Exercise Is Not Meant To Be All Out War On Your Body
Today I am going to share an interesting article I came across a few weeks ago that really hit a nerve with many people who read it. I thought it would be good to share this with all of you.Anyway here it is.
The world can be a crazy place, we all know that. And giving in to the fear that is endlessly manufactured by the media is a constant temptation on the path to fitness greatness. It’s also true that sometimes sh!t gets real, and we need to be prepared to adapt instantly. Why? Because…
Life Is a Battle!
But (and it’s a big fat booty butt) just because life is a battle doesn’t mean you have to destroy yourself every time you go to the gym. Any serious athlete knows that rest, recovery, and periodization (smartly modifying intensity based on goals, performance, and ability) are absolutely crucial to optimal performance (aka kicking ass).
There is a massive trend in the fitness industry to glorify exercise as an all-out war on the body. I call it the militarization of fitness—all the boot camps, Marine-inspired workouts, ridiculously intense body building routines, and general glorification of pain. Even our recovery and regeneration techniques are prioritized by how painful they are.
Exhaustion Is Not a Status Symbol
Well, exhaustion actually is a status symbol in our culture. And that’s the problem—we’re working and training ourselves to death. From a young age, we’re bombarded with the message that to be successful, we must work overtime, sacrifice our health, friends, even happiness and sanity to achieve what we want.
Being chronically exhausted is not the key to success. It’s a race toward disease and dysfunction. And in most cases, it causes suffering that is 100 percent preventable.
Our cultural pathology can be summed up pretty easily: too much yang, not enough yin; too much doing, not enough being; too much work, not enough play; too masculine, not enough feminine.
How Does the Militarization of Fitness Affect Your Workout?
In every way possible. It affects your health, happiness, the sustainability of your program, and your ability to reach your goals.
Do you believe any of the following are true?
- No pain, no gain. You have to suffer to get in shape.
- More is always more. Duh.
- Working out is not fun, but it’s an obligation.
- If I don’t almost throw up, I’m holding back too much.
- You’re only as good as your last workout.
- I feel like a loser when I miss a workout.
If you answered yes, then you’re at the “exercise is war” understanding of fitness. And that’s fine—if you want to wage war on your body, go ahead. Many of us go through that phase. So I’m not belittling you—I’m just saying that this isn’t the only way to train.
So What’s the Other Option?
Well, there are many options. But one of them is to decide that learning about the body and what it takes to nourish, strengthen, and heal it is a lifelong process, adventure, exploration, and privilege, not a burdensome obligation, nor a military operation.
There are plenty of people who love dancing and dance their way to a new body. Others get a deep satisfaction out of practicing martial arts and kung fu their way to super fitness glory. Then there are the yogis, who use movement as a way to manifest their bodies greatness.
None of these perspectives are right or wrong, but they’re all worthy of being explored if you truly want a sustainable, comprehensive, and balanced movement practice. Depth and breadth of perspective, my friends.