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The Race is to the Swift

October 15, 2008

Okay, so my brain is like a constant engine, turning and clanking and churning out weird irrelevancies. But it usually limits its reach and stretch to whatever I am obsessing over at the time.

At the moment, that obsession is fitness.

Living amidst a media maelstrom of guru advice and *one-true-diet/fitness-plan* advocacy, it’s hard to know what is what. Who do you trust? Who is right? All the guru’s look pretty fit. All of them shell out batteries of before & after pics for your astonished amazement to prove that their system is the best.

How do you make sense of it all?

Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve tried, and I have come to a few not-so-earth-shattering conclusions.

Conclusion #1: Even a little exercise of any kind is better than no exercise.

For all the *experts* scream and shout that their way is the best and all other ways are trashy-garbage-poo-poo, the end of the matter is exercise is good for you.

Conclusion #2: Fad diets come and go. Listen to your body.

Some are bizarre and more fad than diet. Like the Pizza and Ice Cream diet [Yeah. That’s a real diet].

Others tout serious science, but are restrictive enough to either be unbalanced or represent an impractical lifestyle change [read as continuous sacrifice].

In the end, I think it’s about listening to your body. I don’t mean giving in to your body. My body regularly screams for bread and donuts and ice cream. I need to listen. I don’t necessarily need to capitulate. If I listen carefully, and offer it the option, my body does very well on lean meats, salads, nuts, and veggies.

Beyond my simplistic conclusions, however, race a host of *what-ifs* and my most recent musing has turned towards human activity.

As I said, different gurus tout different programs and each is supposedly the best there is [if not the ONLY REAL SYSTEM WORTH PURSUING, depending on the ego and/or marketing machine of that particular guru]. But I got to thinking and some of my thinking led me down some pretty odd rabbit holes.

Running stuck in my mind. Particularly distance running.

Stepping away from the confused mess that is the human monster I turned to Nature for some likely examples of distance runners. And do you know, I couldn’t come up with a single critter that engages in distance running save in the singular instance that something is trying to eat it.

IE – in no species is distance running a sport or form of exercise. It is a flat out balls to the wall survival mechanism or panic reaction and it is designed to burn up your most pristine, efficient, and readily available resources on the spot because that one run could mean your life and those resources, while valuable, are not more important than survival.

IE – distance running eats muscle.

Scratch that 10K off my list.

Sprinting on the other hand is the sport of both leopards and squirrels and middle distance running is the passtime of horses and wolves.

One builds power. One endurance. For different reasons, of course, based on species. But neither is maintained beyond basic fatigue. In fact, in most instances, neither activity is even brought to the edge of fatigue.


What can I say. My brain carves weird pathways. I notice these things.

Another thing that stuck in my mind is the vast array of *exercise* that has nothing to do with real life.

In real life we use multiple groups of muscle to accomplish almost every task, be it reaching for a book on a shelf or bending to pick up a shoe from the floor. We engage a good portion of our body to do even the simplest of tasks.

Yet in the Gym we are told to Isolate each muscle and Control every movement.

Yet I look at an average gym rat [mr isolated and controlled movement] and I look at a gymnast [mr full body motion] and I have to say, the gymnast impresses me far more.

Don’t even get me started on the freaks of nature that are professional body builders.

The simple fact is, whether you are looking at the animal kingdom or looking at the muscle fibers in human tissue, it is imminently self evident that we are adapted to execute quick bursts of activity and effort interspersed with a median range of slightly extended activity.

The trick, of course, will be to take these observations and turn them into an effective means of getting and staying fit.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2008 00:37

    I think you should investigate CrossFit, if you haven’t already. Take a look at their “What Is Fitness?” article especially, and their “Start Here” page.

  2. October 16, 2008 08:24

    Okay. :mrgreen:

    *wanders off to go link-diving*

  3. October 18, 2008 02:44

    I like the way you ponder. 😀

  4. October 19, 2008 04:22

    Well, you know me, I’m nothing if not ponderous.

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