Hey friends, and welcome to this episode of HGTV. Today we’ll take 5 minutes to talk about fun and the future of fitness.
When I think about the future of movement, I’ve gotta tell you – I don’t think that it’s actually about fitness – I think it’s about having fun. And no, I don’t mean workouts that have designed to be fun, I’m thinking of a bigger picture than that. Instead of trying to make fitness fun, we should simply let what we do for fun improve our fitness.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t formally exercise – I’m saying that it’s a better use of our time to first focus on the activities that are inherently fun, uplifting, and empowering, and let those activities be the foundation of our movement lives. Maybe that’s what your parents would have called an “active lifestyle.”
Once we’re doing the recreational activities that are truly and deeply exciting for us, then we supplement with just enough formalized exercise to keep us healthy as we play. In the field of Strength & Conditioning, the role of an exercise program is to reduce your risk of injury and to improve your performance at [something other than fitness].
We don’t exercise to get good at exercise, we exercise to get good at life.
The odds are that even when compared to the best fitness “experience” possible, your preferred recreation activity is always going to be more fun for you than a formal fitness program. You’re probably always going to love swimming, or soccer, dance, volleyball – whatever your activity is – you’re probably always going to love that activity more than formal exercise. And that’s okay. You don’t have to love to exercise.
There are so many people out there, and a lot of Ninjas at MFF, who feel like they’re supposed to love exercise, who feel shame or guilt for not liking exercise. It doesn’t help when so many fitness professionals, myself included, genuinely love exercise and feel comfortable in gyms. It doesn’t help when the fitness industrial complex pushes people into gyms that they don’t feel competent or confident in. We’re basically telling people, “Here’s this thing that’s hard, gets progressively harder, and probably doesn’t get much more fun…don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
To me this is like if you taught someone how to sharpen their own knife but never let them prepare their own dinner, or taught someone how to tune a piano without ever learning how to play it. It doesn’t make any sense. We don’t exercise to get good at exercise, we exercise to get good at life… but right now the only movement people deem important is formal exercise.
It’s because of this that I think the fitness industry is actually standing in the way of people becoming healthier, happier, or fit. That’s the ultimate irony, right?
Rather than focusing on the training product or on the exercise experience, we should focus on how exercise and improved fitness opens us to an even greater array of experiences outside of the gym. Let’s provide better context, content, and communication about how a formalized fitness plan is the single great tool we have to access better health, happiness, and enjoyment of our world – and then get out of our client’s way so they can see for themselves.
Rather than focusing on making fitness fun, let’s instead focus on the FUN – the sheer unbridled joy and passionate play of those activities that the fitness industry has othered – and support that activity with incredibly robust levels of fitness.
Our goal as trainers should be to give our clients the best skill set, the best metabolic tool kit possible, so that they can go explore a world that is far more fun and entertaining than our workouts ever will be.
Moving to have fun is more important than moving to develop fitness. When we can come to terms with that reality, and we can learn to be stewards of our clients success doing other things, that’s when I think the fitness industry will truly start to change people’s lives.
Alright friends, that’s it for this episode of HGTV. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface on how movement fits into our lives and serves our values, and I’m so glad you’re on this journey with me. If you’ve been thinking about how to make formal exercise more fun, I urge you to instead think about what activities are inherently fun for you and focus on those instead.
If you’re a coach, start learning about what your clients are actually doing for fun, and learn how you can support them in doing that activity as consistently as possible. That’s where the real magic happens.
As always, you can watch these words on Instagram. Cheers!