A Brief History of Humankind’s Desperate Attempts to Stay Fit

Having trouble sticking to your exercise routine? Don’t feel bad. Just look at our long drawn-out relationship with exercise gear—from discus to Thighmaster to jBells.

Read the full article at: www.wsj.com

As the author states, “Machines are nothing, motivation is everything”.  But willpower is not a superpower.  Willpower is for people who haven’t made up their minds.  If you’ve already committed to getting fit. then it’s just a matter of sticking to the choices you’ve already made in advance.

In his blog post about mental toughness, Tim Ferriss quotes former Navy Seal Trainer Jocko Willink:

“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.”

He says it’s ok to start small.  If skipping that second martini and dessert is the plan then don’t think about it, just do it.  Even going to bed an hour earlier may take a significant amount of discipline.  So just make the plan & stick to it.

But why is it that so many people abandon their New Year’s resolution to get fit even before Valentine’s Day?

The answer is the monotony, the drudgery , the soul-crushing boredom and lame-ass results.  Gyms and fitness machines have constrained our movements into mechanized, repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range peripheral isolation moves that quickly cause you to lose motivation and just don’t give you the results you want to see in the mirror.

The author states what most of us are feeling:

“I’m looking for motivation that can beat the instant gratification of a peanut-butter cup. I want something that provides results before I throw in the towel.”

So the simple solution is to push slightly beyond your own limitations every day and the results you will experience will serve as a positive feedback motivation loop that will keep you motivated.  Get off the treadmill and instead of exercising like a machine start moving like  the human body was designed to move.

Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.  According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”

There are no ‘leg days’, ‘back days’, ‘arm days’, or recovery days, there are only whole-body days. You’ve got a whole body, right? so why not use it? Instead of mechanistically bulking up the same tiny bundle of mid-range isolated muscle fibers every day, why not stimulate the maximum number of fibers over the entire range of temporal-spatial dimensions available to you?  Why not let everything get more defined, stronger and more agile in balance with everything else?

Reject the limits that other people and the ‘exercise’ establishment have placed on you.  Stop exercising and start learning how to move.



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