Now before you sigh loudly and dismiss this post as an opportunity to make a political statement, read on. This is brain diarrhea about the current state of the movement industry. Although it could be said that there are specific property lines for each industry (fitness, rehab, strength/conditioning, etc.), let’s be honest and recognize that there is much crossover and back and forth among all collective provinces of the “Union”.
Let’s take a look at evolution. Now before you run off thinking that there is a Darwinian lecture behind this sentence, read on. Things change. If they didn’t, who knows where we would be. If change stopped around the time I was born we would be watching video tapes on a VCR, Disney World may not have opened, Pong, the first awesome video game wouldn’t have lead to Xbox Halo 4, may still be fighting in Vietnam, girls may not be playing sports, I wouldn’t be typing a blogpost, nor would my iPhone be sending me messages. We wouldn’t know anything about any of the Skywalker family, nor would we care. Elvis Presley would still be king and-Michael Jackson would have never been afforded the opportunity.
Now that we clearly understand that evolution is important, let’s survey the collective provinces. Let’s begin by attempting to name these provinces and some share very common borders, in fact very much overlap. Group Fitness, Strength Training, Outdoor Fitness, Mindful Movement, Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Corrective Exercise, Medical Exercise, Functional Training, Performance Training, and Other. Where’s Crossfit? Crossfit is the sport of training. Where’s Pilates? Well, do you want to segregate the movement technique from a broader classification of mindful movement? There is no sure way to definitively illustrate the map because anybody that has personal bias will be offended by the categorization of these provinces. I could call them states but I’m giving some love to Canada here–and besides, if we don’t realize that the world is intimately connected and the training has no borders, then we are being ignorant.
Now that the map is laid out (sort of), we can begin the speech.
“Fellow members of the fitness community, fellow members of the rehab community, fellow members of…we can go on all day here…We are going to tackle many issues this year in a bipartisan way and it’s going to require help on behalf of publishers, bloggers, critics, and social media trolls. There is no question that that money is to be made and messages will be crafted to foster that desire to climb to the top of the heap. Gun usage, substance abuse, and the pornification of the fitness industry are top contributors.” Oh now he’s going to make a gratuitous political statement! No, you should know better by now. Guns are the large contractile masses between the shoulder and the elbow and frequently encounter mirrors of big box gyms and social media feeds. In fact guns are not allowed in at least one chain of gyms for fear of sounding a “lunk” alarm. This is nonsense. Let’s respect that if somebody wishes to build muscle mass, let them do so. If somebody declines the route to bulking up and would rather spend time moving their joints through full ranges of motion under sub-bodyweight loads, then let them be. If somebody wants to perform repetitive submaximal loads for long periods of time without taking a potty break, that’s fine. Everybody has a preference and that’s what makes our union beautiful. The art of identifying and targeting specific movement patterns with an objective to improve an athlete’s performance is fine too. Why criticize? There should be no lunk alarms, however there should be rules–but who’s rules are right?
All too often we read criticism. Let’s take a very brief look at the evolutionary journey to fitness to shed some light on this matter. There were likely some resistance pieces such as carved stones that played a role in the training of Ancient Greek Olympians, however it was likely just before the Wild West that a dumbbell had a specific purpose, shortly followed by Indian clubs. Jumping ahead a few decades, a systematic way of moving the body without weights was introduced through a system called Pilates and military calisthenics. Although kettlebells were created several centuries ago, their intended purpose for strength training didn’t materialize until the 20th century. By mid 20th century, we were introduced to machines with stacks and pulleys. So, considering that humans have been moving around the earth for a long time, all this stuff is relatively new!
Before you consider calling out somebody’s technique, or whether or not they should be wearing shoes, or belts, braces, or tape, let’s all consider that we are new at this and let’s not rush to judgement that aerobic classes to the tune of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” while wearing leg warmers and lycra onsies should not be considered even today.
Bottom line, let’s make it a year that we be respectful. Thanks for all you do and we look forward to learning from each other.
Bryce Taylor PT, MS
Creator of Halo Trainer/Training