Ben Musholt reflects on a cult classic, “Mad Skills” and the future of fitness.
Any chance that you ever saw the movie, Logan’s Run? If not, don’t hunt it down on my account. As a campy 1976 science fiction flick, it’s not that mind-blowing. Funny costumes. Hipster haircuts. Sexist ideology. Retro set designs. You can imagine the rest.
I only ask because it has a great scene depicting what the future of fitness might look like.
It’s a future that we should hope to see happen sooner rather than later.
It takes place in the year 2274 and all of humanity is confined to living in a domed city, due to some apocalyptic event. The main character, Logan, is tasked with hunting down people who are trying to escape from the city and organized euthanasia. Limited resources means that citizens of the future are killed off at age 30. Sucks for them.
That’s about as much back-story as you need.
Wait, I should probably also mention that given the shortened lifespan, people are free to pursue hedonism in all of its forms. Sex, drink, and all of the fun things you can imagine are pursued with abandon.
Okay, so let me break the scene down for you: Logan and his crime-fighting partner are meeting in what looks like the equivalent of our modern day recreation center. Logan’s partner is sitting in a hot tub and in the background you can see people exercising in a gymnasium.
Instead of grinding away on treadmills or pumping iron, they are all honing basic tumbling skills. Backflips. Back handsprings. Back walkovers. Dive rolls. People in the future do gymnastics!
Their lives are short and they choose to spend time moving their bodies in enjoyable ways. They aren’t punishing themselves for a new deadlift PR or a faster Fran time.
They are working to develop movement mastery.
I wouldn’t want to trade circumstance with any of them, but I have to say that I’d sign up for a gym membership at a place like that in a heartbeat.
Now, I have to tell you that I’m not anti-weightlifting in any shape or form. Far from it. In fact, I recently released Mad Skills, the world’s largest illustrated exercise encyclopedia. I train with barbells, kettlebells and other free weights twice a week in the garage behind my house.
Strength and conditioning as we know it today has a crucial role. It’s basic upkeep for the athletic body. The unfortunate part is that it seems like the pursuit of strength and conditioning has risen to prominence at the expense of people exploring the joys of movement mastery.
And by movement mastery, we mustn’t limit that understanding to just tumbling or gymnastics skills. Understand that it applies to whatever type of movement brings you joy. Fighting arts. Board Sports. Climbing. Any and all ways to move are valuable.
Bottom line, we should strive to see that hedonistic joy brought back into the realm of fitness. Less grunting. More smiles. Less DOMS. More endorphin rushes from enjoying the cool ways that you can move your body.
See you in the future. I’ll be the guy tossing flips on the tumbling mats.
Come say hi.