Proper Movement. The Fitness Trend Discussed Among Few
I love watching people move. Even those (perhaps especially those) who do not do it well fascinate me. Trying to understand the complexities in the movement patterns of people is what I’ve chosen to make a career of. And, while many have come to me over the years for a variety of health and fitness reasons, my priority has always been to help them understand the value of proper movement, and the unknown dangers that we expose ourselves to because we don’t. That, combined with proper nutrition, I believe will take care of most of our health-related issues. DIS-EASE within our bodies is the problem. Remove the hyphen and you’ll understand.
While fascinating for me, it can also be disappointing to watch people struggle with achieving their fitness ambitions, knowing that: if they could just make a small shift in their thinking, so much more could be achieved; knowing that, the body parts that they like the least on themselves, are the same parts that they use least frequency and efficiency; knowing that, the pain or injuries that they are suffering from have been accumulated for the same reasons, and; knowing that, changing their minds or understanding around their FITNESS will be the best thing that they could do for themselves, which will remove many of the hurdles that they face.
The calendar has advanced another year, and so has our renewed plans to achieve long-lasting weight-loss. For the good of our collective health, I highly advise it. Yet, with all of the dieting and workout advocates selling to you an already tried and failed method to reach your goals, very few are are willing to tell you the truth: It’s not that simple. I’m sorry. But someone had to to tell you. The only people who achieve long-lasting benefits from many of the most popular fitness and nutrition marketing are those who are already self-motivated. The proverbial choir. But, you already know that, don’t you?
What you don’t know is that the human species wasn’t meant to do the one thing that we spend most of our days doing. NOTHING. Your body really doesn’t care that you spend half of your day at the office or home doing what we call WORK. Sitting, and being inactive is causing us severe harm. Yes, it is helpful that we go to the gym several times per week. However, sitting is like an antacid. Our repeated levels of inactivity literally counteracts the benefits derived from our fitness programs. Sitting compounds the problem by compressing our spine – the home of our central nervous system.
We are literally a nuclear factory, meant to be engaging in a dynamic exchange of energy consumption and expenditure. That’s what you’re not being told. And, your inability to lose weight is because you’ve shut down that nuclear factory. We have set it up to be on minimal power. Sort of like like turning down the heat and shutting down the lights prior to leaving home. Except, we’re always home. Starving ourselves and then doing the bare minimal for the day is not what we were supposed to do be doing. Some fairly extreme and dangerous fitness and nutritional practices are being deployed by millions of us attempting to achieve weight-loss or fitness as compensation. And, those advocating these radical measures need to stop taking advantage of the well intended with their hard-earned dollars, and fragile states.
A hyper-successful businessman once told me: “Devon, you’ll make more money selling dreams than selling reality”. A truer statement has never been said. And, it is because of that truth that my industry and others sell the gimmicks that we do. We want to believe in the “Magic Bullet”. That evasive fountain of youth. The oasis in the dessert. Shangri La. The recipe to success.
Alright. Let me sell you both a dream and the reality.
You can achieve the body that you’ve longed for. In fact, it can be even better than you’ve envisioned. However, you’re going to have to acquire a little patience. I’m going to advocate for small shifts and changes, rather than big nudges. Working in phases and stages, rather than fits and starts. And do the following:
1. Learn what proper nutrition is, and its benefits to your body. If diet books worked, its millions of readers would be fit, healthy and strong. Common-sense is what you need to acquire. Start by never again buying something that says “Low-fat’, or “Low-carbs”. Read Dr. David Katz’ excellent article on Unintended Consequence. When going to the grocery stores, avoid the aisles – everything that you need can be found around the periphery. Consult with a nutritionist if you need help making sense of it.
2. Whenever you get a chance (time yourself if need be), stand up. Inactivity is routinely expressed as one of the biggest culprits in our DIS-EASED culture. I know, it seems too good to be true. But, we need to move more often. In combination, sitting is quite literally killing us.
3. Learn the value of proper movement patterns, and what we were meant to do by doing some research on people like Dr. Eric Goodman, and his Foundation Training method. I’m happy to teach it to you. Ido Portal, like Eric Goodman is an excellent movement specialist. Read Sitting Kills, by Dr. Joan Vernikos.
Lastly, I’m, hoping this is the year that the value in proper movement goes mainstream. Many of the most active among us are unknowingly causing gradual destruction to our bodies because our movement patterns, lifts and activities are being performed without the appropriate muscular chains interacting with each other. We see this every day at my gym, Balance Fitness.
For those who want to move away from the congregation and join the other members of the choir, the tips I’ve provided are a simple, yet constructive beginning. Do not dismiss the value in small shifts making big differences.
Devon McGregor, BFA, BSc, Human Kinetics, is a fitness expert with nearly 25 years experience and co-founder of Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness centre.Balance 52 St. Clair Avenue East Toronto 416-BALANCE [225.2623] www.BalanceFit.com