Don’t just go to a gym. Be a gym!
Don’t just go to a gym. Be a gym!
For much of the developed World its many citizens are intermingled in a place of excessive free time, not enough time, too much information and an over saturation of nutrition. All of this has led to a wide spread fear that many are swelling with obesity and ill health while others are obsessed or absorbed by the many fitness and dietary crazes. The wonderful thing about living in a place of excess is that you have so much relative choice, that you can decide what it is you wish to consume and not rely on circumstantial staples and for many you can enjoy indoor work places of physical idleness while exploring hobbies of physical excess. These splendid benefits are also in many ways condemning and damaging to those who limit themselves in opportunity.
An ever expanding industry of fitness experts, institutes, gyms, nutrition and pharmacology has grown to the point where many have access to so many apparent answers and solutions to their many woes and fears as far as their subjective self-image goes. While many do seek a path of objective truth, much of the fitness industry benefits from those less motivated that wish for easy simplistic answers, promises of six packs and fat shredding potions. While some results may be net the two underlying factors that one needs in order to sustain and continue such a life style culture is both motivation and consistency. Two things that are often lacking, at least over time.
If the fad is born from a month long desire to avoid alcohol or consume only a paleo diet, then why limit this to just a month or whatever short term period that the fad has determined? Often, if not always, those who abide by this limited period will return to the habits that they sought to avoid with an excess of binge and over consumption that will only generally prove to be far worse than what they were experiencing before. The sense of temporary accomplishment may be satisfying and rewarding but often the reward that one seeks to offer themselves are the very dangerous substances that they KNOW is harming and impinging their progress. And yet, this sort of fad seems to validate their habits all the more.
Just as short term diets and goals are celebrated and vaunted as a means of brief stints of accountability so to do some of the more lucrative fitness trends that are popular in most exercise centres. They offer scientific sounding answers while fitness celebrities endorse the training with recognised authority and while, as near all forms of physical exertion, they do net results for those less inclined to movement they can often send one down a very specific path as far as fitness subjectivity goes.
All in all, the point remains that you are an individual, just as every other person you come across is and while something may be effective for you, it may also not be as effective for another. This is the point of difficult navigation where one needs to best determine what is best for themselves, not merely from a physiological and character based perspective but also from a financial, time and location derived point of relevance. After a while some will come to the conclusion that much of the pretty adverts and fitness trends that emerge, many are almost reinventions or cyclic fads. Rediscovered treasures for well marketed businesses or people to make some impact and money from. In short they are cyclic and trendy if nothing else.
One may also discover that self-drive and a character that is less concerned with contemporary memes and more interested in objective outcomes that it is time to start taking one’s health and physical condition into their own hands. The ability to know your own body and to have the instincts and intuition to best determine what you need daily, weekly and so on is one of the most important skills that you can learn. This is something that takes time, it cannot however be accomplished if one does not even conceive the notion that they need to have these abilities. It is found in adherence to strict regimes and becoming a slave to a formal doctrine of diet and training that one can often fail and forsake the individual and unique needs of their body. This does not mean simply giving in to the temptation to gorge on cake or skipping training every day because it is hard, it is with self-drive and discipline joined with your developed experience and instincts. This is where you need to become a gym.
As mentioned above, so many circumstances and situations can arise that will determine how limited your training will be. Just with much in life it pays to be adaptive, to accept that life is not about perfect or ideal settings but it is often, simply what it is. If you are truly interested in your health and physical conditioning access to a gym or even training partners should not be an excuse to simply fall into the couch and bury your eyes into the television. You can train, you can practice and you can refine yourself despite these lack of factors. It all simply starts at the beginning. Want to learn how to punch, start with the jab. Want to learn how to kick, lift your legs and stretch, want to sink a hoop, throw a ball. Over time as you become more familiar with an action, any action you can develop it and refine it, enhance it and do it under differing circumstances. The getting started and realising that you need to be diligent and stick to something, however frustrating it may be, is the obstacle that stops most from accomplishing anything consequential.
Now while it is ideal for those in sports or skill based physical endeavours to have training partners, one can still get by in the mean time without them (for a time). Whether you practice over and over with obsessive diligence specific actions and movements relevant to your craft, or you condition yourself with exercises and actions that relate to the attributes most crucial to your needs. You can run circuits based around specific needs. For example, you can drill your footwork for a many craft whether they be general sports, combat crafts, dance, gymnastics and so on, footwork, balance and coordinated mobility are extremely important and hard to attain. Practice a limited spectrum that you really want to work on. Do some that you are good at, that you enjoy and then intersperse them with some or one that frustrates you. One that you need to improve on. When you start to get frustrated, go back to those that you enjoy, only to carefully re introduce the more difficult action.
For those actions that you are good at, or enjoy, once that you feel you are somewhat masterful at them in a specific way, add flares and variations to them. Try them while starting from a different stance or posture, confuse your body from the beginning or at the end, while allowing it to find the confident familiar. Enhance your ability to problem solve and adapt.
You can intermingle your complicated and craft specific practice with conditioning exercises, whether these be basic calisenthics such as push ups or dips to object related exercises like barbell or medicine ball actions. Find a relevant number of actions, and intertwine them with your practice so that you can go from almost arbitrary physical exertions to focused and specific skill based practice. The practice of specifics will become harder has you suffer fatigue and it is here where the refinement, efficiency and mental aptitude is most apparent.
For those that seek a more subjective, non-craft based exercise regime you really have little excuse compared to those athletes or crafts people who can really be inhibited by a domestic setting for much of their practice. One can still lose body fat and find physical attributes from training at home. Especially with access to the internet one basically has an endless library of information, whether that happens to be aerobic routines, hip hop routines, gymnastic drills, ballet stretches, shadow boxing and so on, one can find that which they enjoy or like and attempt it. Most of all the more generic and less objective realm of physical exertion is satisfied by this library of information as well.
Despite access to others suggestions you can form a solid set of routines around actions that you enjoy while also looking at those you wish to improve. The common knowledge about warm up, activities, followed by cool down and stretching, while also observing hydration and post exertion nutritional replenishment is in itself enough for one to form a basis for a routine by which to attempt and observe. The specifics are not nearly as important as the actual doing and having a general theme and template by which to commence with.
This is where the motivation and consistency comes in. Actually being motivated enough to train on your own is one thing, being motivated enough to do it more than once is another. It will some days be harder than others, whether stress, work load, life in general or winter itself denies you the energies to get up and get to it, you truly need to hold dear your goals. They need to be both tangible and realistic. Your goals can not be elusive delusions where by you cast your mind into some imagined distance where you fantasy about what if’s more than what you can. The more that you actually step closer to subsequent goals, however minor that they are then the more likely that you will actually get to that distant fantasy. This is where the tenacity of consistency is most important. One will not gain any results if they are not doing their training, practice or exercise often and over time. It sounds quite obvious but many forsake this fact.
Furthermore, once one gains or achieves their goals, there is this cruel law of diminishing returns that constantly robs us all of the awesomeness that we may have once possessed. This means that no matter how well you may have made it to a point, if you do not keep at it, it will disappear and be just as hard if not harder to regain. No one said any of this was going to be easy. That was the guys selling you bunk. The trouble is that many assume that once you start results will trickle in and that is precisely the trouble, it can take ages and sometimes a life time before you can do something that you have been working out. You can also find near instant results or slighter ones that others will notice while you over look them. Do not arbitrarily invent a time line by which you expect everything to be as you desire it. The difference between an imagined reality and a true reality are often the greatest destroyers of individuals in mind and progress, this can often extend into all realms of life. What it should be like and how it is are usually far apart.
If you are really serious, serious in your intentions and self then you can and will find it possible to train regardless of your setting. You can take charge of your diet, and find a small space whether it is in the hotel room or your living room where you can shadow box, star jump, push up, sit up and stretch, often for most that is all that is needed. How hard, how many, how intense and how fast that you do them is for you to determine according to how you feel at the time. Adapt, evolve and become a dynamic. And even should you have access or are a regular gym goer, sometimes you can break things up by doing it at home.
The more advanced and skilled that you are or become in your craft-sport then the more specific tha your training needs to be. And for many who are at a certain level can appreciate it, it is often better to train alone than with the wrong people. Training with unskilled or non-likeminded people can just put simply waste your time. As a fighter for example I get nothing, absolutely nothing, from training with those who lack athletic coordination, skill or the proper temperament, no matter how huge their tattoos, biceps and boasts are. They will not challenge you for sparring and they certainly lack the language to allow you to practice specific actions and drills. In short, let them offer whatever they may over social media or from the barstool-weight bench and stick to those that are better than you or at-nearer your level.
Those who are starting out this can often be the case as well. If you wish to learn the complex and you lack any experience, knowledge or attributes that are relevant to it, simply learning from or training with someone who has no clue or is basically full of stench is in the long run dangerous for your journey and with the stench sellers, costly as well. Ideally if you want to learn kickball or stick hitter go to those clubs that have teams that play it most weekends, you will learn from actual players and coaches that play and may even find yourself soon playing. If you want to learn how to fight, whatever nuanced variation it may be, watch those who actually do it. Learn from someone who has or does. No point learning from someone who has no experience because what they do not know is more dangerous than what they think that they know. How do you do this? Internet searches has made a lot of people’s credibility, less credible, word of mouth or in time, you will develop an eye for it. You can in time see those who have no idea what they are doing when they move. In short if you are in a place full of bunk selling egos with useless belts, then simply get on YouTube watch a boxing match and start shadow boxing. It’s how I learned.
It is less than ideal to have nowhere to train or no one to do anything with. That is an unavoidable fact, but why should that be an excuse? If you want to be bound by a lack of ideal circumstances, then that is for you to determine for yourself. Human beings however evolved with the ability to problem solve and to make do with circumstances at hand, and often to adjust or change them, in any case the inability to problem solve and adapt is an indictment on yourself and perhaps the culture that you vaunt. If you only can do with perfect settings, then you are in actual fact failing as an evolutionary species and as an individual. Be harsh on yourself if that is what it takes for you to find motivation, but most of all do not indulge inside the pits of excuses. That will not help you accomplish your goals and it certainly will not help anything improve.
Get started today, be a gym.
Kym Robinson, July 2016
Half Caged but never without a fight