I have known so many people who are resistant to training because they feel trapped, constrained by the feeling that they have to do this thing, this thing that they hate. That they must spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, on the bike, or 'doing' weights, and for what? Improved health and vitality? There are so many different programs out there, and it's crap. Which is to say it's all good, if you like it, but if you don't - it's a complete waste of your time to train. You won't get a thing out of it, except for more negative associations. And where will that leave us?
You hear that kind of objection. I don't buy it for a second. This thing, that I call me - the body and mind aren't these two separate things. You can't do something with your body that you despise, that makes you feel trapped and abused, and be working towards your health. You just can't. This is why I don't go to boot camps, and it's why I don't run them. I don't want to sacrifice my autonomy and own good opinion for the sake of burning calories. Those fucking calories.
Train when it's fun. Don't train when it isn't. Finish your session when it's still fun, not when you've squeezed all the joy out of it. Not when you're too depleted to care.
I saw a clip the other day, it was all about that whole 'you gotta want it' stuff. Really? How is 'wanting' it more going to grant me the skill of applying myself to a task with commitment and dedication? How is it going to help me break down my program into realistic and efficient steps for progression? What happens if I stop 'wanting' it - do I stop training? What happens if I 'achieve' it? How is 'wanting' it superior to enjoying it? How is 'wanting' it superior to intelligent program design? Or superior to moving with joy and spontaneity?
Everyone seems to think that they need to be hard on themselves if they're going to get anywhere. They need to punish themselves, push through failure, do this extra set of whatever whiz-bang blah-de-whatzit, that is the secret to lasting badassery.
Where does it get us? Anywhere at all? I've done the 'push through' stuff, disciplined myself to training, and now I'm training in a way that I actually enjoy - now I'm stronger and faster than ever before. I'm working on my own weaknesses in a way I enjoy, I'm working on weaknesses while playing to my strengths, and I've progressed not because of discipline, pushing or punishing myself, but because of self-education, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of what I like, in the moment. Not what I 'want' in some sort of vague future-success, athletic-based-badassery capacity.
What does it mean to have a real experience of exercise? It's like mindful eating. Firstly, there's no such thing as exercise that isn't real. A distracted experience is just as real as a focused one. All experiences are valid. An idle whatever is no less useful or worthwhile than a dedicated and concentrated thingy. If you're paying attention, you'll learn something, and if you're not paying attention, who cares? Who wants to concentrate all the time? How does that help make things fun?
Sometimes a light, distracted jog is great. Sometimes dedicated and focused skills-acquisition is what I need. Sometimes it's many simple repetitions of a hard exercise. Sometimes with friends, but mostly alone these days, doing my thing. I never liked team sports. I don't play well with the other children.
What is the free, unencumbered physical expression of emotion? And is that a goal worth working towards, anyway?
And how do we undo all the damage that calorie counting has done to us, as a society, and as individuals? How do we rehabilitate our idea of training?
For answers to these and other questions, simply purchase my $1000 program 'How To Fix Everything That's Wrong With Everything'.
Note: program may not actually exist.
Read Part One.
Read Part Three.