One of the most distressing realisations of recent advances in exercise physiology and research is that each advance forward makes me know less than I thought I did.
When I was young (about 20 years ago) and I was representing my State for various sports, I knew, or we thought we all knew that cardio involved simply running around an oval until we puked and that strength training was just doing weights such as the back-squat, the press, some push-ups and pull-ups. Did we do core work? I think we did – but a stability ball, a wobble board was certainly never present.
Nowadays, I think these fine simplicities are lost: The gyms assure us that there is no such thing as free-weights for women and women’s health and fitness magazines assure us that there is no such thing as a good run. This is happening at an unprecedented rate of occurrence. Who ever heard of Reebok or Nike coming out and saying that there’s no such thing as bare feet or Lorna Jane maintaining that for us girls to sweat, that we need to do it in a $100 outfit. Yet, that is no odder than what gymnasiums and the Public Press have been doing.
To begin with the latter, the Public Press reduces women’s health and fitness exercise down to useless passive and submissive like poses as if we are stuck in the 18th century. There are, however, various consequences in the way of reducing women down to 18th century type figures when performing physical activity. I do think that these consequences are insufferable. What I can say with authority is that based on the basis of human movement itself, is that what we have until now is that our body is quite an elaborate machine and construction not really corresponding to any of those exercises that they prescribe. Our bodies are complex constructions, and yet what they prescribe is conveniently lazy, isolated, basic type exercises. You will find yourself going around and around and around – in a circle. Our body should be an emanation of exercise, and exercise should be performed to honour our body. Performing isolated type movements with little to no weight is not right, and you have to look for something that is neither basic nor light, for which your body can become both advanced, strong and mobile.
I am a strong opponent of both gymnasiums and the Public Press. That I make quite clear in all my writings, but are actuated by my two main desires: the first to prove that the body is capable of achieving anything, and the second is to prove that the ultimate in achieving greatness is mental rather then physical. In both these respects when I exercise I honour movement and not muscles. I listen to my heart and not my head. I pour all my energies into the technique and to the form and I never waiver. If I cannot perform a perfect movement, then I stop. I either reduce the weight or I perform a simpler move. Do I give up on the movement. No. I come back another day and retry.
It is of course rash to dogmatize as to what exercise science may achieve in the future. We may learn to run less then 9 seconds for 100m, learn to jump higher then 3m, it all seems quite possible and plausible. But if there is any truth in modern physics, and more in particular with Newton’s second law of gravity, we cannot presume that records will continue to be broken forever.
I love this conclusion, fancy things come and go, but if we be honest with ourselves, and if I can dilute your pretensions, there is nothing better then performing basic human movement to increase our functional existence and comfort. That is why, in spite of the horror of both what happens in the gyms and the Public Press, you can not escape the beauty of movement – she will rise again one day and be once again adorned.
Ladies, for heaven’s sake – learn the beauty of movement, and watch the magic unfold.