Fit Lessons from Tiling Walls
Bear with me here. There are a lot of lessons we can gather from tiling that fit into fitness. The lesson is first in tiling, then related to fitness. Have an open mind and think about your own fitness journey and how these lessons could apply to you and ultimately help you achieve your goals.
Be Prepared. Have your tape, mixing stick, water buckets, etc. If you’re not prepared, you lose time, you lose workability with the product (grout). And starting over from the beginning sucks ass when you just want to get to the finished product. It’s just like being prepared to get to your physical goals. Being prepared- food scale, food staples, shoes set out for morning workouts, water containers for easy hydration, etc. makes your ability to get shit done way easier. No more starting over on Monday because you didn’t have enough veggies and protein in the house this weekend and you ended up eating out.
Rinse your Sponge Often. It doesn’t matter if the water is murky and you can’t see the sponge once it’s in. The point is not to clean the wall, it is to stop the grout from flashing too quick while dialing in and correcting mistakes (air pockets, uneven thickness, blah blah blah). Rinsing your sponge often is like re-evaluating often. It’s not to make things perfect, but to get one step closer to the finished product. If you don’t reevaluating your patterns/habits, progress, life, goals, abilities, likes and dislikes, you’re going to watch your habits “flash” and then you have to start over. Rinse your sponge often. This is one reason why communication with a coach is so important. We are constantly evaluating what is going on, progress made, what’s working and seems to not be working, for whatever reason. When evaluation isn’t possible because there is no communication, it gets more difficult to steer you in the right direction if we don’t know where we currently stand.
Some tile is ugly, some is pretty. If the home owner likes it, you like it, even if you don’t. It’s not my bathroom to use, my tub to soak in. I won’t be looking at this tile for years to come, but every time this home owner gets in this tub they will enjoy this tile… In health and fitness we don’t always like the things necessary to be healthy and fit (exercise, veggies). And other stuff we love (visible abs, less winded when working out, stronger, bigger muscle, eating more, etc) comes, most often, from the stuff we don't like to do. It doesn’t really matter what you like and don’t like sometimes, it matters whether or not you’re willing to do the things that allow you to sit back and enjoy your health and fitness for years to come.
You can’t fuck it up worse than you can fix it. It’s true. Everything is fixable… with the right tools. If I don’t have a sponge, toilet paper is a shit option for rinsing grout. If I don’t have a trowel, my hands are a poor choice for packing grout into tiny crevices. But there are tools that make everything easier. And if I fuck it up, I can fix it with another tool. Might take me some time and elbow grease but I really can’t fuck it up so bad that it can’t be fixed. Similar you can’t really fuck up when it comes to health and fitness. Sure, you can go off the rails on some foods during a weekend, hell even a week or two, but you can’t fuck it up so bad you can’t correct corse and get back to progress. Didn’t lift for a couple months? Ok, start now…. go on a walk, do some yoga at home. Seriously, you can’t fuck this up!
It’s never perfect. To the person walking into the bathroom they see ‘new’ ‘perfect’ and exactly what they wanted. To me? I see millimeters of difference between lines, the corner that I wish I could have made the sponge lines more uniform. Everything glares at me, but they see what they want. It’s just like that with our bodies. We see someone else and think they have the ‘perfect’ body, exactly what we want. They see a little more fat they want to lose, or muscles groups not quite as big as they’d like. We see ourselves differently than others. So while you’re comparing yourself to the photo shopped bikini model just know she’s comparing herself to the CrossFit athletes and they are comparing themselves to the body builders. Be happy with the progress you made and be proud of where you are. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive for better, but giving yourself no credit won’t make you like what you have anymore.
To piggy back on #5, when a homeowner walked into a room freshly tiled they see new tile. They don’t see the work that went into it (unless they be creeping’ around the corner which is not abnormal). They rarely see the work that goes into mixing the grout, the spills and drips from the sponge and extra water, the clean up (the WORST part) of grout from your bucket, loads of water carried in and out and then the same to clean the buckets and equipment. Similar, people see the finished weight loss, the bodybuilder on stage. They don’t see the going to be hungry, the passing on Friday night pizza with the family, opting for salad and chicken and water instead. They don’t see the hours in the gym, rearranging your schedule to get the cardio in. It’s not always a pretty process to get to these magnificent end points. So be real. If you want to tile a wall, go for it. If you want to compete in a show, do it. But know that the behind the scenes is for more work than you think. Go into it prepared, ready and willing to learn from the process.
Practice makes easier, but never perfect. The more I tile, the better I get. The measurements are easier to determine, the cutting of the tile becomes less hit or miss, and the entire process is far less daunting. Same with fitness. The more you do it, the less monumental it becomes. Nutrition is the same way. The more you prepare your own foods the easier it becomes. You will never get it all perfect forever. Sometimes you will eat too much, workout too little, sustain injury or a host of other issues. But the more you do it the better you become at mitigating the ‘whoopsies’.
It’s worth it. No, it not fun, my shoulders get tired, I sweat, I am tired when I get home. But I feel accomplished. I feel good knowing I did something that made a difference - even if it’s just a tiled wall….. even if it’s just a little cardio. The accomplishment is worth it. The outcome is worth it. So just do it. You can’t not grout a tiled wall or floor. The tiles break, it takes on water, the look is unfinished. Similar you can’t half ass your training or nutrition. You can make it work (no grout) but why would you?
In the end, you get a nice tiled, schnazzy lookin’ wall. It takes some work, some personal determination but it gets done, no one cares what you went through to get it and you walk away knowing you did what was best and not just what was easy (leave it be with the shit wall paper, 1950’s vanity, linoleum floor and gross af bathtub. I’ll let you come up with your own adjectives for staying fat, lazy and feeling gross).
I tiled this wall. I’m proud of this wall. I’ll do it again somewhere else next week.
I train this body. I’m proud of this body. I’ll do it again tomorrow and the next day.