Are You Sure You Don't Just Need to Poop?

Justin Lind


Kettlebells, CrossFit, Mobility & Recovery

“Are you sure you don’t just need to poop?”


An interesting question, and on an issue on which questioned should feel quite clear, without the questioner’s investigatory assistance. However, I’ve received this question on more accounts than I can remember.



It was the standard first question in my household for tummy aches, nausea, etc. My younger brothers and I have a longstanding joke that our mom would ask for nearly every type of illness, digestion-related or not, and for far longer than warranted to help her now-adult sons diagnose their ailments.


While the subject of my mom’s inquiry is comical, we can learn from the spirit of her question. She aimed to discern whether our sick feelings were from something simple and easily solved, before attributing them to a more serious illness.


Mom Really Did Know Best

In the fitness world, we love to nitpick our schedules, diets, and programs. When we feel tired, a bit lethargic, or that we are not progressing exactly as we feel we should, we scrutinize our regimen for the flaw. We deem that there must be some imperfection. When we have an off day in our training, we can easily jump the conclusion that we are getting weak, getting old, not training properly, not booking enough massages, or not doing enough mobility work.


I agree that we should always examine our training and our life for ways to improve. But we also need to remember that off days happen. There are so many aspects that effect your mood and physical condition, and we so easily forget to check in first with the simplest solutions.


Next time you’re not quite feeling yourself, inside the gym or out, ask yourself how you’re doing with the most basic of human needs. I find that when an off day or a bad mood strike, it's usually not a sign of deeper issue in my life; I probably just missed some sleep or haven’t eaten in a while.


Maybe your poor training day isn’t a sign that you’re a terrible athlete who might as well hang it right now. Maybe you needed to drink more water the last few days.


Maybe your bad mood isn’t a sign that you are deeply discontented in your life. Maybe you just need a snack.


You can probably optimize your fitness regimen in many areas. However, none of those tweaks while bring maximal benefit if you’re not taking care of those most basic of factors for human thriving: nutritious food, plenty of water, great sleep (in both quality and quantity), sunshine, and maybe some hugs, smiles, laughter along the way.


Every problem does not have a simple answer, but most do. Next time your training isn’t going quite as planned, or it’s just been an off day, ask yourself:


Are you sure you don’t just need to poop?





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