This post is for all you cats who are still struggling to develop a taste for exercise, fighting to come to terms with yourselves as physical, moving animals.
My New Year’s challenge to you for 2014 is to find a movement practice that means something to you. Our fitness culture revolves around this dogmatic notion that exercise needs to happen in the gym. It’s time to shatter that paradigm.
Just to be clear, I definitely consider formal movement training important. The gym is your lab, as CrossFitters (like the Supple Leopard) love to say, and by working on these formal expressions of human movement we learn a lot about our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Formal strength and conditioning also gives us the tools we need to patch up these holes in our athletic profiles to stay strong and injury-free.
But that doesn’t mean that fitness begins and ends within those walls.
To really enjoy an active lifestyle and stay fit for the long haul you need to find an expression of movement that speaks to you. There is no need to torture yourself grinding away your hours at something you find boring when there are so many engaging options available to you.
It’s time to break out of your comfort zone! Strike a few yoga poses, defy gravity at a climbing gym, go all out in a CrossFit class, learn to throw a few punches and kicks, nail that handstand, or become a technically-strong runner. Do something that excites you! And hell, if the pursuit of fitness for fitness sake excites you (as it does me), then count yourself lucky and enjoy your time in the gym.
Fitness is about more than just calories, inches, reps, and pump. It’s about experiencing your body and its incredible potential. It’s about finding your limits and shattering them. You should learn something about yourself and gain the physical skills you need to be strong, healthy, and functional for your entire life.
But don’t forget to add a little formal training into the mix. Underscore your movement practice with a sound strength and conditioning program. Even the best machines need a tune-up here and there, and who knows, you might just come to enjoy that too.
Learn to love movement and fitness will come easily.
Post your favorite activities to the comments! You might just inspire somebody to try something new.