Trial, Error, and Triumph: The Comedy of Mistakes

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

It’s easy to want to give up when things don’t work out, but there’s a method behind the madness that keeps you at it to achieve success. One way to combat this cycle is by trial and error. I’m sure you’ve heard of this term as it relates to all aspects of life.

The Trial and Error concept is all about learning a method that works for you through a continuous process. It’s a useful learning tool that gives us reassurance to realize that making mistakes or failing isn’t all a bad thing, if we can learn and grow from it!

Trial and Error is defined by; “a way of achieving an aim or solving a problem by trying a number of different methods and learning from the mistakes that you make so you can do it again better”.

This process allows us to understand, analyze, reevaluate, and try again in a different way until we get it right. If we start to use this process intentionally, it could result in a powerful “new way” of performing your workouts, especially on the Total Gym. Although it’s a rather simple piece of equipment to use, working out and feeling comfortable on it can take a little trial and error to get it right… and that’s just fine!

Here’s a few Trial and Error phrases I really like and maybe they will resonate with you too

1. Fail your way to success
It’s so true. It’s not always about getting things correct or doing it perfect the first time. It’s about failing and then learning from our mistakes to do better next time. So don’t get let down or feel like you can’t do something. Take a step back, regroup, and try again. It’s always a learning process to do something better.

2. Tried and True
If you’re attempting something new, the first time isn’t always pretty or easy. Try it again and again until you feel comfortable. Once you get your winning formula, it will be true that it works for you.

3. Don’t aim for perfection, strive for success
There is no such thing as perfection. Life is full of flaws that we must overcome and make work easier for us.


• Experiment: Do little experiments to see what you’re doing ineffectually so that it can work better for you. At one point, you will be able to lock in the skill and move on to something else you want to improve.

• Take Note: When doing your experiments, start noting your errors and what caused them. This will allow you to figure out a solution to correct this error and possibly be able to apply it to other things as well.

• Feel the Struggle: Sometimes it’s a “painful” process to figure it out! Don’t be ashamed or scared of this happening. Instead, take all these moments of “failure” as a lesson because you will gain the knowledge to know what you need to fix.

• Take your Time: It’s important to work on one thing at a time and adjust along the way so that it’s not overwhelming to fix everything at once.

These are great reminders to keep trying until you get it right all through a trial and error process. Now let’s relate this to your Total Gym experience in terms of safety and positioning so that you move effortlessly during your workouts.



• Trial: Scenario 1: You attempt to perform squats. You begin by sitting on the closed Glide Board, you walk your feet to the squat stand, and then open it up. It felt right since your body was able to completely lie supine with your head resting. You then begin to perform the squat, but the Glide Board hits the bottom rails in the process. This can happen when your hips are positioned too high on the Glide Board. Scenario 2: You attempt the squat again, but this time, you open the Glide Board too much, put your feet on the squat stand, and then lie down. IF your hips are positioned too low having a longer torso or leg length, the Glide Board may top out by hitting the top of the Total Gym. Both scenarios can happen when the body position is incorrect.

• Error: Bottoming out or topping out during squats, bridges, cardio movements

• Triumph: Your height makes a difference. Once you find the sweet spot for your torso and limb length, you will know how and where to position your body depending on the exercise. This takes experimenting to see what’s best, but once you know… you know and will nail it every time!


• Trial: You just performed a surfer row and are transitioning into a chest press. Without thinking, you exit the Glide Board WITHOUT anchoring down and fall between the rails. Luckily you caught yourself, but realized that you should have anchored down before exiting.

• Error: Loosing balance on an open Glide Board when getting ON or OFF the Total Gym

• Triumph: Loosing your balance, falling, or stumbling over the Total Gym is not a fun experience, however, it does happen when you least expect it! Getting into the habit of anchoring down every single time you get ON or OFF the Glide Board will help reassure that you are safely entering and exiting with control and balance. Soon it will become habit and you will anchor down every time!


• Trial: Having longer hair is a beautiful thing, but it can get in the way from mastering an exercise smoothly, especially when the cables are involved. Scenario: You’re in workout mode and ready to perform supine cable exercises. Without thinking, you lie down into the correct position and you’re ready to go… but, you didn’t realize your hair was hanging into the cables! You proceed into the exercise and BAMMM your hair gets stuck in the cables! Ouch!

• Error: Making sure longer hair is clear from getting caught in the cables

• Triumph: Getting your hair stuck can happen if your hair hangs overtop of the Glide Board and the pulleys are engaged. Trust me, it’s happened to me a dozen of times. Best advice is to completely put your hair up in a bun, wear a hat, or ‘double’ make sure your hair is clear before you move the Glide Board.

This video will explain what potentially could go wrong on your Total Gym and provides a safety share so you know how to correct it for yourself.

The Trial and Error method can be implemented in all areas of your life to guide you through a learning process. Ultimately, we’re always learning and improving through consistency and repetition.

Your takeaway, be fearless and don’t be afraid of failing. Trust the process of trial and error so that you win in all you set out to do.

Best Always,


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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