“Exercise? That Was So Last Year!”

By Ryan McGowan- Warwick, Rhode Island

 “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein

Sounds like a pretty smart guy!  Before you embark on a new year’s resolution of getting “in shape”, do these 2 sets of 5, then reconsider your goals for 2014:

  1. Exercise sucks.  While it may feel good after it’s over, very few of us (this fitness professional included) enjoy the act of exercise.  A client once told me she regularly looked for excuses to drive past her old gym.  I highly doubt she’s alone!
  2. Consistency is key for success.  However, if we don’t enjoy something, it’s just a matter of time before we find other things to do with our time.  If you need proof, go to the gym today or Monday and take a look around.  Compare your observations in six weeks.  Usually by Valentine’s Day things have cleared out.  If we didn’t like exercising last year, what makes us think this year will be different?
  3. Exercise makes you good at exercise…but that’s about all it does.  For what purpose are you getting in shape?  Yes there are health benefits, but we should have a significant “why” for exercising.  Some good examples are: ski or snowboard season, taking an active vacation, ability to perform your physically demanding job better, etc.  Figure out your why and then train accordingly.
  4. Big box gyms are antiquated human zoos.  As far as I can tell, the only thing that’s changed since they became popular is the outfits.  If you enjoy waiting for machines and socializing, then it’s the place to be!  If you want to improve your health and how you move, you’re better off doing real moves in real conditions than operating machinery in an artificial atmosphere.  No offense, and for many out there these “fitness centers” are their best bet.  However, I feel there are better options with more practical applications for most folks.
  5. Crossfit is awesome…if you’re a professional athlete.  I’m not hating!  I’ve said many times that I have a ton of respect for Crossfit and compared to standard exercise it is far superior.  But…it’s a sport!  If you’re an athlete then it’s perfect for you, but for most of us it’s simply not the optimal use of our (limited, precious) time.

This year, instead of trying to attain a fitter body, play more and develop a skillful body!

Remember when the Red Sox signed JD Drew?  He was dubbed a “5-tool player.”  He could hit for power, hit for average, field, throw, and steal bases.  If you are a runner, you are a runner.  If you are a triathlete, you are a 3-tool human.  If you are a crossfitter, you are probably extremely fit.  If you are a MovNatter, you are a 10-12 tool human!  You can run, jump, swim, climb, balance, lift, carry, crawl, throw, catch and perhaps defend yourself! There are also several other side benefits of training this way!

Here’s some food for thought: are you going to channel your time on the elliptical if you have to run away from something?  Do lat pulldowns help you keep up with the kids on the monkey bars?  Does your 1 Rep Max on the Bench matter in any situation at all (besides  your physical therapy appointment)? No!

So forget about exercise!  Be done with it!  Instead, try moving naturally, or MovNat!  MovNat is a physical education and fitness system based on training the full range of our natural human movement abilities, with a focus on developing efficiency and safety.  Or, in other words, it’s getting adults to move and play like kids again!  Improved fitness happens as a result of MovNat training.

Why is MovNat better than exercise?  Here are five reasons:

  1. It’s a lot more fun to play and move like a kid again.  And remember, if it’s fun, we’ll keep doing it!
  2. Skills gained from MovNat training have real life applications.  Moving with mindfulness and skill makes you better at the everyday things.
  3. It gives you an advantage during your next obstacle race or mud run.  Seriously you haven’t done one yet?  What are you waiting for?
  4. Longevity.  You can MovNat for the rest of your life!  I doubt you’ll be crushing WOD’s when you’re 80.
  5. It requires no equipment, can be done anywhere, and will likely bring you outside more!  It also pays dividends during active vacations, which you’re more likely to take!

Ok that was more like 9 reasons.  In any event, while making your resolutions this year, consider gaining as the way to go…as in skills and experiences!  Move more, move better, then sign up for an event to apply your new skills.  If you train accordingly, you’ll be fitter, freer, more athletic, and you’re guaranteed to hit your goal of accepting and conquering a challenge!  If improved body composition is one of your goals, forget the number on the scale!  Pick a size you want to be or clothes you want wear again!  It’s way more gratifying to comfortably zipper up those old skinny jeans/pants/etc. than to look down at a number nobody else cares about!

And if you think exercise is the way to get you there, think again.  Food is the most significant tool for body composition!  We’ll save that topic for another post, but I’ll leave you with this analogy: we can’t expect to succeed with a diet that is based on food we don’t enjoy just as we can’t expect to succeed with an exercise plan based on moves we don’t enjoy.

Happy New Year!  Go after something you want and like, and make it happen!

Ryan McGowan became a certified personal trainer in 2007. He started on a part time basis while working full time as a project manager in the commercial construction industry, but decided to pursue his passion of training full time in 2010.

His background of college football and Ironman triathlons shaped a diverse and versatile training style. However, after dealing with injuries related to overuse and overtraining, Ryan discovered a way to train only 1-2 hours per week and became fitter and healthier than ever! His company, Laid-back Fitness, was founded based on these ideals where their focus is developing efficiency of movement using fun and unique ‘equipment’.

His facility is located in Warwick and is a combination of a fitness center and a playground. While helping clients become healthier and improving their body composition, Ryan also encourages them to participate in mud runs to put their skills and fitness levels to the test. Having a good body is nice, but he believes we should use it in addition to just showing it off!


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