At The Human Animal, we believe in the power of self-discovery through discussion. Our goal with this podcast is to start a conversation, but not finish it. The process of exploring what it means to be a human animal is uniquely your own, and yet you will find many shared experiences with those in your tribe. Often, we discover something about ourselves through the people closest to us. So enjoy – connect – reflect – and most of all, embrace the journey.
This week, Jake and Matt sit down to discuss the concept of the “85%” of people not currently engaged in an exercise/movement practice. Is it so crazy to think that what the fitness industry has to offer doesn’t appeal to 85% of us? We don’t think so. So where does that leave us? What are the entry points to movement and fitness that are being left out?
Why the 85% of us who don’t “exercise” might not be crazy at all
Is fitness “fun” anymore? Was it ever?
How to work at the edge of your ability (in more ways than one)
Play as an entry point to fitness and movement
…and so much more!
We really enjoyed this discussion and hope that you will too.
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At the FreeFit Guy Academy, one of our weekly focuses is on “building a flow”. A flow is simply a sequence of movements that we meld together into a unified whole. The goal is to be fluid and work on transitions between movements. It can serve as great warm up or mobility cultivator, or even as a more advanced and powerful strength, conditioning, and coordination tool.
We will start by teaching several elements, or simple movements that can be practiced on their own. We then connect these elements, building them into molecules. This will eventually turn into a flow as connections become easier to make and improvise.
The beauty in building a flow is there is no right or wrong – just creative expression and an endless list of possibilities.
I’ll often tell my clients that their movement is beautiful and unique – because it is. Just imagine this – your body, down to a cellular level, has been shaped by your experience. YOURS. No one else has had the same number, type, and variety of movements. You are unique in the entire universe in this manner, as is your ability to move. No one else squats like you do, nor do they flow in the same way. Cherish this.
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 →
I wanted to share with you all another movement sequence I put together a couple of weeks ago as a “recovery” day.
When I think about putting a sequence together, one of the first things I consider is my level of fatigue for the day. Unlike what many other fitness pro’s will tell you, I believe you MUST adjust for said fatigue – not just power through.
One common recovery protocol is to eliminate 50% of the volume of work. This can be especially effective for athletes on a specific training program. However, most people are in the general population category and don’t need to be concerned about sticking to the T of their program all the time. They don’t have an event they are trying to peak for and they aren’t getting paid to perform in a sport.
If able, I prefer to shift my focus to something that feels natural for my body that day. This is a skill that took me a long time to develop, and one that I am still developing. It requires a lot of mindfulness and a willingness to change plans mid-stride if something isn’t working.
I try not to workout with loud music or other distractions other than my own thoughts and the environment around me. Simply taking some time to move skillfully and mindfully goes a LONG way towards keeping you healthy and moving towards your goals.