Updated: Dec 23, 2019
"What workouts should I be doing?"
My wife and I owned a gym for almost a decade.
I sit on The Wellness Committee of our fire department: helping oversee the physical and mental health of over 150 men and women.
My wife and I have been asked "what workouts should I be doing" a countless number of times.
It's the wrong question.
Not because the person asking it is wrong, but because the person asking it doesn't know where else to begin!
The question is shallow. We need more depth to get to a real answer.
There are an infinite amount of strategies and opinions on "the best" type of workouts from friends, coaches, business owners, gurus, experts, and online fitness personalities.
The opinions can be emotionally charged: as strong as opinions on politics, religion and diet.
The strategy can also, in itself, be magnificent and intelligent and still not be the right strategy for the person asking the question.
The landscape is tough to navigate and often leads to exasperation, frustration or misery from the person asking, the seemingly simple question of, "What workouts should I do?"
As the New Year approaches, the question is being raised with a bit more regularity by folks looking to re-adjust, refresh or just plain "get back on track".
We offer you these thoughts on "what workouts should I be doing?"
1. Stop looking for workouts and start looking for a movement practice.
A "workout" seems to inadvertently mentally confine most people to a run, a bike, a swim or a gym setting.
A movement practice liberates the mind and engages us on a different level: taking us from what must I do, to what do I want to do.
The "workout" possibilities become open-sourced, practical, flexible and engaging. We can easily think "outside the box" because we've removed the box!
2. Why do you want what you want for yourself?
Most people say they want to workout to "lose weight" or "get stronger": this is practical and nice but vague and will not sustain you when things get difficult.
Why is "losing weight", "getting stronger", or whatever else your reason might be, IMPORTANT to you?
What is the emotional root: the reason that gets you fired up or choked up? THAT'S the key to sustaining a movement practice.
How do you find your emotional root?
Keep asking yourself over and over again, "And why is that important?" Every time you answer this question until you unravel your mystery: until you FEEL emotional.
This is POWERFUL stuff. Be ready.
3. Let go of your need to set goals based on external results.
Yep, that's right. Let go of your goals. Sort of...
This takes maturity and courage; and it can EASILY be twisted into something it is not meant to mean. (re: saying this kind of thing freaks people out... and freaked out people respond emotionally.)
We will try to explain this within the limited context of text only:
Have a movement practice FOREVER, without pressures or expectations, and The Process will take care of itself; and you.
Move because moving is the right thing to do. Period.
If you are bold enough to embrace this idea, every material thing you want from a movement practice will eventually show up... with much more kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, patience and love.
You will play. You will experiment. You will flow.
You will train for the race with a different perspective.
You will lose the weight with less angst.
You will get stronger and more agile simply because you are dedicated to your best you, not a specific result.
You will have a focused training program without focusing solely on the material result as the measure of your success (or your self worth). (Read that one again if you didn't understand it: this kind of perspective is a game-changer when it comes to happiness.)
Instead of quitting when things get hard or you get bored, you will dig deeper. You will adapt. You will roll forward into the next phase of your journey.
This is much easier to sustain (and mentally healthier)... simply because it is much more spiritual and, therefore, much more enjoyable.
4. Take an integrative approach.
Your movement practice is visceral. It is THE BEST place to start when building a NEW Self because it IS action and the results can be FELT immediately.
The more you move the more you will want to eat healthier.
The more you move the more you will come to learn about yourself and the more engaged you will become in your own personal development.
When you feel lost, your movement practice will help you center yourself again.
The more you move the more you will want to move.
Embrace all of these things without needing to do all these things: they will happen in their own time as long as you keep moving.
You are changing your behaviors... this takes time. Be kind to yourself.
5. Talk to a pro.
All of this is simple. None of this is easy. Get personal.
Talk to an industry professional in your local area.
The right support group is absolutely necessary for most people to sustain their Best Self.
Because that's what a movement practice is actually supposed to do: allow you to develop your Best Self.
And no one can do this alone.
This article was originally posted as an email to our Essential Way group. You can also SUBSCRIBE to it here. If you're interested in achieving more health, wellness, and vitality, we'd love to have you onboard.