For over 33 years, I’ve been involved in fitness, watching people fling themselves through space with the hope that just moving will get them somewhere. Even worse, the people with no goal moving through space with no destination. For a society that seems to have so little time, why would you waste it not knowing where you’re going and moving through space with no goal or means of achieving it?
I don’t say any of this to belittle anyone, but I do think it’s time to start moving with a purpose. I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about what they are working during an exercise and how it functions. I encourage them to think about how to stretch the muscle you’re working and then how to contract it. This makes the biggest difference in what they’re doing and getting the outcome they desire.
For many years, I would watch aerobic classes go on filled with people working hard, having fun, but never changing, sometimes doing it for a year or more before finally giving up. The unfortunate thing is that some small tweaks to what they were doing would have made all the difference and would have allowed them to progress. But because of the nature of large group exercise, it’s difficult for the instructor to correct people when they are doing something wrong or just need a small tweak. It’s the small tweaks that make the most difference. It’s also hard to move with purpose when you’re trying to move to the beat. None of these things lend itself to you making progress.
To break this otherwise endless cycle, you have to first understand that you have to do more than just move. You should want to be more like a Swiss watch, where everything needs to move with precision. Without this kind of precision, something will break. Your understanding of motion and sensation is critical. In other words, understanding motion means “this is the body part and this is how it functions,” whereas sensation is more like “this is what I should experience when I use this.” Once you understand the motions and the sensations that coincide with them, you will see more progress. Equipped with the knowledge of motion and sensation, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you will get there faster.
At the end of the day, anything you do in life is better the more precise you are, and fitness is no different. Take time to understand what you’re doing, how things work, and try to become a skilled craftsman, and you will achieve great things. It will take time to understand how your body works. Don’t rush it. Each new discovery brings workouts that are more productive.
My biggest goal in life is to help people get the most out of their own experience, so if I can help, just let me know. Feel free to email directly at email@example.com