The Fitness Dilemma: Too Many Options
How to sort through the options and know for what works for you? A few tips for leveling out the fitness “noise” and tuning in to what works.
A yogi friend of mine, a decidedly non-gym-rat gal, recently joined our local gym, hoping to work on her endurance and strength. “I love the quick in-and-out burn,” she says, “but I can’t believe how obnoxiously loud it is.” She has even taken to wearing foam earplugs to endure the audio affront. I had the same ear-ringing issues last summer when my daughter worked at a spin studio and kept asking me to come join a class. I could handle the heart-rate amplification, but not the decibel one.
Whether it’s a macho bench-presser grunting beside you or a Death Metal playlist blasting on the studio speakers, there can be plenty of sound interference when it comes to exercise—not to mention that nagging not-so-quiet voice in your own head that’s saying, “Do more, go further, go faster….”
But perhaps the more challenging and detrimental “noise” out there is the onslaught of fitness messaging and marketing that increasingly jams the airwaves and cybersphere. Just sprint a lap around Instagram or your preferred media feed to “listen” for all the cluttered static. Fitness is a $25 billion dollar sweatshop in the U.S.—thanks largely to loud marketing efforts.
We’ve come a long way since Jane Fonda’s “feel the burn” launched the modern fitness industry and was a singularly recognizable rallying cry. If only we could torch calories and tone muscles by sifting/lunging/planking through the gazillion voices and ads out there touting the benefits of various workouts, various gyms, various fitness theories, of orange hue or whatever color, we’d all be in great shape. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous noise instead leads to confusion, or worse, to feelings of inadequacy or second-guessing whether we’re on the right track and/or doing enough or doing whatever we’re doing correctly. Or worse still, just tuning it all out and retreating to the couch and Netflix. (Does Game of Thrones-induced heart racing count as cardio?)
So how to sort through the noise and listen for what works and what makes sense for you? Here are a few suggestions that might help. If they do, great. If they don’t, then please don’t let them add to the jumble. Seriously—that’s not the intent. Nor is the intent to blatantly promote Elev8d amidst and/or above all the noise. We’ve been in the field (and in the gym) long enough to know that the only thing that really works is what works for you. Our goal is to help you discover that, so “hear” goes…
Elev8d’s Noise Leveling Tips
Beware slick surfaces. It’s easy to slip. When it comes to fitness marketing, slicker is rarely better. If the promo is ultra polished and glitzy, your radar should go up. Somebody’s paying for that marketing, and it’s the client.
If it feels good… you’ll probably do it, and perhaps even enjoy it. Listen up for a fitness plan that’s not too complicated or costly and sounds like fun, like something you’re inclined to do—not because you ought to, but because you want to. The “no pain, no gain” strategy is a non-starter these days. Pain is pain. We don’t do pain.
Everything I need to know about fitness I learned in kindergarten. Hopscotch and hula hooping. Skipping and jumping. Playing tag. Climbing on the monkey bars. Giggling. Naptime. These worked when you were four, and they’ll work when your 34 or 64 as well. Chances are there were no fancy cardio machines in your kindergarten – there didn’t need to be. Movement was part of play and integrated into your very being; it wasn’t a specialized extracurricular outsourced to experts. Elev8d exercises are predicated on that same fundamental: reclaiming the human capacity for natural, balanced, integrated movement and re-defining fitness as being able to move freely, healthfully and without pain. If this makes sense to you, listen up for exercise advice that elevates the fundamentals and reclaims the basics, rather than pushing toward further specialization.
And kindergarten Part 2: Also, remember your parents’ warning about that loud kid who made bodacious claims and bragged about having all the best toys? Yep, per usual, mom and dad were right. He/she (or club/gym) making the loudest claims and touting the most fitness “toys” is not necessarily the most fit. Or the nicest kid to be around. Being in good shape is one thing, but in our opinion, niceness outranks fitness any day.
Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Listening carefully amidst all the noise is difficult, and discerning is even trickier. Finding and following what makes sense to you is a sign of wisdom and maturity. And a hundred times harder than burpees. Trust us, we’ve been there, smack in the middle of the sound machine—so now we whisper. It’s how we choose to Elev8 our voice.