Exercise. It Isn’t As Easy As It Looks…
Exercise is a funny thing.
All the people on Instagram make it look so easy.
The guy you see each day running looks so fit.
The girl you see riding her bike to work looks so fast.
Exercise. People assume it’s easy because, well because that’s what we do.
Allow me to introduce Baldassare Castiglione.
Not dissimilar to Varys in Game of Thrones, Italian courtier Baldassare Castiglione had a tough role to play in medieval times.
Courtiers were expected to keep the support and favour of the ruler in order to remain relevant.
To do so, they had to be skilled not just in arms and athletics, but also in music and dance.
Castiglione had the unenviable task of making the difficult look easy, without the reality of being seen to practice regularly, in order to maintain an air of entertainment and intrigue.
In doing so, he coined the phrase ‘Sprezzatura’ – to make every movement and statement appear to be effortless and without thought.
In our daily lives, we apply this without even realising it.
People assume its easy
Take a video of a weightlifter casually throwing 200 kg overhead, a rugby player hitting a goal from 60m, or the chef creating an amazing meal.
We see these feats as simply as we do incredulously.
We apply Sprezzatura.
We take the complex and make it simple.
We don’t see the hours of practice, training and hardship.
We want to believe that the way they make it look effortless and without thought makes the act infinitely achievable by all.
We see the final product, marvel at its result, and decide if they can do it, so can I!
So, what’s wrong with that?
On the face of it, nothing.
It’s great to be aspirational, to want to be the best you can be.
The reality, however, is something quite different.
Take CrossFit for example.
Each year the CrossFit Games convenes, attracting the cream of the competitive exercise community, from over 13,000 gyms in over 150 countries.
Of the 00,000’s who participate daily, approx 500 people qualified for the 2022 Games.
A tiny percentage of people actively performing CrossFit for its health and fitness benefits.
We, however, don’t see these variables when we watch our favourite athletes nailing rope climbs, snatches and handstand push-ups.
We see people just like us making the extraordinary seem ordinary.
What could go wrong?
When I was a kid, the popularity of sports went in cycles.
Wimbledon is on, everybody wants to be a tennis player.
Snooker is on, everybody wants to get a 147.
The Football World Cup final. Everyone wanted to lift the trophy.
So you grab your racket, cue or boots and get playing.
The litmus test comes when you realise how hard it is to emulate the scenes you’ve seen unfold on the tv.
When reality dawns on us, that it’s not easy to be good let alone great, that Sprezzatura is just something other people do.
We pack a sad, our kit goes back in the cupboard and we decide that goal just isn’t for us.
We blame genetics, the wrong gear, and the wind blowing in the wrong direction.
Not that we didn’t get any coaching, that we didn’t look for expertise to help us achieve our goals.
New Year’s is a perfect example.
Every year we come up with a new goal, to change our lives forever, this year is going to be My Year!
We light up the internet, find an exercise program written by someone who looks fitter than us, grab our kicks and head out for a run.
We see other people just like us, out running at all hours.
Then as January, gets closer to Feb, we see less and less of them, and they us, as we go out running less and less.
Our feet start to hurt, our lower back becomes stiffer until that 0600 alarm seems like the very sounds of torture.
What happened to things looking so easy?!
We ditch the alarm, biff the kicks back in the cupboard and decide running isn’t for us.
We don’t consider that we may have been ill-prepared to run.
That our years of sedentary living have made our feet weak, our posture poor and our cardiovascular capacity almost non-existent.
We figure running isn’t for us and slide back into our old ways.
You’re not alone.
The best part of this is I’m not writing this about you, I’m writing this about ME!
I’ve fallen victim to all of the above.
Not just in exercise, but in nutrition, relationships, business and more.
I was the archetypal “If they can do it, so can I” kind of guy.
I figured that running a business would be simple and that making it work would be even easier.
I mean, other people make it look easy so why wouldn’t I?
Just like watching the guys on tv playing rugby.
Pffft, I can do that, they’re not better than me.
Not that is, until you’re down the park at 3pm and the whistle blows!
Then reality bites, I’ve got hands like feet and even the dog watching has a better rugby brain!
It’s not all doom and gloom!
Whilst our egos may get the better of us at times, there is a way to get out of this cycle and onto the road to success.
- Finding a coach who cares about you more than they care about your goals is the first stage.
- Subscribing to the patience and consistency model, instead of the burnout or fade away approach, is the second stage.
- Allowing yourself to adopt a beginners mentality is third
Now, this isn’t easy. It may take you some time to tick off all three. It may take you years, but the rewards are great if you can.
How do I know..
Here’s my plan for you to get started
Find the gym you’ve been thinking about joining.
Do they encourage you in for a chat about your goals, or do they throw you straight into class? If they do the latter, find the one that offers the first. The best gyms want to talk to you first, more than they want to make you exercise.
Do they offer Nutrition coaching as part of their plan for you?
Fitness is achieved through the optimization of exercise and nutrition. Fitness cannot be optimized without the inclusion of both. That’s why the best gyms in the world sell exercise and nutrition together.
Are there 1-1 options in their offerings?
Achieving your goals, staying consistent and being patient are all much more achievable in a 1-1 setting. Group training is great, and one of the tools gyms use to help you be successful, but one on one coaching is the fastest way to get there
In the words of our friend, Baldassare Castiglione, Buona Fortuna!
If you don’t want to put your trust in luck, click here to schedule a Free No Sweat consultation with me