A Few Tips to Make Exercise Fun – Bork! Bork! Bork!

Here is Robert Kira Clarke – Grunting Geek and Alpha Dog from  The Pound Online

Kira makes me think and smile at the same time…I like that…

A Few Tips to Make Exercise Fun

Part Two: Time

“Allow myself, to introduce, myself!” Austin Powers

In the first post of this series, I suggested you should add a little more awareness to your fitness activities. The goal was to expand your experience of fitness, and hopefully reveal some fun and rewarding aspects of the fitness process that tend to hide underneath all the sweat and grunting. In this post, we’ll move on to the next strategy geared towards making fitness fun—time.

“Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn! Bork! Bork! Bork!” The Swedish Chef

In our modern society, fitness has become a foreign experience. We have become a sedentary people with little to no first-hand knowledge of quality movement. This lack of exposure to exercise ‘cuisine’ has given many of us under-developed fitness ‘palates’. We simply don’t know what good fitness tastes like. Because of this under-developed appreciation for the flavors of fitness, many people’s initial encounters with exercise leave them with an unfamiliar (read: bad) ‘taste’ in their mouths. And, not surprisingly, they stop eating!

Giving up on fitness too early, is one of the key reasons many people fail to find and experience the fun in fitness—they simply don’t give themselves enough time to develop a taste for it! They give up too quickly because they fail to realize that fitness is an acquired taste. Just as we eventually acquired a taste for many of the foods we despised as children, we can also acquire a taste for fitness. Consider my experience with Thai green curry …

1980 was the first time I ate a Thai green curry. I still remember the experience—my mouth burned, my eyes watered, my heart-rate increased and I started sweating. It was a horrible experience!

2010 was the last time I ate a Thai green curry. I still remember the experience—my mouth burned, my eyes watered, my heart-rate increased and I started sweating. It was a glorious experience!

Hmmm … Same food, same physiological responses and yet a radically different experience of the event! How the hell did that happen? You guessed it—time. Despite my initial bad experience with Thai cuisine, I persisted. And over the years I eventually acquired a taste for all the ‘sensations’ a good hot Thai green curry has to offer. The take home point is this—all I added to the curry to ‘improve’ it was time (well, obviously I was the one that ‘improved’—not the curry). Exercise can be like that too!

“Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” Robbie the Robot

Now, before I get into some concrete advice about how to acquire a taste for exercise, I’d like to make a few related cautionary points. I’ll continue with the food analogies …

When people tell me they’ve tried ‘fitness’ and they didn’t like the taste, I usually get them to outline and explain their experience. More often than not, this is the kinda stuff I discover …

a) The actual exercise components (ingredients) of their fitness session (meal) seem okay, but there’s a problem with the way the exercises were put together (the recipe). For example, using too much or too little load (how heavy), or volume (how much) or density (how much per time) in a session can turn a tasty and nutritious fitness meal into food poisoning! Like food, fitness meals are only as good as the recipes you use. Poor recipes = bad eating :(

b) The structure of their fitness session (recipe) seems okay, but there’s a problem with the quality of exercises (bad ingredients). For example, a good recipe for a barbell dead-lift and kettlebell press meal can be ruined by simply using poor technique when you lift. Using bad form when you exercise is like using bad ingredients when you cook. And like food, no matter how good the recipe, low quality ingredients will always make the meal taste bad (and probably make you ill/injured)! Poor ingredients = bad eating :(

c) Both the  structure of the fitness session (recipe) and the exercise implementation (ingredients) seem okay, but they aren’t following a balanced program overall (menu). For example, our hearty feed of barbell dead-lifts and kettlebell presses may be delicious and nutritious, but not if that’s all we ever eat! Like food, a balanced and varied menu (training program) will always be better for you over the long term, than eating a narrow set of your ‘favorite’ meals over and over again. Poor meal selection over time = bad eating :(

So what was the point of this cautionary aside? Well, whilst I’m suggesting that fitness is an acquired taste, and the ‘acquiring’ might take some time, the QUALITY of the time is just as important as the quantity. No amount of time and perseverance will make bad ingredients, bad meals or a bad menu taste good! So ensure that you are eating high quality ingredients (doing your exercises with good form), tasty and nutritious recipes (well structured training sessions), from a balanced and varied menu (well structured training program).

“Can you smell, what The Rock is cookin’?” The Rock

Okey dokey, now that we’re on the same page, let’s get back to the issue at hand—how to acquire a taste for exercise! Here are five simple steps that will help develop your fitness palate and give you a taste (and hopefully a hunger) for fitness …

1. Awareness. Make a point of being a little more aware when you exercise. Yes, this is what I suggested in the first post in this series. But without awareness you will be oblivious to any of the fun and rewarding tastes in exercise! You’ve gotta become aware of the flavor before you can savor the flavor ;)

2. Quality. Always use good quality fitness ingredients, meals and menu. The better the quality of your fitness experience, the more likely you’ll develop a taste for it.

3. Quantity. Set a time limit for exploring your chosen fitness cuisine—A three to six month ‘trial period’ should give you enough time to determine whether you can acquire a ‘taste’ for that particular type of fitness or not.

4. Review. Keep a training journal. Write down a brief summary of every fitness ‘meal’ (training session) you eat. Highlight the tastes you liked and didn’t like. And rate the meal. This ‘review process’ will help you develop a more discerning fitness palate. In particular, it will highlight the ‘change’ in your fitness taste that happens over time. Start thinking of yourself as a food critic—with fitness being your food!

5. Research. Thoroughly research the specific fitness cuisine you’re interested in. Within every fitness cuisine there are master chefs, quality restaurants, handy cooking tips and popular recipes—explore, experiment and indulge :)

Before I finish up, I want to make one more cautionary point—we are all individuals with different preferences and tastes. And that probably means, some types of fitness will continue to taste bad no matter how long you persist with them. Using a personal food analogy again—there are some types of food I didn’t like as a kid that I still don’t like now (yes I’m talking to you, liver and onions)! All this means is that you may need to broaden your specific fitness menu or change ‘cuisines’. I will cover these kinds of issues in the next post in this series (which I’ve tentatively entitled, “Is that a fluffy teddy-bear in your toy-box or are you just glad to see me”).

Anyway, my point is, you may encounter particular exercises, sessions or styles of fitness that you’ll never enjoy. That’s okay! There’s plenty of other fitness options out there to try! Just be careful you don’t over-generalize the negative experience. You wouldn’t give up eating simply because you disliked a particular meal or style of cooking! You’d just try something different! And so it is with fitness!

“To the Bat Cave!” Batman

To sum up, remember that fitness is an acquired taste. So its worth developing your fitness palate before making any decisions about what’s tasty and what’s not!

Savor every fitness meal you eat. Give it an honest review. And allow yourself adequate time to fairly evaluate the specific fitness cuisine you’re exploring. If after completing your ‘trial period’ a large selection of meals from your chosen fitness menu still tastes like crap, then look at exploring other fitness cuisines.

Bon Appétit :)

Comments

  1. mc says

    Kira
    Nice ideas but sport you’re a coach, oui? You’re talking about the depth of your path into finding a regiminen that works for you. How many folks do you know who are not coaches or trainers that go through such a process?
    So Why have you not concluded with “or find a coach you trust who can help you save time and find this kind of path” , non?
    mc
    a kira for coach supporter

  2. says

    Hey mc :)

    “Nice ideas but sport you’re a coach, oui?”
    I don’t consider myself a coach. I have been a qualified instructor in a number of martial arts, but, for ideological reasons, I now prefer working within an ‘amateur’ kinda framework—I don’t train people, I train WITH people. I know that probably sounds like semantics, but for me it’s an important distinction.

    “How many folks do you know who are not coaches or trainers that go through such a process?”
    Short answer: EVERYBODY I have trained with over the last decade. I believe the best indicator of long-term fitness success is a person who is prepared to engage in a process similar to the one I mentioned. In my experience, self-motivated engagement trumps externally-driven ‘compliance’ every time.

    “Why have you not concluded with “or find a coach you trust who can help you save time and find this kind of path”
    Yes, a coach is a good option! That being said, I have noticed many people tend to use professional assistance INSTEAD of engaging in the process I’ve outlined. A coach isn’t a replacement for taking responsibility for your own fitness. So, I think the steps I mentioned are important even if you get a coach.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, m.c.

    I always enjoy talking with you :)

    Cheers!

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