Steady effort

When it comes to being in shape, consistency is key.

But too many people get caught up in the minutiae, creating programs and perfect 10 year visions of how they want to progress.

Now if you are someone who is a professional athlete this makes complete sense, but for the average  person getting bogged down in these things can be a huge mistake. The most important thing to getting in shape is just to do physical activity, and as I said earlier, do it consistently.

It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it every day and do it well. Walk, run, jump around, get your blood flowing and your muscles straining, and you will be a better, stronger human being as the years go by.

There is no secret sauce, just the miracle of steady effort.

Finding our limits

We have become a soft society, seeking out ways to maximize our comfort and minimizing any kind of discomfort.

This may seem like a good thing, and it is in some ways, there is nothing inherently wrong with being comfortable and finding more efficient ways to do things, especially when it frees up time to do what you truly wish to do.

But unfortunately this seems to lead us to two different extremes.

There are those who wallow in comfort, never getting out of their comfort zone, and subsequently causing a myriad of psychological and physiological issues in the process. Then we have people who cannot seem to recognize that we all have limits and we need to respect those limits before our systems break down as well.

There is a fine line we must balance upon, the idea is to find your limit and very gently cross it, and then retreat and allow ourselves to adapt over time to a new limit and so on.

But many people just don’t take the time for the  introspection it requires to know your limits and overcome them in a healthy manner, while others simply never even begin the search in the first place.

Human beings are adapters, probably the greatest species to ever come into existence on this planet, because our limits, although many, are still radically small compared to the limits of most creatures on this planet.

We should be grateful for this, and push ourselves to be the best we can be, but within reason, and not to the detriment of other things in our lives, like our health and the health and happiness of those we care for.

Find your limits, push them, but remember that life will push back, and it is a hell of a lot stronger than we are.

 

Take a walk

There are a multitude of stressors in our modern society.

Work, friends, family, traffic, there never seems to be an end to the swarm of little irritations that can pile up on you daily.

Many people escape this chronic stress by distracting themselves with social media, tv shows, alcohol, drugs, and fawning over their dogs.

I would argue that a much better way to relieve that stress is taking a simple walk, preferably in nature. Our brains have developed to expect the calm of a forest or plain, it wants us to walk in silence and just be in the moment, to revel in the solitude of our minds.

It’s when we take some time without constant inputs of information and just let the mind empty that our subconscious can really work out problems and grow. This is how creativity blossoms, not during a never ending stream of instagram videos and netflix binges.

I think the world would be a little bit better to live in if we all just took some more walks.

Try it, you just might like it.

Health 101:Our differences make us stronger

7 billion people on this little blue planet.

None of us, I would hope, would make the assumption that all of us have the same life experiences, grew up in the same environment, learned the same things.

We are all very similar in many ways, but overall there are vast differences in our birth and upbringing.

People forget that our differences make us stronger.

Yet for some reason people keep falling for these diet and fitness pushers. Those people who say do this one thing and you will be healthy, you will be fit, it’s a magical secret that only they have. It is ridiculous.

There is NO one way of eating that works for everyone, I don’t care if it’s vegan, paleo, carnivore, keto, vegetarian or any of the other thousand ways people eat. Each of us is fundamentally different, and what works for one person may not work for you, or it may work for some time and then not be the right thing for you anymore.

The same goes for training, we all have different bodies, different injuries, different jobs and lifestyles all producing a vastly different set of needs in and out of the gym that need to be input into our bodies to be healthy.

Don’t let yourselves be swayed by the masters and morality gurus, these people who try to make everything ethical. Figure out what works for you, find people you can trust, LOTS of them, not just one!  hear different opinions, think about it like a rational adult, and move forward and test again and again to the best of your ability.

The only way to succeed in life is to accept responsibility for your own health.

Be patient and kind with yourself because you will make mistakes, but it will be worth it in the end.

Just get it done.

Your body deserves more than junk food

People need to start thinking of a lack of movement as junk food for the body.

We all know that dumping pounds of chips, soft drinks and candy down our mouths is not the most efficient way of fueling our systems. In an ideal world we would all recognize that staying slouched in the same position for 3 hours staring at a screen is not the most efficient way of fueling our systems either.

The musculoskeletal system, digestive system, nervous system, detoxification system and even your brain are all interconnected and require movement to function at their optimal capacity.

You don’t need a 16 week fitness challenge to help them along either!

Just move, a lot!

And have fun doing it!

The joy of being sore

I hurt.

Not in the I may have broken something way, but in the I know I did some good work this week kind of way.

That first week back to steady training is always the worst, it zaps your energy, makes you sore in places you forgot existed, wreaks havoc on your sleep. And yet it feels great knowing I put in some good focused effort on improving my physical and mental toughness.

Many people wake up these days feeling like crap, medicating with caffeine and tylenol, all while doing barely any physical activity, yet somehow feeling like they did a 7 hour workout. This is the terrible aspect of our time, so much work and leisure time is spent glued to computer and phone screens and peoples bodies suffer for this, leading to even more sedentary behavior.

People have forgotten the pleasant feeling of soreness connected to a good days work, and the benefits to our emotional states that come along with it. Hard work teaches us what it really means to be tired or uncomfortable, it strengthens the mind.

This isn’t to say that people who work all day in front of a computer don’t work hard, but it simply does not build character in the same way that good physical effort does.

We need a paradigm shift in how we structure our work days, integrating physical movement and hands on tasks that we can visibly see, this gives meaning and grounds us in the reality of our day to day existence.

Never forget that we are animals.