As we begin another new year, I think it’s always useful to take a moment to reflect on what you learned the previous year. While I’m not into resolutions per se, I do support folks applying the knowledge they attain. Knowledge is great (and lord knows we love learning), but if it’s not acted on, it’s not particularly meaningful. Here are some things the MFF Team learned in 2012, and the ways they’ve influenced how we help Ninjas achieve fitness glory.
WISDOM BEATS KNOWLEDGE!
- Movement Variability. I think MFF did a really good job this year of spicing up the movements being done in our classes and semi-private training sessions. We will always start with the basics; folks need to be great at squats, and hinges, and push-ups, etc. before they get into fancy stuff. That said, once folks are proficient at these first variations, it’s important for their brains to be exposed to different patterns of movement—different foot stances, exercises that move side to side and rotate, different tempos, etc. Not only is this key for our dancers who need to be able to nail new movements with minimal practice in an audition, but there seem to be numerous cognitive benefits to forcing the brain to learn increasingly complex patterns of movement.
- Recovery matters. This is one we’ve been pushing all the while, but it became even more clear this year. With our continued studies into the importance of recovery (sleep, proper nutrition, deload weeks, cuddling with puppies), we have really started going all out on selling the value of the non-sexy stuff. It may be not be as much visceral fun to foam roll as it is to do an exotic burpee variation, but that doesn’t diminish it’s importance. By offering new supplements like Athletic Greens and our new Soft Tissue Glory class, we are looking to make even more strides here in 2013. Be on the lookout for a brand new MFF class devoted to active recovery sometime in the new year!
- Balancing stressors. This is related to the last point. Although this is perhaps more pertinent to the world of elite athletes who need to display maximal performance at the exact right time, even Ninjas need to be mindful that life stress can affect their training. And if you’re not on top of your recovery, it’s even more of an issue. There’s just no way you can train at your best if you’re stressing the fuck out due to unemployment, relationship drama, or major financial hardship. Now, life is inherently full of challenges; by no means are we enabling skipping fitness time. We merely want folks to work smart, and I think the MFF team has gotten better at pulling people back when they come in for a session and it’s obvious they’re not in the head space to set a personal record on their deadlift.
- Awareness is EVERYTHING. One of my obsessions in life is increasing my awareness. I always want to know what I don’t know. Specifically, I want to know what I don’t know that I don’t know. While this relates to our manic continuing education pursuits and how we approach the business side of MFF, it also relates to our ability to check in with the Ninjas and really honor where they are in a given day. I believe we are at our best when we really take in everything going on with the Ninjas. When you do this long enough, you begin to develop a sixth sense for picking up how a Ninja may be feeling on a given day. They may say they’re great, but you can often pick up a sense of far-away distraction that can inform how to guide folks in that day’s fitness adventure. In a culture that prides itself on embracing individuality, we’ve found this checking-in to be another opportunity to take care of our beloved Ninjas. By seeking to authentically “see” where folks are when they come to train, we’re more effective at sculpting the best possible use of their time.
- Psychology Trumps Physiology. This isn’t really brand new, but having spent a full year in our new home, we now have hundreds of case studies to examine how belief systems affect results. While we know our boundaries and don’t play at being therapists, the reality is that one of the things MFF has always known is that our beliefs will affect our fitness adventures. We saw this play out over and over in 2012. Since we believe health and hotness is a foundational cornerstone to a fully actualized life, we’ve always seen our work as one element in helping Ninjas be their best selves. Now that several members of our team are being certified as life coaches, we can’t wait to up our skills at helping Ninjas see the areas where they have room for growth. Look for a more detailed blog post on this soon, as well as soon to be launched life coaching services through MFF!
- Creating a Fitness Lifestyle Requires More Than a 6 Week Commitment. Another thing that’s been enlightening is having a large contingent of Ninjas who’ve been at this for over a year. Many of our clients had little if any fitness background before they entered the Clubhouse. Another significant chunk had been “active,” but hadn’t always made the best use of their fitness time. The Ninjas continue to teach us as we watch and see how different folks are more or less successful at making these changes stick over the course of a full year or more. In 2013, we have a number of new initiatives to help Ninjas make the type of lifestyle changes that will maximize their health and hotness while still allowing them to live a full life.
In a year that saw MFF grow from 2 full time team members to a team of over 20, Office Ninjas, and Rainbow Wranglers, there’s no words for the gratitude we feel to the many folks who’ve entrusted us with their health and hotness. With the addition of our new space, a few new team members, and the implementation of new and more progressive ways of taking care of the Ninjas, we are BEYOND stoked about 2013. We know that growth is always a challenge, and our will is set on doing anything and everything to continue to improve the way we take care of our Ninjas.
As always, MFF will look to be your go-to source for ridiculous humans who are serious about fitness. We will keep it fun, we will make you sexy, we will rarely wear pants, and we will nurture you fucking HARD. For those of you who have yet to partake in Unicorn Magic, I sincerely hope you’ll consider visiting the Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams.
Happy 2013, dear readers!!