At MFF, we get people healthy and hot. We use the most progressive training and nutrition strategies in the industry to blow people’s damn minds with consistent, dramatic results. This is super fun, cuz we like people, and we like hotness, and we like watching people achieve their first six-pack, or drop a dress size, or send pictures of themselves in a string bikini to their ex-husband.
And while we love this part of our job (and understand that it’s the main reason folks come to us), we like to think we’re also providing another crucial service for our Ninjas:in many cases, we’re giving people a chance to rediscover movement.
I feel VERY passionately that a life without movement is a life not fully lived. Humans were not meant to live in boxes, and I reject a life spent at a desk. It is my belief that humans need to move and exert themselves, or not only will their bodies break down, but they also won’t be truly happy.
While we use exercise as a tool to burn body fat and build muscle, there’s something to be said for movement for movement’s sake. Many of our clients are elite dancers, and MFF is just one part of a very active life. But many of our clients have NOT been very active when they come to work with us. They may come to lose a few pounds, but we hope we can also instill in them an appreciation for the inherent value and beauty of movement.
Movement matters. Structured exercise is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But simply getting up from the floor in an effective manner is an important skill. Cuz sometimes you trip on shit, you know? While crawling patterns and basic tumbling may not fit into the traditional exercise mold, the longer I’m in this game, the more essential these basic movements seem.
I don’t know where this goes yet. But I know as an industry, I think we can do a better job of giving the gift of movement. Movement that is not utilitarian in nature or solely for some hotness end game. Movement that is done for its own sake, to experience what it’s like to have a body, to get out of your damn thinking-too-much, monkey-mind head and bring your awareness to your body. I don’t think it always has to be about barbell lifts or kettlebell swings. I think exercise is great, but I think movement must precede exercise.
I think we will see a growing trend in this industry toward exploring the gamut of human movement. I want to live a full life. I want my Ninjas to live full lives and experience all the universe has to offer. Fitness folks tend to enjoy systems, and that’s not a bad thing,but systems require categorizing things. By labeling things, you seek to put them in a cognitive box. Is getting up off the floor a push, a leg exercise, or a core exercise? As my mentor Gray Cook would say, “YES.”
Perhaps we need a more expansive approach to movement. Perhaps our hearts need a more expansive appreciation of the variety of the human experience (yeah, I fucking went there, dzuh). I find myself down another rabbit hole, grappling with sexy questions.
As fitness professionals, we owe it to our society to begin to educate folks on the concept of basic movement competence. The reality is people just move poorly because our environment has profoundly changed in the past few decades. As Dr. Stuart McGill points out in his Ultimate Back Performance, most people rob themselves of their capacity for long term physical durability with poor posture and movement. Yes, I want to make you hot. Yes, I want to make you a fucking beast in the weight room (or Clubhouse). But I want to make sure our work is informing your movement on a moment-to-moment basis. If you’re not moving better when you’re NOT with me, I’m not doing my job.
And I’m GONNA do my job, dear reader. I owe it you. I owe it to my Ninjas. I owe it to my mentors. I owe it to the universe. I’m gonna figure this the fuck out.
So don’t be surprised if MFF starts a “Movement Club” where we all meet in Central Park and just play and climb and leap and roll and work on basic movement skills. There’s so much more to movement than exercise. And―dare I say it?―there’s more to life than hotness.
I love the fuck out of you.
(A HUGE an epic thanks to my friend Clifton Harski, whose work has inspired me and expanded my personal horizons. Those of you who are students of the game and dig reading about training will like his blog, he’s a smart dude. Check him out!)