I am not going to preach on the increasingly familiar, yet not new, rather quite ancient concept of not working out to work out, or to get through the work out but getting either nothing more out of it or not applying it for something else. The athlete trains in order to perform better at a given sport. Working out for health is great, but it’s not just about the numbers at the doctor’s office, or on the scale, or the poundage on the barbell. If it helps you do the fun stuff better, the social and moral stuff better (like helping your fellow human get up, lift a couch, defend against a bad guy…).
Yes, there is satisfaction in pressing that Beast, finally! But don’t forget you also like to go to the batting cages, play a few inning with your office league. Or, catching some big waves while the swell is hitting your local spot, before it fades. You gotta be ready for it when it hits so you can enjoy it better and longer. Or, your grandchildren are visiting and you need the energy to chase them. Whatever floats your boat. But, please, go find a boat. Otherwise, it’s work. It gets stale, you don’t want to do it, you can’t measure it with the things you like, just the things you need to do (like a pressing or deadlifting protocol).
You want a plan? How about some of the concepts from Georges Hébert’s Guide Pratique de la Methode Naturelle? Hébert, by the way, is the original “traceur” to whom Parkour is credited to.
“Activity is a law of Nature. Every living being, obeying an innate need for natural activity, reaches complete physical development by the mere usage of locomotion, as well as manual labor and defense mechanisms.
Humans, in their most natural and primitive state, in the wild for instance, are compelled to lead an active life in order to sustain their needs, fulfilling complete physical development by only performing natural and functional exercises: walking, running, jumping, climbing, lifting, throwing, swimming, self-defense etc, as well as the partaking in mundane activities.”
“In civilized countries, social obligations, conventions and judgment distance men from their natural outdoors environment and often prevent the practice of physical activity. Physical development becomes set back, even stuck by said obligations or conventions.
Of those in modern society who are able to take a sufficient daily dose of training in line with their constitution can reach, without any particular method, full physical development by the simple practice of natural exercises and their variations and by performing basic functional drills or standard labor. This is a form of imitation of people living in a wild natural state, the difference being they do so by choice and leisure rather than by necessity.”
“Any physical education system or method contains the following exercises:
- Basic educational exercises: basic arm, leg, trunk movements, suspended/hanging work, supported work (planks, push-ups), balance work, hops and breathing patterns.
- Natural and necessary functional, divided into 8 categories: marching/walking, running, swimming, climbing, lifting weights, throwing objects and defensive/combative tactics.
- All sports and games, even for fun rather than useful function, as well as common manual labor.”
“You only need a brief moment to reflect on this to understand that these eight categories are all useful, in various degrees, throughout our existence. Outside of them exists the practice of activities like fencing, horseback riding, rowing, which are of secondary use or limited to a certain population; or games, ports, acrobatic or fun activities, none of which are needed for all individuals, regardless of social status or occupation.
Henceforth, there is only one general system geared at the perfection of the human machine, and it is based on progressive training and the methodical practice of natural and functional drills. We can call it the Natural Method.”
So, please remember:
“Just” training (#2) is not the goal.