I have a new book about program design. It's small, but packed with some of my nontraditional ideas about building a workout. Of course I can't possibly discuss the How or the What without delving into the Why, and even though my last book was all about the Why, this new pastiche seems to take that ball and run with it for several chapters before finally getting around to a few lessons about the program model I've been cultivating for the last couple o' decades. Here are the opening paragraphs...
Making a Better Version of Ourselves
For about a decade longer than NCIS has been on the air, I’ve been a trainer/coach/whatever-the-kids-call-it-these-days. Wanna know the one big revelation from my long timeline of making people stronger? Every goal from every client can be summed up easily.
Please make a better version of Me.
Unfortunately they've been deceived in how this works, as are many trainers. As a culture, we’ve forgotten what being a better individual can mean. Also, I added the “please” because, despite forgetting how to be better versions of ourselves, I like to believe people are generally friendly. “Once you develop confidence in your own ability, you’ll be able to make a real contribution to creating a better world. Self-confidence is very important. Not in the sense of blind pride, but as a realistic awareness of what you can do. As human beings we can transform ourselves by our good qualities and reducing our faults. Our intelligence enables us to judge what is good from what is harmful.” - Dalai Lama His Holiness gives us a lot of credit. Yes, our intelligence does enable us to understand good from harm, but too often we’re distracted from choosing well. What do you value? How would you view your value as a person? Your relationship with your body presents these values to anyone who finds you groovy enough to mingle with. Your training is a chance to expound your values in a physical manifestation. What does your training say about you and your purpose? What’s your relationship with your body?
The big question: Does your training reflect your values? If you value respect, is your program a shining beacon for that? If your training is abusive, it is safe to assume no. If you value free thought, then you wouldn’t mind a little reflection on any current dogmas you might be clutching to about your programming. This goes double if someone else developed the foundation of your programming (the terms ‘franchise’ and ‘certification’ are not exactly bywords for independence and exploration). Does your movement practice celebrate the freedom of the body or the subjugation of it? Every category we buy into has limitations that too often become shackles.
Our body has one purpose. From a complex matrix of internal wiring, to powerful exhaust and elimination systems (insert fart joke here), to an unparalleled CPU, to a potent leverage and pulley system, to delivery systems for fuel and oil, every detail and process seems to have a place in letting the body pursue movement. That’s the physical purpose of the body. Period. Job #1. Movement is the Body’s raison d'etre for planetary employment. How could that job, the body’s only job, not have a major impact on the metaphysical dealings and dances our existence happens to be involved in? This job, this movement contract, is an essential part of a greater Being (verb, not noun). Maybe we shouldn’t get in the way of the body’s job, as we seem so eager to do.
If you had one job and only one job, chances are you’d want to do it in many ways, and as well as possible. Why, then, are our decisions with the body often so bad? Okay, maybe that was harsh. But we’re experts at limiting ourselves. The modern fitness systems being sold are full of movement detritus. Time wasting, and in some cases, body-wasting, movement ideas that are antithetical to the body’s continued successful employment. Meanwhile there are huge gaps in our training where the body is lacking preparation.
Listen to the needs of the body, not the wants of the brain. The brain can organize the program, but let the body develop it. Move in many ways, for many reasons. But now I add a caveat. When defining those ways and reasons, consider discarding the dumb ones. We move as experience. We move TO experience! We move to increase our humanity. So let’s train that way.
________________ More Inclined Towards Adventure, which was a phrase I stole from a powerfully curious BodyTriber, Pixie, is available here (and only here, and only digitally)