Challenges come throughout your life in all different shapes and sizes. For us, at FEAT the challenges start from when the alarm goes off in the morning; facing the challenge of getting out of bed, to the challenges of a session; which presents itself in the form of the complexity of movement, coordination, time under tension, reps, stability, load and much more. But it is important for you to understand what the challenge is in the session and where it is coming from. By getting clear on this, you are able to really focus in on a sessions aims and not get caught up on the rhetoric of the fitness industry. At the moment we are really diving into what our training is all about and how can you best take control of your results at training, within your FEAT sessions.
The fitness industry measures the difficulty of a session by how much you sweat (very easy to sweat in summer) and results are defined by how little the gravitational pull is on your body (weight loss). These industry claims have been exacerbated by media images of photoshopped people on the front of magazines and marketable 'industry experts' who's reputation is judged by having been through the army or on a reality tv show, not intellect or understanding of human mechanics.
The next thing to present itself is the newest fad workout that is going to solve all your life problems by following this one way of doing things - at the moment we are all obsessed with HIIT training as it ticks these boxes of not being time-intensive (only taking 45min), proving that you're working hard (bucket loads of sweat) and getting you results (a reduced gravitational pull that may get you closer to looking like that airbrushed model on the front of Mens/Womens Health Magazine). But what is the exchange? The exchange is that although you have dropped weight (probably dehydrated from the sweating which is the marker of a good workout) your body has lost movement capacity. By continuously training at these intensities, you increase the risk of injury as your movement variety has to be dropped or you never get a proper opportunity to learn the correct technique to execute the movement.
Obviously, these ideas extended way past the morning training alarm and into our everyday lives. So often we are reminded that it is the challenge that creates a life worth living. I completely agree with the fact that a flat road has never created a strong runner, the same way an easy life has never created a strong human. But most people are so disconnected to the challenge, that their challenge is sold to them by the media or mainstream ideas, rather than chosen. The obvious power in choosing your challenge is that you become the master of your own destiny and create a future that, although challenging, is the path to where you want to be.
For our training at FEAT, we move away from mainstream fitness myths and into the world of choice. By training smart as well as hard, we are creating a consistency that allows this to be a part of your life for a long period of time. This consistency is where the results really hide. We sometimes, bring the intensity down to focus on our skill capacity. It is not always easy and sometimes frustrating. Yet, this ability to open your mind to new skill sets will improve your movement capacity as well as opening your mind up to new learnings of everyday life.
The last level of this is about understanding that this is all bigger than you. When you start to put your energy on things bigger than yourself, you start to find passion and fulfilment that well surpasses the relatively little barriers in a life that is centred around you alone. Working as a community and holding your training partners to these newly set standards is part of the path to self-mastery. But by focusing on more than just the way your moving, by holding those around you to these standards, we will all improve. Understanding that your success is directly linked to the success of the people on either side of you will push you to new heights with your training that you never would have thought possible.
Michael Jordan is a prime example of someone who understood that it was about far more than self-mastery alone - this is all really well documented in the doco 'The Last Dance'. When Jordan started at the Chicago Bulls he was clearly a superstar. Yet, he knew that a superstar in a team satisfied with mediocrity would always suppress his capacity to excel. So MJ took the responsibility for his circle of influence. He started working with each player individually, making sure that all the players knew he was around to support them in the journey of becoming a better version of themselves (all though sometimes he was incredibly harsh in his approach). Whilst he was there to support, he also started to demand of them to be better than they thought they could. MJ knew that when you demand excellence of a person when you see them as more than they could ever see for themselves, people respond by growing into that image! People want to be great and it is the responsibility of the community around them to demand that greatness from them. Michael Jordan's visions of his teammates and his belief in their excellence eventually turned his team into one of the best ever basketball teams and created a legacy of MJ as arguably the greatest of all time.
So look out for each other at training and demand more from each other. Don't be afraid to ask your training partners about their goals and what they want to get out of training. If you demand more from your training partners, they will demand more from you. This is where the magic happens. When you stretch for a level of excellence that you previously thought unobtainable and the people around you see even more than that in you. The journey to this point will take you so much further than you ever thought you could go. It is what I demand of you, a commitment to your training that is unbreakable. By holding this commitment you will achieve things that you never thought possible and this will extend well beyond your morning's training.