Caffeine and curly fries - Volume 1
1 cup common sense
500ml open mindedness
1/2 cup critical thinking
3 tbsp research
Place common sense in a mixing bowl. Take ego and smash with rolling pin, then mix in with common sense and let dissolve. In a separate bowl add critical thinking and research, leave for 30mins until they're at room temperature, then add context, experience and open mindedness and mix well. Combine both and let sit for 3-4 hours.
Once ingested, use to aid in challenging your own thinking, and my thinking while reading the following content.
Note - The ability to think for yourself could be dangerous, use with caution.
In the universe of movement/fitness/health/human-being-ness, the destination to whatever it is we're trying to achieve should be (for the most part) irrelevant, however that's not really the way it is. The notion that measuring success by completion of a task is an approach that focuses on one metric out of multiple. Before moving forward, there is one quote that sums all of this up - "more is not better, better is better"- period.
This stems from observing behaviour in an exercise environment, and is probably mostly aimed at the same crowd. However i'm all about common themes and reproducibility across a broad range of applications. Meaning that the principles that govern best practices when standing also stand true when squatting, jumping, running. The way you sleep effects the way you eat effects the way you think effects the way sleep. The processes you use when understanding and developing skills in the gym are the same when learning an instrument or gaining a qualification.
Deviating from this path slightly, another theme which is common and which also interests me is the way we think about dysfunction. More often than not, we use a bunch of isolated, somewhat artificial tools to fix whatever dysfunction we've created by not functioning properly in the first place. You know, we do exercises or take pills or even force ourselves immobile to fix back pain, yet we don't know how to organise our spine during everyday life. We hunt endlessly for the magic pill to improve heath, without prioritising our baseline quality of food. Have you ever seen an animal rupture their achilles, or sign up for a calorically restricted diet? No, because animals just eat food, and move, and do stuff that animals do. They haven't had a reason to develop a set of isolated tools, products or procedures to fix the dysfunctions of a system.
Tying this back into the conversation of viewing success as task completion, and how much of a shitty and incomplete model this is, we have to realise that we're not animals. We don't live in a normal, natural environment. We don't always eat real food and our environment forces us to adapt the way we move. Animals can just complete a task, because they live in a 'normal' environment. Let me put this into context with a few examples.
1) You're hungry, so you eat something. Task completion = are you satiated yes/No?
If yes then task completed. In a normal world the conversation would end here. In our world the conversation should include questions like - Did your choice in food promote or decline the health of your digestive system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system? Did your choice in food contribute to local and/or systemic inflammation? Did your choice in food create a positive psychological relationship with food?
2) You need to get to X location for X reason. Task completion = Did you arrive at goal location yes/no?
If you got where you wanted to go then task completed. But did you do so without running anyone over, without overheating your car, without a flat tyre, without getting a speeding ticket?
My point here is that i'm trying to connect the dots between the desired outcome, and what you did to achieve it. Because it's how you go about it that makes all the difference. How you go about moving from A to B, climbing a hill, doing a gym workout is your rehab/prehab program! Injury prevention and rehabilitation (for the most part) shouldn't be independent of everyday movement. How you organise your body when you move during everyday life either eliminates or accentuates dysfunction. The principles that govern the way your body stabilises itself when you brush your teeth are the same when you're playing sport, it's just on a different end of the priority spectrum. The food you eat should promote gut health and weight maintenance and brain function and normal hormonal function. It's all interconnected, a system of systems. Do you see the theme? Integration trumps isolation.
I'm not saying that fixing issues with isolated processes or approaches is a problem as such, but it becomes a problem when it's applied to a fundamentally broken system. It needs to work in and be understood with the same principles that govern the way the system works in the first place. I can continue to apply bandaids to my bleeding shins, but if i don't stop walking into the coffee table then i'll never fix the root of the problem.
When you think about it, my job as a personal trainer only exists because somewhere along the way the modern world has deviated from the environment in which our physiology evolved. The way we move (or don't move - and i don't mean 'energy expenditure'), eat, work, create and deal with stress is vastly different than how we've been programmed.
I'm also not implying that technology and society are going to be the death of us, obviously, but there are clearly some contradicting themes. What i'm saying is that movement is a necessity. Whether it's planned exercise or just walking to work. But the way you move and your consciousness around it is more important than how much or how fast you did it.
Life is a skill