Justifiably, you may well say “Because I flipping well enjoy it, that’s why!”
However, it is an interesting point that is, no doubt, made to make us think a little about the physical activities that we engage in, especially in the gym. Think for a moment of the coolest stuff you’ve ever seen an athlete or performer do – I’m fairly confident that whatever comes to mind was achieved by an individual who has developed some sort of mastery over their own body.
And it was cool.
And it looked fun.
And you would love to be able to do it.
Ok, so clearly, unless you’re some freak of the cosmos, if you take up gymnastics tomorrow you’re not going to be out-tumbling the Chinese team at the next Olympics. However, whatever your capabilities are, whatever athleticism resides within you, chances are it’s full potential remains untapped.
So wouldn’t it be great to find out what that is?
Wouldn’t it be fun?
Of course it would.
It’s so easy to stagnate, trapped in the comfort-bubble of your exercise ‘routine’, even when you’re honest enough to realise that it’s not really getting you the results you wanted when you started.
This is why I am such a huge fan of bodyweight exercises – when you remove the restrictive confines of conventional gym-machinery and their reliance on simplistic, one-dimensional movements you can start to think of the endless movement possibilities that have always been available to your body.
I think of movement as being like music – the possibility of creating original music will never cease to exist, due to the infinite number of combinations that can be made with different notes (admittedly, few popular ‘artists’ these days feel the need to do so!).
And so it is the same with the patterns of movement that you can create with your body.
However, it is good to learn the basic ‘chords’ first. You may think you know how to, but getting your squat, lunge, push-up and, of course, pull-up right takes some work. These fundamentals should be perfected as, along with twisting, they are the bedrock of human movement. They’ll enable you to run, swim, crawl and climb faster, jump higher and longer, throw further and be the coolest kid on the dance-floor when you bust your moves (OK maybe not…)
Always pick a point to start from that is appropriate to whatever your ability-level is now. That way you will avoid setting yourself up for failure when you attempt that triple back-flip you saw Wesley Snipes do in ‘Blade Trinity’.
Once you’re on point, you can start to get imaginative. Add twists, turns, different grips, limb positions, move across the floor or up the tree even. Create ‘flows’ by piecing movements together to create your own ‘choreography’.
What do you think will happen to your body if you start training in this way?
Well for a start you’ll have lots of fun so all the positive emotions and hormone responses that creates will flood through your system, energising you and keeping you motivated. You’ll stop seeing your workout as a necessary-evil and instead find it a more fulfilling experience on a holistic level.
“Great, sounds very hippy-dippy, but what about getting some actual results?” you may ask.
And herein lies the true beauty in pushing your body to move in ways that it is not used to – by unlocking previously unopened doors you discover new ways to become stronger, faster and slimmer.
We had it right when we were children and took joy in monkeying around.
We just forgot how to play and became a little scared of grazing our knees.
So, let’s ‘man-up’ shall we?
Personal Trainer at The Field- Training Lifestyle Centre