Who remembers, makeshift Wimbledon tennis in the back garden whilst RTE televised the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament every Summer?
Who remembers football games that went on until it was dark with jumpers for goals and no one remembering the score?
Luckily I have many happy memories of these things, my hope is that children and teenagers today still do those things.
Those games were so much fun, there was always an opportunity to learn a new skill and try something new, there was very little focus on how we looked, no clue at all about sets, reps, landing mechanics and plyometrics and zero regard for “working out”.
It made exercise fun, inclusive and accessible to all levels, abilities, shapes and sizes. Of course, there were tantrums, crying, fights, wins, losses, friendships formed and lessons learned, but it was always about taking part and having fun with friends.
So where the hell does it all go wrong when it comes to extolling the merits of exercise to adults? Why is it that when we grow up exercise has to be seen as a chore, and starts to be seen as work and not play?
One only needs to look at our old pal social media and see where things are being badly misshapen. It’s all about Insta-celebrity coaches. Basically, as a coach if I don’t have a beach pic with six pack abs and an ideal lifestyle going on, I’m not worthy of note. I must have wasted years of my life in college studying biomechanics, exercise physiology and other topics, when all I needed was a crash course in SnapChat filters and just copy other stuff I see real life coaches do online.
Getting in shape nowadays is made to look like serious business, it’s all hard work and sharks getting up in the morning to eat other sharks or some other dumb@$$ quote that was lifted from somewhere that is probably grammatically incorrect and doesn’t make sense if you passed Leaving Cert English.
Yes, in order to be healthy and get and stay in shape, a certain degree of hard work is needed. Sitting on the couch and eating jam doughnuts won’t do it the vast majority know that, but it requires far less serious dedication and monk like living than some would have you believe. Of course our nation is going to be the fattest in Europe with these clowns telling everyone that you can’t enjoy a life if you want to be “fit” and it’s all about how you look. My brain hurts even thinking about it. That type of notion, that you have to see working out and nutrition as some form of religion is very much the reason that many people believe they can never get fit and stay in shape.
This “No pain, no gain” movement is great for the backslapping bro culture, but absolutely terrible for the average person who is looking to get fitter, drop body fat and live a healthier, happier life. in fact, it just pushes fitness and wellbeing further away from the masses. Fitness, isn’t just for people with six packs and special cut tee shirts and copious bikini profile pics and when the average person doesn’t see that six pack or bikini bod after their six week challenge, then they end up feeling like failures. This is a truly woeful state of affairs that needs to stop. Read all about the vicious cycle of profit that gym make from these insecurities here.
“Go hard or go home”, this is probably one of the stupidest of all the bro terminologies that exist. Everyday should not be an all-out, sweat fest, “beast mode on”, battle.( You can read more about this approach here). It’s not going at all that’s the problem.
Therefore I propose that exercise should be fun. Many of us have mortgages to pay, kids to feed and jobs that add enough stress into our daily life, why should your gym and workout add more? It should in fact be the VERY OPPOSITE.
The gym should be somewhere to learn new skills, have some fun and improve the other 23 hours in your day. Taking a leaf out the child’s approach is a good thing.; Through learning these new skills, keeping your exercise varied and fresh and taking a more fun and balanced approach to health and fitness we become more focused on how we feel and not only on how we look, just like jumpers for goalposts and forgetting the score, you’ll lose track of the old baggage associated with the word “gym” and start to look at your body the way it was meant to be: the only place you’ll ever truly live, and a home to be nurtured, explored and loved.
At Activate, we ensure our exercises are always varied, never boring and contain a good blend of mobility, strength and conditioning which will make you more robust to injuries and aches and pains and ensure that you’re always learning new skills, exercises and drills. Others might paint this in the light of “fun = lack of discipline, seriousness and professionalism” but I assure you it is the exact opposite. We have a team of coaches with years of qualifications and experience that understand how to ensure you get fitter and stay healthier than you’ve ever been for life.
Fitness and health are not black and white, you don’t need to: “live in the pain cave” and smash every single workout, never go out and socialise, worry over going out for dinner or live on a diet of chicken and broccoli, to make your life better and feel the positive impacts and health benefits of regular exercise.
When fitness is done right; you’ll get the results you desire, be healthier and happier, more resilient, look better, sleep better and live better.
When it’s done wrong: It’s all work and no play.