More and more we see capability lost, people not able to do certain movements because they are too immobile. They can’t do certain activities because they are too unfit or not strong enough. We struggle with stress and managing emotions. Lack of movement and sedentary lifestyles make us weak. The human race is slipping more and more into the trap of laziness, inactivity and worst of all FRAGILITY. People are become more fragile as time progresses. Mentally and physically. We need to change that. We need to become MORE CAPABLE HUMANS. We need to expand our capabilities. Our bodies are amazing and adaptable things. If we use it the right way we can do brilliant things.
The problem is most people don’t know how. We don’t have a user manual for ourselves. Well actually we do, it’s mostly innate and unconscious. We all start out well when we are kids we play, run around, roughhouse, challenge and develop our movement capacity. Then when we start school most of us lose the plot. We fall into patterns of movement and more so lack of movements. We do a few movement often. We sit in the same position all the time. We play sport, usually one in summer and one in winter. These days it tends more towards one sport year round. We lose variety in our movement. We stop playing, improvising and challenging our movement skill sets as we grow older. For the most part this is not our fault, it’s just the way society works. Once you know this it does become your responsibility. This is the start of building a user manual. This is the start of you building your own operating manual to your life.
For the everyday person. The person who plays a sport to stay active and be fit and healthy. What are they missing by just going for a run, mountain biking or just hitting the gym? There are so many areas of movement from all of the different sports, martial arts, yoga, CrossFit, dance, the list is endless. What do we need to do to be more capable? It starts with a mind shift, a shift from fitness to ability.
People train for fitness and the problem is that fitness is limited. It doesn’t address expanding our ability. Expanding on the things that we can do. The mind-set behind it is wrong. We get trapped in it. We let it define us. People who do CrossFit let themselves be defined by their WODS and lift maxes. Runners define themselves by their marathon and 10k times. Mountain bikers, gym rats, yoga people all define their movement by their practice and not the other way around. Whether it is intentional or not, it happens. If your focus is to be the best at that, then by all means go ahead, but if your life revolves around more than just that one thing. Then you should stop and think about what you are doing. We compartmentalize ourselves. We separate the different areas of our lives and forget that they interact. We separate ourselves into Work/studies, exercise, social, relationships, etc. All of this makes up your life and they interact, one affects the other. Your training can improve your ability to handle stress, which has an effect on your work or studies. Your social life has an effect on your training. We separate our mind from our bodies. You hear it in the way people speak about training. Like the mind is a master of the body. They work in unison. The mind affects the body and the body effects the mind. Everything you do has an effect. What is the big picture effect? The point of going to the gym should not be to be better at the gym. Training is a tool. A tool to make you better at life, to expand your capability to handle the demands placed on you.
People get good at one subset of skills and lack in others. People jog 5 times per week and are still fat and immobile because they fill their body with shit food and don’t move through a full and varied range of motion. They have gotten good at the skill of running but lack in the skills of mobility and nutrition. Guys go to gym, mostly to look good and be good at moving bits of iron. When they talk about gym the question comes up. How much do you bench? How much do you deadlift? I did and still do this. Tracking these things is good for measuring your progress, but in the greater scheme of things they have no bearing in life. What have you done with these numbers that is the real question? How does it transfer to life? They have the skill of lifting symmetrical bits of iron but does it transfer to life. I’m not hating on lifting weights, I love lifting. Lifting weights definitely transfers to strength in life, but there is a point of diminishing returns, where lifting more does not benefit you more. Don’t lose perspective. Why are you lifting the weights in the first place? Is having a double bodyweight bench press relevant and necessary? I am not saying be weak. You must be strong, but will lifting more weight make you stronger? We must keep this in mind when training and not let EGO get in the way. I struggle with this like most people. To quote Chip Conrad of Bodytribe, “Strength equals ability”.
Our bodies were built to move. Yes, our jobs and studies require us to sit a lot and not move, but that is a bullshit excuse. Our standards for what is acceptable for being human are too low. We need to be more capable humans. We need to change our standards. We must develop our abilities to truly be stronger.
Why do we have to do some of the things we do? We get caught in a trap because of statements like “but that’s how it is” or “that’s how we have always done it”. If you look around how we are doing it isn’t working that well. Diseases of inactivity is on the increase. If we stop and think about what we are doing, we will realise that what we are doing is not the best way. Sitting excessively is not good for you. So why, after a day of sitting at work or school do we come home and sit and “recover” in the same position? Why not move around or sit in a different position? We need to change the way we think about movement. THINK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Do you want to move well? Do you want to keep moving well when you are older? Do you want to be strong, capable and more resilient? Then maybe you are doing the wrong thing.
Why are you training? Really, get to the bottom of it. Some people say they train to lose weight, but don’t get it right. That’s not the actual reason. If it was then they would succeed. Deep down those people are ok with being fat. It sounds bad, but it’s the hard truth. You have to find your real why, when you do that you will most probably lose weight as a by-product. Getting out of shape is a product of your lifestyle. Nobody goes out of their way to eat to get fat. Question your lifestyle. What is wrong in your lifestyle that makes you fat? I thought I wanted bigger, I trained to be bigger and I gained weight but I didn’t keep it. In the end I wasn’t consistent or successful, because I don’t really care about being big. Sure it would be nice to be bigger and more muscular, but it’s not a necessity for me. It does not limit my performance in what I want to do. I want to be effective. That is what I train for and in training for this I have gained muscle. Not excessive amounts, but effective amounts. I want to be able to do as many things as possible. Hiking, archery, martial arts, mountain biking, rock climbing, to name a few. I want to do these activities and more at a decent level of skill and I want to keep learning new skills. To do this I need to be strong. I don’t need the best squat, deadlift or bench, but it needs to be reasonably high. I need a monster work capacity and most importantly a huge MOVEMENT CAPACITY.
Movement capacity is like your reading ability. If your reading level is at grade 3 you can only read books up to a grade 3 level. If you reading level is grade 12 and beyond, you can read and understand so much more. How useful are you? How many skills do you have and how useful are they in your life?
“Do you live to train or train to live”, these are two markedly different things. If you are stiff, have a lot of niggles or can’t walk 5km without your heart falling out of your chest, your training has holes in it.
Are you capable?
Running for more than 3km
Lifting heavy objects
Jumping over a wall
Tackling your opposition
Throwing and catching a ball
Defending yourself and your loved ones
Handling the stress of you daily life
Playing with your kids
Playing with your grandkids
Going for a hike
Climbing a tree
Carrying all the groceries in one trip
Walking up a few flights of stairs
…. The list of things is endless
I suck at a lot of things. In trying different activities I realised this and realised there were and still are some holes in my training. It is a process to correct this and it is running and getting better every day. The saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but what if the dog got old faster because it stopped learning new tricks