Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Play versus Exercise ...

For a moment, think about the effort and intensity you put into yesterday's workout.   We started with the shoulder series – three rounds of very intense effort.  Then we had the lower body series – 10 minutes working your legs.  Next, four triceps exercises in a row!  And then we finished with the partner squats/jump squats + pushups/chest press/6" killers. 

Imagine attempting to duplicate today's workout on your own, at home or in a gym.  It can be done, no question.  But would you have sprinted as fast, and worked as hard to get in your squats and jump squats?  With the same level of focus and determination, without having a concern for your partner back at the mat doing pushups, chest presses and six inch killers?  Probably not.  You had that sense of "my partner is counting on me getting back to give her some relief from those pushups!"

I often say, "tomorrow's going to be fun!"  Sure, three versions of triceps kickbacks + up/down planks without rest is hard, and I'm sure you think that I'm not quite right by calling that "fun!"  But it sure beats trying to duplicate today's effort working out by yourself.  At home with that same old playlist, or in the gym next to 1987 Spandex Man grunting and growling with each Barbell Press he musters. 

You work MUCH harder with a partner, as part of a team, or in a group, than going it alone.  And when the workout is over, you know there are several other women that went through it all with you. 

Think about you little ones kids if you have them, or think about when you were a kid ... you didn't have a gym memberships.  They/you play(ed).  All sorts of ways - in sports, in the backyard, the cul-de-sac, all kinds of made up fun games.  Kids don't "exercise" yet they get more exercise than we could ever dream about getting. 

Two weeks ago on vacation I was having dinner at a beachside restaurant, under a canopy, overlooking the ocean.

There were other tables all around me with several families. Kids who had grown bored of grownup talk had abandoned their seats and were playing on the beach.

My daughter followed suit and quickly kicked off her flip flops and darted into the sand to build structures, jump from sand dune to dune, and play some made up game to protect the universe from alien invasion. 

The kids were wielding imaginary swords, fighting off a horde of imaginary ninjas or perhaps pirates and—thanks to their lightning-fast reflexes and karate chops—seemed to be winning.

After a series of kicks, rolls, jumps and sound effects, my daughter popped triumphantly to her feet, hurtled down another sand dune, and sprinted back to our table for a quick update on her victory over the evil aliens.

For most kids, physical movement is a joy. It's an inherent part of play, and it's just how they get around. It's what they do for fun, to get home from school, or to escape a band of pretend pirates.

They don't move around begrudgingly, because they feel like they have to. They move around because it's fun.

We may not have the luxury of saving the world as ninjas on a beach as the sun sets … but we CAN find ways to make exercise fun and interesting.

And tomorrow we'll talk about why finding the fun in our workouts is so important.

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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