1. Training to Move vs Moving to Train
No program will make you a complete mover.
A great number of coaches claim their methods will make you a «complete movement practitioner» - these assertions are only outdone by the amount of broken promises left in their wake.
Movement is too broad in scope to be reduced down to what anyone can fit on a spreadsheet, or in a year’s worth of workouts. That doesn’t stop a lot of people from trying to make it happen, which is unfortunate seeing as it leaves them depleted.
They cram as many exercises, skills and disciplines into their sessions as possible, thinking this simply is the sacrifice a mover is destined to make. The result is that the energy they should get from working out gets lost because of how demanding it has become.
A proper training program should give you more than you give it.
A program should address weaknesses, help you on your way towards your goals and make sure that you distribute your efforts in a favorable way. Most importantly, the net result of any program should be that it gives you a surplus of energy that you can use to pursue your interests.
If your primary goal is to work out more, then go for it. Whatever floats your boat. However, if your intention is to become a more allrounded mover then you should use that surplus of energy to explore what cannot be programmed.
You want to climb? Dance? Juggle? Learn a martial art?
A program can allow these things to more easily happen by improving your physical capacity, but once be it tries to «be those things» it will fall short and often take you down with it.
2. Training vs Practicing
The modern day gym owes almost everything to two remarkable individuals: Jack LaLanne and Arthur Jones.
The Godfather of Fitness, Jack LaLanne, designed the first leg extension machine, smith machine and pulley machine. He would also go on to create the weight selectors that you can find in almost all resistance machines that exist in gyms today.
Arthur Jones, an avid collector of exotic animal and whose favorite quote supposedly was «specialization is for insects», invented the Blue Monster, the prototype for what would ultimately become Natitilus’s extensive line of resistance machines. At the dawn of fitness, and long after, these were the machines you would use to get your pump on.
Their inventions were important for a simple reason: They allowed the rise of the commercial gym to happen by letting the general population to train without having to be taught or practice movements.
At the time, there were far from enough trainers to satisfy demands.
The only way to cater to the fitness and bodybuilding craze that sweeped the continents - in part due to Arnord Schwarzenegger’s debut in Pumping Iron, as well as Jane Fonda’s aerobic tapes - would be to start gyms with equipment that would let people to jump right to the «exercise» part of training.
Gym culture spoiled us from its very beginnings and the effects are noticeable to this day: We prioritize exercise and underappreciate the necessity (and benefits) of practice.
All movements deserve to be refined, even the basics. If our association to exercises is that we should primarily endure them in an effort to improve our bodies, we miss out on the opportunity to improve the exercises themselves.
Take a step back and revisit the movements you train, simply by practicing them. Just like how the same book will teach you different lessons at different stages in your life, so does movement.
3. Saving vs Spending
"So imagine if we have these two activities: spending and saving. One of them is completely invisible – the one called saving. One of them is very visible – the one called spending. Which one are we going to focus on?"
- Dan Ariely
Efforts, and the results they yield, are highly visible.
You don't even have to look for them - you'll still on a daily basis be bombarded by images of impressive bodies doing impressive things. If you can't find them on the street, tv or smartphone, you're guaranteed to identify them at your local gym or in the thoughts that keep your peace at bay.
However, there’s an invisible and neglected gap between results and how you go about getting them:
In the same way we "know" that spending money without saving some of it is a fool’s errand, we also "know» that training without recovery is a poor use of time.
"Knowing" this, though, is not the same as doing something about it.
We’re designed to be swayed and nudged in the direction of where our surroundings encourage us to go. There’s no shortage of daily incidents where you’re shown which exercises you «simply must do» or which things you «simply must have». In comparison, the times you’re encouraged by your external environment to rest your body (and perhaps set aside some cash) are scarce.
The result of these tendencies is that the we’ve become passive about recovery. We spend massive amounts of time researching, planning and actively being engaged in the work we think we ought to do, whereas recovery, though appreciated for how important it is, is expected to simply happen by itself.
We don't want to worry about this - enough people already are, and it is the very thing that prevents their recovery from happening in the first place. Be that as it may, we need to be invested in what allows us to heal and better ourselves.
A sensible diet is a sound investment.
Plenty of sleep is the best interest rate you'll ever find.
A calm mind is a budget that takes care of your future so that you can live in the present.
These miracle cures can only be created by you, which is why they're seldom sold to you. Your job is to not get distracted by what's being advertised so that you can use the tools that already are at your disposal to promote your own health.