Recess

My annual March trip to Austin for the South by South West music festival begins today. I’m getting funny looks from fellow travelers as I type away on my Mac, but I’m guessing it’s because I’m lounging in my underwear with my teddy bear and has little to do with the volume of my keyboard strikes. Apparently “make yourself at home” in an airport terminal is not the Sacramento International’s slogan for a reason.

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Today’s workout:

Pick a max effort lift. I’ve been hooked on strict overhead presses recently, and using the thick bar that Zac made makes it even more fun.

Follow up with a good ol’ fashioned circuit-style GPP combo:

Front Squat/Goodmorning: Pick a challenging weight. 5 reps each. After the squats, push press the bar up and over the head and begin the goodmornings.
Jump rope or jumping jacks: for now, 1 minute worth of either.
Pushup rows/overhead press: one pair of dumbbells, fairly heavy, 5 reps of each (per side for the pushup rows)
jump rope or jumping jacks: 1 minute
Burpees: 10.
jump rope or jumping jacks: 1 minute

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This past weekend’s Strength Camp reiterated lessons we all need to remember sometimes. This chapter from my book describes our need for some fun.

PLAY

Why do we, as adults, deny ourselves recess, that childish ritual which invokes the kid’s right to get his or her play on? Is it because we honestly believe that only the young should play, as if imagination, adventure, movement and fun on a daily basis are things we grow out of? A case could be made for this by observing adult play, where senses, thoughts and/or reactions are numbed by chemicals (not enhanced, let’s not make that mistake), competition is emphasized over fun, spontaneity is rarely the maiden of the adventure, and slug-like participation in movement makes a room of people look like a Rodin exhibit, if he sculpted rotund figures at computer tables.

Here’s a utopian dream: Imagine a daily ritual where, at regular circadian intervals, we had to be less serious. The daily workday has regular recess intervals, where hierarchal lines of employment and power are reinvented or obliterated on the playing field through play ability and physical enjoyment. We’re allowed to be silly, goofy, playful. We’re allowed to throw things, catch things, run after things, jump, scream and dance. For 15 minutes twice a day and a 10 minute bonus after lunch.

Do you PLAY when you workout? Or do you practice some form of sameness? There is no fun in practiced math for most of us, yet the average workout is like a Sesame Street counting lesson, but without the fun, colors, animation or dancing puppets (unless you are at a TRULY unique gym). Simply meeting a rep requirement is more akin to a daily Huxlean agenda rather than inspiration or play.

‘But that’s what all the magazines say to do,’ you shout. Exercise A times Set and Rep Scheme B equal flat tummy and lifted tush. It has to be… IT SAYS SO!

Yep, and it has said so for years, the same article rehashed over and over, yet find me one person that has made any real progress from a magazine program, especially if ‘progress’ means an increase in the quality of life, the ability to PLAY!.

Here’s the homework of the week: do a cartwheel. Then do a one legged slalom, by putting a strip of tape on the floor (we use a length of rope) and hop over it from side to side forward and then backwards, on one leg. Then pick up something weird and heavy and carry it as far as you can. Now do these back to back, a set of cartwheels (make sure to try both directions, since the body favors one side), one-leg slalom up and down the length of tape (about 20-30 feet) and then a farmer’s walk of some sort. You’ll feel goofy, possibly even embarrassed. And that is the grownup in you ‘adultisizing’ the event. A 7-year old kid wouldn’t think twice about how they looked, they’d just have FUN.

One Example of Adultisizing

One of those days. One. Of. Those. Days. OTD. It starts too early, ends too late, consists of elements that are less than pleasing and/or has too much or too little going on to be truly productive. OTD. Vacuuming out all fun and energy, making you wonder why you’re doing what you are doing, working where you’re working, dating who you’re dating or existing how you’re existing.

Nothing screams at you to ignore your health more than One of Those Days. And here lies a strange cycle. Our backward logic creates a math problem that somehow explains that denial and kinship with a three-toed sloth are actually the panaceas we need to survive our OTD’s. Putting our brain away while the TV or computer screen tries to fill the void in our head, combined with self-destructive-but-comforting eating habits, will make the following days to come less threatening. Somewhere in our souls, there lurks the healthy, funny and brilliant Us that wants to come out and play, but, since that involves a sufficient amount of self realization and responsibility, let’s numb ourselves to that prospect by voting for the next American Idol while that 6-pack of something less than optimum sits within real easy reach.

Or (c’mon, you heard the creaky soap box being dusted off)…

We could Move. This isn’t a prescription to abandon your current abode for grass that is never greener. No, MOVE. While my favorite drug of choice happens to be doing strange things with heavy objects, movement is certainly not limited to iron. Dance, run, jump, flip, somersault, but for Pete’s sake, get your Play on. Recently the sun made a grand and appreciated appearance during these winter months. A few of us Bodytribers grabbed some toys and headed outside, where we proceeded to hoist, snatch, throw and clean whatever we brought with us. It was time to MOVE, to play!. A few of us have been surrounded by OTD’s, and we took the brief visit from Master Sol as a sign that we weren’t moving enough or in a way that was benefiting us best.

Thank you, Sun, for such a lesson. We’ll see you again soon, and for extended periods. We’ll bring more people your way, and we’ll find other reminders along the way of why the medicine we usually take for our OTD simply creates a festering viral pit for more OTD’s to come. That’s a circle some may never escape from. Instead, let’s Move. Let’s PLAY.

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7 Responses to Recess

  1. Zac

    Thanks for the kick-ass strength camp, especially the help with the squat clean (and for making me do some of those god-forsaken burpees). It was good to revisit things, get back in the “learning place.” Hopefully I’ll be able to go get “under the bar” for a while this afternoon before work summons me back.

  2. Chris

    Good to meet you Zac. Are you using your recess time to experiment with more home made smoothies ? What secret ingredients are you using ?

    Chip body tribe has absolutely helped me get back to being a kid again.

    It was great meeting everyone ! Hope to be coming around more often on weekends since I’m from out of the area……..

  3. Dan

    “do you practice some form of sameness?” food for thought dude. A lot of the time yes. Thank you.

    Dan.

  4. Chris

    Chip I did not know it until days after I got back from the camp. It turns out the weekend at body tribe was very, very inspiring for me. I left Sacramento with some very positive energy. I have made changes to numerous things within my lifestyle. Thanks to the teachings of the strength camp.

    Thank you………

  5. ellen

    how can you do all that stuff (nice moves!) wearing converse sneakers? no arch support! ouch! gnarly!

  6. chip

    Oh, but feet have such a natural built-in support factor, why should we possibly try to add to it?

    Find me a period of time in history before the past 30 years when anyone would have thought of using the term ‘arch support.’ An arch IS support, has been for thousands of year in architecture, nature, and our feet! By ADDING support, we’re de-evolving from the ability to use our feet for what they’re supposed to be used for. Imagine if we did that for other bodyparts. We’d have no ability of our own and have to rely on external support for our weakening joints and muscles.

    Over the past several decades, shoes have gotten more supportive while incidents of low back pain and knee pain have increased….

    There’s a correlation we might want to consider.

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