Keep Rocking With Us
This is a challenge. I’m calling on you to join me in breaking away from this lunacy that’s all around us and take a concrete step to animate your life.
The lunacy is the image of fitness, with all its codes and requirements. Fitness as a classification of being and doing is deranged.
I try as many interesting physical activities as I can. And each time I pick something new up, I don’t think of it as me doing fitness, I see it as me trying new physical hobbies. Hobbies that make me move and bring me closer to the highest potential of my body by figuring out how I can learn and master every which way there is to use it.
For a while, I thought I was undisciplined and needed focus because I couldn’t devote myself to just one style of physical pursuit. But really I’m just fascinated by everything. Always have been. The self-driven crowd look down on that and say they admire someone who’s consumed with only one thing. That doesn’t bother me anymore, because I’m more curious in how my body can improve in several physical abilities over any single practice itself. And I’m most excited about how I can connect everything I’m interested in and compose a daily practice unique to me.
Something like a conscience won’t let me rest until I’ve looked at all that’s physically possible and locate some ideal that connects my body with my mind. I’ve no clue what this is or if it’s even real but I don’t take to rest very well, so I’ll keep at it. My hyperactive temperament suits me for this type of labor.
What I’ll call physical fun can fill the space where you’d put exercise. Physical fun isn’t just work or some task to check off a list. It’s something that takes away the pressure of ‘having to do something’ and instead gives you a thrill because its’ truly fun to you. It’s something you find yourself doing without realizing and then doing for hours at a time without any sense of how much time has passed.
For me, this sometimes means trying new sports and other times it means doing fun hobbies, that still get me moving, like throwing axes, going to the batting cages, taking a weapons class, or signing up for a dancing class with my girlfriend.
You can be healthy, strong, powerful, and capable without doing the type of movement that’s in the classification exercises. Yet people separate this group of activity from other movements just as taxing but much more satisfying. First in their minds, then in their actions.
Most people have had some sort of physical hobby. Sports they like to practice, physical challenges, even physically demanding chores that they find satisfying. Why are these gratifying hobbies put in a different mental category from the holy-anointed group of exercise movements and fitness activities?
These categories are dumb. I don’t have a cute way of saying it, they just are. I want to throw these labels out. They keep people from finding what they really love and more about who they are.
What’s strength training? It’s loaded movement. What’s conditioning training? Activity done intended to build up how much power you can maintain over some set period of time and make you more capable of enduring what causes fatigue and ultimately makes you stop. Get it? – endurance. But conditioning is more than making yourself out of breath with something with the official cardio or intensity training label.
But really it’s lunacy to say that certain physical work is part of fitness and other physical work isnt. So I decided to break away from this and challenge others to choose their own adventure by giving them a framework to do what actually interests them and still feel, look and perform how they want.
The Starting Point Of This Challenge…. We need to pick a direction, and we’ll start with picking something for conditioning that you would love to do. We’ll start with something that fits into the cornerstone of conditioning training - and activity that builds aerobic capacity. This is the best starting point because we all need a hefty aerobic capacity and this is where you’ll find the most restraints on what you’re told to do.
Why take this lead from me? I’ve tried my share of physical practices and given it a fair shake, but so have a lot of other people who want to give you advice. Where I can really help is in showing you how I’ve learned to single out which physical practices stick to me as a part of who I am and what makes my own personal brew of physical fun. It’s a framework that I’ve tested and that can work for you.
The action in exploring and trying more is itself is part of this brew. I recognized that my superpower is finding new things to get good at to add to a broad set of things I’m good across.
Find something that’s cardiovascularly demanding to start mixing your proprietary brew. This is for those like me who are frustrated with all the rules on how we should exercise and for anyone who is just bored of it all.
A good aerobic base makes us more capable to train and enjoy more physical pastimes and sports. That means you’re able to better enjoy the experience of it, endure more of it, and recover from it faster and completely so you can do it again.
This isn’t a point of view of mine or my opinion of what fitness should include, it’s a truth of biology. Why’d you first start doing any label of exercise or training if not to be and feel healthy, bold, and alive? You want healthy? You need to stave off family history of cardiovascular disease? You want to be strong and active? You need to build up how much and how long your body can do work, that’s what this does. Even if strength is your main concern, if you can’t do enough work or recover from it, you can’t be as strong as you want.
Need to hear a better case for the why and what? Click on these boxes to read more. If you don’t need more, skip these and read ahead.
What’s cardiovascular Training/activity Doing:
But does this aerobic activity need to be complicated or look a certain way? No, actually it doesn’t need to look like, be, or involve anything except continual movement over a decently long period of time at a tempo where you can keep a slight smile on your face.
It shouldn’t look like your head will pop off your neck at any moment.
You do need to speed up your heart rate but only to a rate, you can sustain consistently for at least thirty minutes. Nice and steady for a half hour or more.
Here’s my punchline. I’ve been building up to it... Writer skills…. Building up how much work our bodies can bear, can be done through play. Because that’s all this really is. It’s play.
Our bodies need physical work, look what happens when it’s removed. Most of us don’t need to do the same physical labor we all had to do before we created society. And yet kids do and have always had it figure out. Their bodies need the work, but they use play. The play was supposed to prepare them for the work ahead as adults. But we’re a different kind of an adult now. One that does more mental work than physical. So if we still need it, why can’t we just go back to physical playing, like we did when we were kids?
We creatively re-defined what it means to work, now let’s be just as creative with how we play using our bodies, as we age. If we do it right, we can keep ourselves mentally stimulated while we’re physically active and this creativity can feed back into our mental work.
Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure Books? They were fiction books with a general story plot or framework. After a chapter or two, you’d be given some options on what you wanted the main character to do next. You’d pick and flip to the page the choice gave you, each time changing the story plot and eventual conclusion.
I need to choose my own adventure and maybe go back and forth through the book to try a few different plots. You may be like me, criticized for bouncing around. If you are like me though, you have dedicated yourself to one discipline for periods of time and you work hard at whatever has your attention. You may just need more or need to dump one thing for another and don’t know how to blend all of your interests. The blending is where I’ve put my focus and it’s what I can help you with.
So take this on - start this framework for your choose your own physical adventure.
The challenge is to pick one of the following examples as your new mode of cardiovascular play-pretend-work. Pick whichever really interests you. Some of these usually don’t make it into the cardio exercise category because they’re different and outside a comfort zone. But just because you’ve never heard someone call it cardio or you think you’ll be bad at it, doesn’t mean you can’t flip to that page.
Don’t walk on a treadmill or spend more time in a gym inside unless you really love doing that. And even if you do, try something new in some new place at least some of the time.
Pick one of my examples or use them to animate your own list. Animate, I like that word. It means to bring to life. Let me know what you pick. If it’s something creative not from my list I’ll add it to mine to share with others.
Let’s start on this date. All of us together. Starting something like this on a Friday is better than a Monday because most of us are happier and more optimistic going into the weekend. Monday always sounds good but we all get bogged down in work at the beginning of the week and never really follow through. Sometimes it's easy to start a weekend class or drive out to the lake to row that boat on a Sunday afternoon.
Just 3 weeks of trying something new, that’s all this ask is. Even if you sign up for a class where you only go twice a week for three weeks, that’s still 6 classes. Or if you just try one class you could take up shooting a basketball twice a week or riding that board somewhere.
I’m doing it with you. I’ve just signed up for a weapons/sword training class at a local martial arts school. I’ve always been fascinated with Samurai and swordplay and the class looks active enough so I’m finally pulling the trigger on this.
If you’re down for the challenge, pick 1-3 things to stick with for the 3 weeks and let me know what you choose in the forum below. Be the person to start it up, don’t wait on anyone else.
weapons training on this date
Keep checking the forum. I’ll be posting what new thing I’m doing and checking in on all of you.
It’s the perfect time to start this. Don’t brush it off and put it in the pile of ideas you could have tried and regret you never did. Say something in the thread, right now.