Steve Atlas on the small details that create the big picture when it comes to health and fitness
Lifters, movers, hand-balancers, cross-fitters, yogis, dancers- you name it and it’s likely to be happening around every town, neighborhood, and park. After a lifetime devoted to this ‘calling’ (almost 20 of it coaching bodily manipulations) -I’ve seen the trend and flux of so many physical expressions come and go. A few of them transcend year after year, most of them however die out by falling victim of over-exposed hype, money marketers and people who’s heart are not motivated by the intention to proliferate true growth of our potential. Among the survivors we tend to see solitary disciplines emerge as transcending physical expressions i.e., running, cycling, lifting, yoga, pilates etc,. The reason is simplicity. I am not refuting the ‘runners high’ or the pump one feels from lifting weights. I am suggesting that if a routine brings consistency, it typically has the ability to stick around. Herein, the foundation of success and failure is both revealed. Monocular, narrow, and short-visioned athletes that do ‘their thing’ is only as good as what is being programmed. Advocates of running typically find themselves only running, and thereby find themselves lacking physical upper body and kinetic strength expressions deficient by comparison to their cardiovascular health…The greatest trap of all is the one you don’t know you’re in. Weight lifters, grow efficient in specific levels of physical strength in lifting, but when it comes to a bodyweight or gymnastic expression of strength it’s a whole different set of rules.
What if we were however to possess the physical characteristics and strengths 0f both lifters, and gymnasts? What if we could be as fluid as a dancer with the pliability and mentality of one that practices yoga? What if our presentation was such that it wasn’t a muscle bound hulk, nor was it stereotyped as skinny- but a perfectly sculpted aesthetic ideal of man? What if you could be all these things? Who expects a person well developed in their body to possess the skills and acquired features that only someone of a much smaller stature has?…No one! This is backed up by the law of simplicity, convenience, and habit. Only a very select few will venture this path.. They will come to know what I am discovering- and I can say with no reservation that there’s nothing like it!
Quality of our movement, strength, mobility, flexibility, conditioning, and aesthetic appeal is NOT a given. It will take more time and patience to acquire since each expression by itself can be a solitary choice to pursue over a lifetime. The approach in this mindset is unlike the models of other training approaches, not about just sheer output. First seeking quality in the simple movements of each discipline. It is breaking down each component of strength, conditioning, mobility/flexibility, hand balancing, and aesthetics. Slowly and methodically investing a bit of time in each one to address the needs of the beginner…all the way to the advanced and elite level athletes. This is a journey to be invested in over a lifetime. It requires an enormous amount of patience, and above all -the love of oneself to explore their truest potential in physical expression. By why pursue something so vast?
Practicing yoga is a truly beautiful experience because (speaking only for myself here) it gives me ‘without fail’ the internal medicine for my mind, always in check with the noise of the outside world. It however, doesn’t permit me the physical capabilities to lift a heavy piece of equipment across a parking lot, up a flight of stairs and down without breaking anything. This acquired strength however doesn’t give the satisfaction of balancing upside down where my 200+ pound frame feels weightless, and I reap the myriad benefits of active-inversion….and the list of health benefits are many. Still, even with these benefits: fewer things feel better than putting on an article of clothing you choose with the confidence that your structure commands a level of respect from the years of work you’ve invested…When the clothes come off, well my friends there simply are no hang-ups about the body. These are some of the tenants of what I classify as the ‘New Breed Athlete’.
In the Body Practice system that covers a host of physical elements for our bodies, another component will be added in 2014. Series 4: the Strength Series DVD will be a major undertaking in the coming year. I will show the fusion first hand, what it means, and the potential to show you where you can go. One thing’s certain, those with fire will adopt this. They will pave the way toward a new standard of thinking all together- it will change how we look at our bodies.