January 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
You’re approaching the base of a steep, perilous incline and are already a lather from a lengthy bout of cardio. This hill separates you from magnificent view of the ocean, or your front door and a stein of icy-cold lemon water, as may also be the case.
You could trudge up it’s face, like a worn-out mutt, feet dragging, the burn of lactic acid slowly dissipating as you amble upwards at snails pace.
Or, you could take stand. Pick a post that marks your imaginary starting line. Suck some fresh air into your deflated lung-sacs and squint with steely conviction at the summit.
Head down, take it on. Run, push, whatever it takes to get there. Reaching the top, you shed a pain-induced tear or two.
Congratulations, you have passed stage 1 of Warrior initiation. Feel free to beat chest heroically.
You see, ever since I bought my vibrams last year, I’ve been known to sporadically take a flying leap, veer off the footpath, and blaze my own trail. These babies take you places you’ve never been before. Like the park down my street. Who’d have thought?
It’s a glorious thing to wear these flimsy little rubber socks (because that’s essentially what they are), feel every rock and stick underfoot (watch where you’re running!) and connect more with the ground than if you were gliding along on $300 worth of Nike air.
This podiatry freedom combined with other external influences has led me to rethink the basics of how we ‘work out’. How natural is it to head to the gym, spend 30 minutes going nowhere on a big hunk of plastic, alongside another 10, zoned out with earphones in and timing your distance, pace and calories burned, to a hundredth of a percent? How natural is it to knuckle down and run around your neighborhood at a steady pace for 10kms without any bursts of speed, explosive movement, or variation in route? Are we really meant to allocate 1 hour each day for the sole purpose of completing a set fitness regime without an ounce of exertion for the other 23?
Of course not. Look at children. They run everywhere. They are playful, energetic, restless. Similarly, before the world was so industrialized, people would have had no need for dedicated workout time. Rather, ploughing, walking miles and miles to deliver goods/communications, lifting, chopping, staving-off bears/gypsies/demons would have provided them with ample exercise, and worthwhile exercise at that. They would have been lean, mean, and mighty keen (if only for the sake of the rhyme).
I know these activities are convenient in a modern world, and we all do them (I obviously go to the gym, run monotonous km’s and participate in disengaged exercise on a regular basis) but perhaps we should rethink how we execute our activity so it is more fun/variable/intense? Because, as I always ask myself, WWBGD?
What would Bear Grylls do, indeed.
The new folk I work with are likewise inspiring me to rethink the way I ‘do’ exercise. These guys are fierce. Like, Tyra-Banks-ain’t-seen-nuttin’-fierce. They throw things around, use giant hunks of metal to perform crazy-ass lifts and swings and tackle perilous obstacle courses (incidentally, if you are competing in the Warrior Dash next month, I’d advise you either forfeit, or at least invest in some protective steel/mithril armour. You’re in danger of being unmercifully shanked!).
Yesterday, I channelled the spirit of spontaneous, warrior-like madness on my run. I included random sprint intervals, diversions in route (ie. launching myself over garden beds and over non-pedestrian-advised areas (soz council)) and used pretty park benches to do step-ups and push-ups. In effect, a much more entertaining and exhausting hour than anything I usually do.
Next time you’re out exercising, or even at the gym, why not see if you can include some spontaneity, fearsome feats of strength, or at the very least a throaty growl to let the universe know it should be AFRAID.
Then break out some downward dog to recover.
What are your thoughts? Do you harbour any crazy or unconventional exercise habits?