One of the most common questions I receive is, ‘how do I know what I should be doing?’
There are thousands of fitness ‘experts’ out there, thousands of programs, fitness products, opinions, and methodologies. All have fervent supporters and ‘success stories’ filling Instagram and infomercials with the promise that you can achieve the same results.
How can you possibly differentiate between the myriad of options and opinions? How can you tell what is legitimately based on real science and what is no better than Gwyneth Paltrows vagina rocks? (Yes, she wants you to put jade eggs in your vagina to ‘clear your chi pathways and solve every other health concern you have…).
The good news is that you are reading this. And I think over the years I have established myself as someone you can trust to cut through the bullshit and deliver information based on, you know, science and stuff.
Sorry, I have no vagina rocks to sell…
For me the answer to this question is relatively simple. I do recognize that almost two decades in this industry, thousands of clients trained, a master degree in human movement, and more certifications and courses than I can remember taking does give me a bit of an advantage when it comes to sorting out the good from the bad from the ugly.
How do I do it? How do I quickly look at a program or idea and judge so quickly it efficacy and legitimacy?
History and experience.
And I think that EVERYONE can do the exact same thing if we just put a little bit of logical thinking into it.
You have been bamboozled to believe newer is better and the advancement of science has given us lordship over the needs of the human body beyond what Mother Nature could ever possibly understand. Obviously the latest tech gadgetry will allow us to surpass our genetics. The latest supplement will lead to performance increases no human in the history of time could have ever dreamed possible!
It’s smoke and mirrors.
All you have to do is put a little bit of thought into it.
How was, how IS, your body supposed to move? What was it designed to do? How has it been crafted to interact together? This is not as complicated as it seems and I think we all have the innate ability to understand this.
Just. Think. About. It.
We lift things up. We carry things. We pull things. We get up off the ground. We throw things. We move from one place to the other. That’s it. That is everything we do.
We lift things. At one time it was logs, dead animals, plants, logs, stones, and whatever else we needed for survival. Not its our kids, groceries, coolers of beer, and that new Ikea couch that you have yet to assemble. We bend over, squat down, and step into lunges to lift things up.
We carry things. Once we have picked something up we most likely need to move it somewhere. Why else would we pick it up? Well, unless it’s a puppy. Then you picked it up just to hold it because, puppies! Carrying things is something your body excels at and it structurally designed to do. On your head, shoulder, back, hip, or in your hands or arms, your really, really efficient at carrying things around!
We pull things. Now you’re visualizing ancient humans dragging a deer carcass, which probably was something we did, but not so much in modern times. You still pull things. Like dragging that new Ikea couch to a different part of the room or your lazy cold kids up the hill in the snow before they slide back down to have you do it again. Or, you pull YOURSELF. Climbing a tree or getting up and over a fence…lol…I know, most people can’t do that. It’s actually a huge problem. You SHOULD be able to do that. Hence the purpose of this article…
We get up off the ground. That’s right. We stand up. From the ground, from bed, from a chair, from that fancy new Ikea couch. We get up. It is absolutely amazing to me and truly, horrifically, scary to me, how many people struggle to simply stand up. We have a couch in our studio that people complain constantly is too low and they can get up from it. Holy crap people. This is a huge problem. Not being able to get up off the ground should send tingles of fear throughout your body! Not being able to get up off a couch? You should really do something about that.
We throw things. There you go again with your picturing ancient humans. Yes we threw spears at animals, I get it. We don’t today. Today we play sports or toss our keys over to someone. It is actually a little harder for me to think of examples of this action and this is a problem because the transverse plane action of throwing requires full body coordination and stabilization that is vital to your health (twisting and moving your arms powerfully is super important and no one does it!).
We move from one place to another. Walking, jogging, running, sprinting, climbing, swimming, and jumping are all basic human movements. It is how we get from here to there and from there to over there and from over there back to here. We MOVE. We have gait patterns and a host of movements that we are literally built to be able to do. Like, literally, the very structure of our bones, the placement of muscles and tendons and ligaments, are all there to allow us to get around.
And this is the secret to how I cut through so much of the bullshit.
Is your training program designed to enhance and strengthen the way we are supposed to move and to make you better at accomplishing the things we do?
Sitting on a machine is not going to do it. Isolating your biceps for a huge pump is not going to do it. Bouncing around on those fucking stupid shoes with springs on the bottom is in no way related to how your body was built to work. The leg press machine is going to fuck your back to shit because the movement and position of your body doesn’t exist anywhere except on that machine and your physiology was not designed to work like that. The lat pulldown machines is a ridiculous way to train back muscles that were actually designed to pull you up not pull something down to you. Treadmills make no sense as we were not designed to run on the spot. Ellipticals? Wtf.
I could literally sit here all day and trash 99% of the fitness industry bullshit. But I have better things to do.
What I am attempting to get you to understand is that when you look at your exercise program or a piece of equipment, can you plausibly see how it could relate to how you actually were designed to move?
Does it use the whole body as a coordinated unit? Does it relate to one of the actions I described above? Does it involve all or at least most of the major muscles? Will it force you to move in a way that just might be useful to you?
Like walking through Ikea, lifting that box, carrying it somewhere, opening it up, having the dexterity to assemble it, dragging it to the best position, and then being able to get on and off of it?