A funny thing happens when people find out what I do for a living. They always ask me THE question. It’s kind of funny because I always know when it’s coming. This sort of serious inquisitive glaze fills their eyes, they shift their body weight, as if they are preparing to be enlightened and then IT roles off their tongue. So I clear my head, wet my lips, and get ready to tell them a truth that they inherently know, but are usually not ready to hear.
The conversation usually goes something like this:
Inquiring mind: “What is the BEST exercise for ________?”
(You can fill in that blank with almost anything – ‘for runners’, ‘to help me lose weight’, ‘overall total body toning’, ‘my butt‘, ‘my abs’, ‘this spot right here’ ‘this extra baby weight I can’t seem to get rid of’, etc. – it is literally an endless list.)
Me: “There is no such thing as a best exercise for ________.”
That is about the time the twinkle in their eye disappears and the look of confusion sets in. I can almost hear the next few thoughts go through their mind:
“You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about…”
“Whatchu talking bout, Willis?”
“Great…God really does hate me.”
In those next few moments, I feel an overwhelming amount of empathy because I know your co-worker, your sister’s friend, the trainer at the corporate gym you belong to, your neighbor, and the latest issue of your favorite fitness magazine have all told you that there is indeed a best exercise or super sexy movement that you should be doing to cure “________”.
They are all wrong… and all right.
As a culture we have clung for far too long to a one size fits all approach to health and fitness. While there is no such thing as a “best exercise” for everyone, there is definitely a way to sift through all the options and end up with a fitness program that best fits YOUR needs. A program should be designed around YOU, not the other way around. That is why I have decided to dedicate this blog to sharing my approach to health. I call it the B.E.S.T. (Breathe – Evaluate – Select – Trust) method to getting healthy.
Too many people seek out a health & wellness program with this idea in their head that a superior program exists. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. No program is superior to another.
Health, and more specifically fitness, programs co-exist on a horizontal line without one superseding another. Indeed, there are some that are more dynamic, comprehensive, or appealing than others, but to reign one over another is a fallacy. Depending on the individual, “Sweating to the Oldies” can be just as beneficial as “Crossfit”. For a program to be truly superior it must fit all of YOUR health needs, not just be an ‘ass kicker’, so to speak. Again, a program should be designed around YOU, not the other way around.
The convicted practitioner who shouts out to the world from his fitness pulpit that his program is superior to the rest does so with one huge assumption: that everyone is ready for HIS specific program.
My goal is to help you understand and choose which program is B.E.S.T for YOU. Before we can make that choice we have to determine if you are ready. That is what I’ll be discussing in my next blog; ARE YOU READY?
~Obedient to the Energy
“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.
I believe seeds are one of the greatest wonders of our world.
A tiny seed can grow to gigantic proportions, like the Redwoods of California or the Cotton Wood tree that sits it the middle of the capital city of Sierra Leone.
We get to stand underneath these towering masterpieces that Nature has provided us with and bask in their shear size and beauty. If we close our eyes, we might even see our selves in these trees. If for a moment we can turn our focus inwards, we will be comforted with an understanding that we too can elevate from being a seed to a robust tree.
But seeds don’t just grow upwards to the sky. They grow down too, deep into the Earth. Seeds develop sturdy root systems that keep them grounded.
A task we must also take on, if we are ever going to grow into the trees we seek to be.
Our root system is composed of our understanding of the fundamental principals we live by, everything from our beliefs about movement to nutrition to spirituality. It will be these fundamentals that keep us grounded and growing. (A fact we have known since we were seeds but sometimes attempt to ignore.) The ignorance that drives us to decide to only grow upwards and to disregard the fundamentals will only develop us into shallow rooted tumbleweeds, not magnificent trees. When the winds of adversity pick up, we will be uprooted and sent tumbling.
But if we adhere to the simple knowledge we’ve possessed since we were seeds and put our focus into growing our roots, as deep as our trunk is tall, then we can develop into a version of ourselves that resembles the majesty of the North Western Coniferous forests.
Developing your root system by embracing fundamentals is simple. And it starts from cultivating the complexities of our seeds.
Billy & Jules
Sometimes choosing a workout routine can be a challenge. Here are four ingredients that we find important to a successful workout regimen.
- Breathing awareness
Breathing and movement are interdependent. We are always breathing we just aren’t always aware of our breath. They each have the ability to enhance the other either positively or negatively. Knowing when and how to breathe during a workout can make or break the quality of your movement. Improper breathing can cause poor posture and even anxiety. If you have a tendency to hold your breath, pant, or just simply lack breathing awareness, you may need to invest some time in breathing exercises or educating yourself on when and how to breath during various movements.
- Moving in multiple planes
This means your workout ensures that you are moving side to side, forward and backward, up and down, at diagonals, twisting/rotating, and bending and lengthening. Many workout regimens do not include all of these patterns. Lots of individuals get “stuck” moving in a forward motion all the time. Rotations and cross-body work is key to balancing the asymmetries of the body and reducing the chance for injury. Any workout that is done repeatedly without variation has the potential to cause “stress injury” from overuse. Keep it interesting AND beneficial with lots of variety!
- Does the method match your goal?
Many people simply jump to whatever is “trending” in the fitness world without a thought of “is this practical for my goals? Will this help me perform “x-y-and-z” better?” If your goal is simply to feel better, drop that extra weight, and have more energy then high-intensity training may not be a good fit for you. Or, to give another example, if you’re experiencing pain in your shoulders a push-up and pull-up routine probably belongs on the back-burner until you’ve addressed that issue with some rehabilitative movements. If consistent pain, loss of motivation, and lack of results are reoccurring, it might be time to reconsider. When your intention doesn’t match your workout, failure is sure to ensue.
- Intensity should match your energy
This is the area that will make or break you when it comes to your workouts. If you’re feeling lethargic and down maybe it’s the time for something energizing like a hike, yoga, or breathing movements. Just because a high intensity workout is on the schedule doesn’t mean we have to follow through with it. Saving that hardcore weight session for a day when you are feeling naturally energized will glean better results. We often get rigid about our routines and ignore what’s going on inside. Listening-in will be sure to lead to greater health and more powerful workouts.
We hope this has you thinking about what you’re doing and why.
~ Happy Moving
Billy & Jules