Sailors 'taking an observation'
I saw some people training in the gym today. They were young, and new here. One was showing the other a range of exercises - lunges, pulldowns, sit-ups with a medicine ball. I’m not sure what their ‘motivation’ was, but what it looked like was two people just playing around and seeing what works.
I like that.
It reminds me - a couple of months ago two girls - they were maybe fourteen or fifteen - came in, and they started training. One of them was like, “okay I’ll be your personal trainer today” and she stood, feet apart, hands on her hips and started saying things like “push harder!” and “you gotta earn it! C’mon go faster… You can do it! Only ten more seconds!” And her friend ‘picked up the pace’.
I don’t see adults role-playing like that. Neither one had trained to be a trainer, but they nailed it exactly. It was free, it was game-time at the gym, they were both training and having fun. They did what they wanted - what felt safe and fun, and they didn’t do what they didn’t want to. And they asked a couple of questions as they went, when they were unsure.
There’s nothing secret about good training. If it’s fun, if it’s rewarding, if it’s quality time by yourself or with a friend - then it’s good training. It’s as intense or as intimidating as you want it to be. If it’s too intimidating, try taking some pressure off yourself. Remember that it’s time for play and self-discovery.
When I get too obsessed about nailing a certain lift, or making big jumps in my progression, I’ll start to get anxious. What if I don’t look right? What if I fail?
If I do, it won’t matter. But I don’t want that fear and doubt to stop me from trying. That self-imposed pressure will make me hold back – it’ll make me less likely to want to train in the first place. So I remind myself: so what? If I fail, I’ll learn something, and anyway - it is actually enough to just go to the gym and play.
Not only is it enough, I think it’s more important than ‘getting serious’ about your training. There’s time to get serious later, when you want, when it’s the right step.
Why be serious about it? Really? In the name of thinness? Because you want to get ‘real results’? Your body doesn’t care about ‘results’. Good health isn’t a ‘result’, it’s a continuum. Simply moving is good for you, and it’s not because of the calories you burn. Your body changes and adapts over a period of time. Maybe you’ll go to the gym a hundred times this year? Not one of those sessions is magically going to turn you into an athlete, but if you invest in what makes you feel good, what satisfies you - then you might learn something and develop an appreciation of training for all the things that make it good, rather than being fixated on all the things that make it bad - all the negative associations we have with image expectations, health prejudice and ‘the gym’. All the pressures we put on ourselves and each other.
If in doubt, do what you feel like. Watch someone else training, and try what they were doing. See what it feels like.
If you’re tired, rest. When you're ready, go again - until you’re satisfied.
Y’know - whatever works for you, where you’re at today. Fitness exists only in context. What do you feel like – now?