Why do we exercise? That might seem like a weird question coming from a Personal Trainer, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about seriously of late. Not necessarily why you exercise (we covered how to determine your individual motivations for exercise in this post), but why we exercise.
In our modern culture, exercise has become second nature. However, when anthropologists visit modern hunter-gatherer societies, many don’t even have a word for “exercise”. And that makes sense – why would you expend energy needlessly when your life requires constant and adaptive movement? Do you think a hunter-gatherer would do a CrossFit WOD and risk being unable to walk the next day? (Something that I often see celebrated in today’s exercise culture. “Gosh, I could hardly walk down the stairs for 4 days! It was such a great workout.”) I don’t believe so. Instead, they would focus on developing the skills necessary for their tribe to survive and thrive. Whatever conditioning that created, as long as they were useful, would be acceptable.
Hadzabe Hunters practicing archery in Tanzania.
This is the same attitude that I take towards fitness. Focus on the full range of human movement skills. It is by acquiring those practical skills that we gain (appropriate) conditioning. In most programs, it is the other way around – i.e. if I can do 20 pull ups, I should be able to get on top a tree branch. Only the conditioning often doesn’t transfer to the practical skill 1:1.
Maybe it is this loss of perspective on how exercise and conditioning transfers into useful skills that has created the segmentation of exercise over the past 100 years of physical culture. The appearance of large muscles or skinny bodies has become more important than the abilities those body types are supposed to predict. Continue reading →
As January rolls around, many gyms (including mine) will be filling up with new faces who have new resolutions for a new year. Right about now there are hundreds of blog posts hitting the interwebs all about how to set good goals – and rightly so. Most resolutions fail in large part because the goal setting process didn’t have structure. But setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-specific) goals isn’t the whole picture, and it isn’t what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to talk about what motivates us to set these resolutions in the first place. Continue reading →
Welcome to the Human Animal Podcast, were we discuss training, fitness, and nutrition in the modern age. This week, we are happy to introduce special guest Nathan Miller, CSCS. Nathan is a fellow coach at Force Fitness and a mindfulness guru. This week, we cover topics such as:
What is mindfulness?
How mindfulness can help you reach your fat loss goals and beyond
In the previous post of this series, I revealed why we are already in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Enough of the madness! It’s time to arm yourself with strategies to survive and thrive in the modern world.
1. Avoid Mindless Eating
This is a great tool I got from my good friend and fellow coach Nate Miller. Before each meal, try practicing this mindfulness routine -
Why am I eating?
Is it making me healthy, or is it making me sick?
Is it worth it?
OWN your decisions, and begin to understand your motivations for those decisions. Brain de-zombified!
2. Remove Environmental Toxins
We need to think about our food as a part of our environment. Our environment modifies our genes, our phenotype, and can exacerbate autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions. Your mission – eliminate grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, and alcohol for 4 weeks. Add them back and see how you look, feel, and perform. Health de-zombified!