I know it can be hard to think of it in this way, but stick with me. When many people think about fitness success, or they see people who are clearly in great shape, it can seem like a mystery. An intangible. But for those who have walked through a fitness journey themselves, and may be a little further along in the understanding… they know. They know that there is a process of building muscle and losing fat and redefining the structure and shape of their bodies.
You’ll notice I didn’t say, “They know that all they have to do is go on a 2-week juice cleanse!” Or that all they have to do is “ride an elliptical machine for 60 minutes a day, and only eat 1,200 calories!” (NOTE: Please, most certainly do NOT ride an elliptical machine for 60 minutes a day and only eat 1,200 calories! Moving on…)
The explanations and evidence for why that (and every other gimmick on earth) won’t work are found in our biology.
Long before we humans enjoyed the creature comforts afforded to us by cell phones, and minivans, and flat-screen televisions, we had a very different way of life. We hunted. We foraged. We roamed long stretches of earth on bare feet. Men and women alike. And it was this set of staggeringly different circumstances that became coded into our DNA. We evolved to live one way, and now in this moment we live a million miles away from the origins of that biology.
When we’re exercising in the gym or at a park or in our homes, we are creating a laboratory to test and study the mechanisms that build our bodies.
Still with me here? Good, I’m proud of you for keeping an open mind.
So when I think of modern exercise, I’m thinking about building a kind of foundational fitness that taps into the psychology of evolution. Outwardly it shapes a physique that reflects a well-rounded body and mind, challenged deeply and over time to grow and be healthy.
Sometimes that means lifting weights, heavy weights. Men and women equally. I’m absolutely convinced that safe and strategic weight lifting must be present to have a truly great and well-rounded body you can be proud of. If it doesn’t seem like your “style,” see it as stress relief, pretend you’re in the jungle running from a tiger, vent about your boss. Whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter how your mind gets “locked into” the task of lifting weights, it only matters that you can manufacture INTENSITY and call upon your muscles to respond
I have a hunch that people who are struggling right now with their weight, or their body image, or their health, would be well-served to try to find their own version of this lens in their life.
What would it mean for you to think about wellness and self-care in terms of tapping into your genetic predispositions as a human (and for that matter, the most evolved and intelligent creature ever to evolve on earth)?
It is my sincere hope that this has given you something to think about and can be beneficial in your life. I’m genuinely curious to hear how that compares & contrasts to the paradigm of fitness you have in your mind most of the time. Will you comment here or email me at RJ@indyathomefitness.com and let me know what you think?