Bodytribe Newsletter, January 11th
Hey, I’m in the Sacramento News and Review this week (among a few other local publications, but this is the only one with a weblink).
Certain things bare repeating.
Certain things bare repeating. I received an email from an old friend who is slipping into the scary world of film making. Thankfully he can probably keep his dignity due to using the door marked ‘soundtracks.’ He’s a song writer, and has started to score bigger pictures, most often of the ‘horror’ variety, and understands, as I quote Ronald Dworkin from the The Rise of the Imperial Self in my book, that folks command a little more attention when their appearance seems to demand it. So it seemed prudent to apply a summary of much of my preaching in my response to him. This proved to be a good little reminder for myself, so here it is…
The biggest ‘secret’ I’ve learned has come from the wisdom of those about a century ago, during what was known as the physical culture movement. The ‘strongmen’ of the time realized something that is all but forgotten in commercial ‘fitness.’ The empowerment of the self through achievement creates a more permanent and appealing attraction. ‘Ripped abs’ mean nothing compared to someone who knows what he has DONE. This is the appeal of the strength world to me. Coming away from the workout (or, what I call ‘play time’) leaves me with a sense of accomplishment on a level that transcends aesthetics. In other words, knowing what I did and can do, the accomplishments I made over very real physical obstacles, gives me a sense of confidence that, I believe, creates a greater sense of, dare I say, attractiveness than just what my flesh packet portrays to the world (this pale, scruffy mug ain’t fit for super model status anytime soon, so I need something to fall back on).
Today’s fitness is based on looking ‘strong’ or ‘in shape’ without caring if anyone really IS. But what a physical culturalist always knows is that looking the part will follow when you ARE the part. Embracing movement, in whatever form (could be anything from yoga to powerlifting), as a passion and tool of personal accomplishment has an AUTOMATIC byproduct: being more ‘attractive.’ Even if the body doesn’t transform into an underwear model or a cast member of Lost, the body will carry itself how the spirit feels. I’ve known strength athletes who are nowhere near any modern aesthetic ideal walk into a room and OWN it, simply because they KNOW what they do. They conquer.
Strength, in it’s many forms, is attractive, commanding. Sure, this working out silliness might burn fat, build muscle, enhance posture, blah, blah, blah, but ultimately a STRONG person commands attention. Not even an underwear model will appeal to anyone for any length of time if he or she is shallow and weak
Where to start? Define what it is you want to do. The first thing I have anyone in my gym or workshops do is define two words. It doesn’t matter if it is a roomful of trainers or a brand new client, they all stare at me blankly when I present this request, because no one makes these two words their own. Strength and Fitness. What does it mean to be strong? Fit? I’ve sent years defining these terms for myself, so I present it as lifelong homework for everyone. We can’t achieve, teach or learn what isn’t defined, so that is always task numeral uno.
Yesterday’s blog dabbled a little in the art of goal setting, toying with the premise that answering ‘why’ will give us the definitions of ‘what.’ Then building goals off of these definitions becomes a bit easier.
Thanks for reading,