Updated: Jan 7
What happens when a pair of acutely aware thinkers and movers facilitate dialogs with a handful of other thinker/movers? Ideas are exchanged and shared, and the collective value of that information skyrockets. I like to believe this is how cryptocurrency works, but I honestly have no idea.
Anyway, this project, spearheaded by Michael Campi, and executed by Charlie Deist, asked a bunch of insightful questions to a handful of folks who aren't really fans of playing within the rules set forth by the Fitness Industrial Complex, and then he wrote it all down (or typed it all up) and bound it into a mighty volume of training sagacity. And by "mighty," I mean in depth, not so much size. Slightly smaller in length than Are You Useful, but with a similar punch to the brain and spirit.
My sometimes-workshop-partner and DVD co-star, Dan John, is featured here, as well as my friends and fellow strength geeks, Eric Kenyon and Ron Jones. True outsider and freethinker, Frank Forencich, is in here as well, although he's probably still mad at me for being a phone call flake. And NYC trainer, Mike Keeler, who I don't know, but probably should.
Quick aside, Dan John and I had a groovy chat recently. Check it out here...
This book is titled The New Strongman Code. I have the honor of getting the party started. The first chapter is me rambling about what I ramble about, and it seemed fitting to share a little snippet here.
The Way of Beauty Charlie: Modern civilization produces a lot of great things, but also has some unintended side effects. What do you think we are becoming as a species? And how does that play into the work we do in the gym? Chip: We will always have that primitive DNA, of course, but I hear people talk about it like we were suddenly thrust into modern times, and we're not ready for it. We created it, and we actually have the DNA in us that let us create modernity.
Things are happening faster than they ever have. Does this mean we can't keep up? I don't know. But this planet has a pretty good way of getting rid of things it doesn't need. If we screw it up too badly, we're probably out of here. That sounds bleak, but I believe our purpose is to create beauty, but beauty almost as utilitarian in concept - as something that makes us beautiful to the planet. Now we're delving into my hippie territory here, but if we're not going to add to the planet and sustain it, and treat it like the giver it is, then it's going to get rid of us. I think we need to take this into account, or we're not going to be here for a lot longer.
Survival of the Fittest? Teachers vs. Leaders Charlie: We are seeing a reconfiguration of the economy, where some things are not going to come back in the exact same way. Gyms are probably going to experience a major overhaul or disruption. The ones that are serving an ongoing ecological niche will survive. I think you're well poised for that - what might other gyms try to emulate, in their own way, in order to survive the coming shake up?
Chip: The pessimist in me thinks the corporations are going to swoop in and somehow dominate an even bigger chunk of the market. On the other hand, there will be a more powerful subculture of gyms that are actually trying to teach people that the gym is not the entire answer. Maybe the modern concept of teacher should be idealized as the person who helps somebody get to their goals a little faster - not instilling their own goals in that person, but rather helping them to their own journey better. The gym is simply a foundation to then go create a greater movement practice.That's going to require people who own these gyms to have their own journeys, and stop buying the franchises and certifications, and instead learn how to learn again, because then they will learn how to teach again. We need to be teachers. There will be a subculture of people who are actually learning to move and be strong, rather than just buy the corporate product.
Everybody's talking about being a fitness leader - the leader in the fitness industry. Leaders have followers. In a tribe, there can generally be only one or two leaders, but there can be many teachers. If we can learn to be a teacher, or a mentor, rather than a guru or a leader, this will lead to a greater movement movement. The interviews for this book were from a podcast called The Culture Club, which can be found here.. And get the book. Available here.
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