“As to the methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
This is one of my favourite quotes because, to me, I take it to speak of the simplicity of nature vs the complicated. Now I don’t mean simpler than something is, but certainly not more complicated than it needs to be either. There is more than one way to do just about everything in life. But if you don’t understand the basic laws underlining that task, you could be spinning your wheels like a hamster! The fitness industry is full of fads! Lots and lots of fads! Lots of diets, programs, you name it! And that’s okay… there are 56 different sports in the Winter and Summer Olympics, and that doesn’t include all the sub-disciplines within each sport. And this certainly doesn’t include all the sports that are not in the Olympics, so fads will come and go and as long as they follow the basic principles… They will work and people will and enjoy it and be happy as well.
So here is the basic principle when it comes to exercise. Did you give your body a reason to change? If you didn’t, then it’s not exercise (it’s manual labour) and although daily movement is critical to long-term health, it’s not exercise. That is why walking on the treadmill is good, it’s also why millions of people every year spend thousands of hours on the treadmills, and then scratch their heads wondering why they don’t have the body they want. Now if you did do something hard enough to give your body a reason to change… Then AWESOME! You see, our bodies are the laziest teenagers on the planet! Our bodies hate work and hate the resulting pain, so much so, that it will go to quite extraordinary lengths to make sure it doesn’t feel that way the next time you do that chosen activity (Principle of progression). This is why high intensity exercise works so well; this is why Crossfit works so well. In fact, if it is not intense in nature, I’m not inclined to call it exercise. We are inherently built to walk long distances. That won’t change your body! But 50 burpies repeated a couple times to the point where you struggle to catch your breath, can’t feel your legs anymore, or might even want to puke (you don’t have to puke) will place a demand on your body that it won’t like, so it will change. That is exercise and that is the key to achieving your goals, getting stonger, and all things awesome! So ask the question: Have you given your body a reason to change today?