The Forgotten Importance of Warming Up (Bonus: Hacking Job Interviews)

“Yeah, and this is only the Warm Up” – Jermaine Cole


Jermaine Cole

When I was in London I got a chance to meet up with some of the best pick-up artists around. (Note: Be open minded. Be willing to learn from anybody achieving success in their field. Anybody.)

What I instantly found fascinating was – as good as these guys were, they still considered the first two girls they spoke to on any given day to be “warm up sets” or “throw away sets”: basically just conversations to practice and get into the social mood and feel for the day.

The Warm Up.

When I ran track in high school we had a routine. Every practice started with jogging a mile then stretching. Only after that did the real practice start.

You didn’t want to stretch cold muscles. It was important for them to be warm. Important to be lose.

P90x (which I’ve done twice) starts off every day in a similar way – warm up then stretch.

How Important is the Warm Up?

Well, when I was doing P90x I once tried to do pull-ups cold without warming up or stretching. I pulled something in my pectorals and couldn’t do chest workouts for a week. I had to skip them.

Professionals Warm Up

J.J. Redick is one of the best three-point and free throw shooters in the NBA. He set loads of scoring records at Duke University – one of the biggest basketball powerhouses in the country. Everyday when he steps on the court he takes his first 50 shots from 5-7 feet away from the basket. He doesn’t need to practice 5 foot jumpers, he’s J.J. Redick. Why does he do it?

To warm up his stroke before he attempts/practices longer distance shots.

Warming up gets on video game covers

Warming up gets you on video game covers

When I was in Japan, I read an article written for English teachers about the importance of warming up your students. It talks about the importance of warming up your students through a game or a song – to get them thinking in English and ready to speak in English for the day’s lesson.

The same was true for me when studying Japanese. Just starting out cold on any day I’d be rusty. A bit of Japanese audio (in the form of a podcast or an easy-listening song) always helped get me into Japanese mode. Otherwise the first 5-10 minutes of conversation with my language partners would be me fumbling about trying to get a feel for the language again. Never mind that I just had an hour long conversation yesterday – I still needed to warm up.

Performers do it. Every been to a comedy show? Or a concert? What do they both have in common?

They always have opening acts. The opening act is usually somebody lesser known who is doing it to get exposure to a larger audience but it has a benefit to the main act as well. The opening act is there to warm up the audience.

If you attend something like The Daily Show in New York, you’ll see this work two ways. An opening act will come out, do some stand up to warm up the audience, and then Jon Stewart will come out, do a little stand up, and answer a few audience questions (with witty retorts) before he sits down at the desk and the cameras start rolling. Why? To warm himself up for the show.

Hacking Things Like Job Interviews

If you ever have a job interview coming up and you google “how to do well in a job interview” you get a bunch of stupid basic advice like: look professional, shake their hand, and don’t wear too much cologne.

Really?? If you need tips on basic grooming you should go back to pre-school and just start from scratch.

Why is most of the advice on the the internet so awful and basic?

Sometimes you get advice a little better like: research the company before you get there. But again, this is basic knowledge and really just the price of admission these days.

How do you really pass a job interview? You sell yourself and they like you.

That’s basically it.

It’s all about being social really. But you really could be at a disadvantage here. Let’s say you’ve woken up, spent hours on your basic grooming like most websites recommend since you’re apparently a sloppy pig most days, you’ve studied your flashcards and interview notes and then walked into the job interview… but, you haven’t actually talked to anybody today.

Your interviewers probably came into the office, probably talked to a handful of different people already, seen a few of their co-worker friends, cracked some jokes, shot the shit, etc.

You may not have even had a conversation yet today and the first impression is everything.

Don’t come into the job interview socially rusty.  Don’t let your interviewer be the first person you hold a real conversation with today.

Warm up first.


What I’ve found is the best warm up simulates the real environment as much as possible. Since interviews are likely with strangers you’ve never met before you need to warm up by talking to strangers.

Yes, everything you learned as a kid is wrong. Especially that “don’t talk to strangers” bit. It’s complete nonsense. I can’t think of any advice more damaging.

Yes, DO

Yes, DO

To do this never schedule the job interview in the morning. There’s not enough time to warm up. Take an afternoon time slot, and preferably late afternoon so its not right after lunch. Throw on your fancy clothes and head to the business district or someplace near enough to your interview location where you know you can meet a few random strangers.

Stop random strangers in the street (compliment their tie, ask for the time, whatever to get them to stop and talk) and try to push the conversation as long as you can before they walk away. Find out what they do and try to sell yourself to them. Offer to help and whatever way you can devise on the spot, tell them you’re a contractor, exchange business cards, etc.

Then after you get a few street sales leads walk into your interview with a strut and your head held high. You’re warmed up now. You’re glowing. It shows.


Can you think of any other skills you’ve built or anything else you’ve practiced where warming up has been beneficial? Let me know in the comments below.


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