Welcome to ‘The Art of Movement’ - my weekly newsletter!
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This newsletter is not just an opportunity for me to touch base with my dear patrons and show my gratitude for your monthly support, but also to offer you a 5 minute, easily-digestible read around the world of health, fitness and exercise. Here I will troubleshoot many common difficulties my clients experience, offer practical, actionable solutions for you to put to work in your life immediately, and of course provide my weekly motivation in the form of a favourite quote, and a takeaway lesson from it.
Please send me your feedback, questions and curiosity regarding the newsletter via the messaging tool on my Patreon page!
CIRCUITS: Tuesday 9th August @ 6:30pm on Turnham Green, Chiswick
Edition 28 - Stop Chasing Perfect
Today’s newsletter is about encouraging you to embrace the ugliness of the training process.
Sure, there will be things that go smoothly, and also, unfortunately there will be aspects of your training that go completely pear-shaped.
Part of making real progress is learning how to look forward to, and relish the challenge of rolling with the punches. Having to improvise sometimes to meet your objectives, and get to where you need to be in an occasionally unorthodox way. This requires you to reflect critically and honestly on what your fitness journey needs from you at that particular moment in time, and act in your own best interests to get through your training healthy, happy, and closer to your goal.
Don’t get me wrong - having a mental model of perfection can be useful in many circumstances (for example, a technical model of skill execution, which helps us improve our training form, reducing injury susceptibility). I am an insufferable perfectionist myself, so trust me, I am not here telling you not to strive to be the absolute best you can be in the eyes of yourself. After all, knowing exactly how you want things to look and be shows drive, ambition and attention to detail. It provides a frame of reference we can base our progress upon - a never ending one, mind you (is there really any such thing as perfect?).
But despite having this model or idea of how great we want everything to be (which is only helpful depending on how we channel the mindset), we need to be able to let it go when things don’t go to plan. We need setbacks to be something we accept, reflect on, and move on from extremely quickly towards our goal. I like Jurgen Klopp’s quote about never getting carried away with a win, and never getting too down about a defeat.
Maybe you had a long, ambitious list of exercises based on something you saw online, and you want to do them all in one session. But it just isn’t possible to get it all done. Especially with good quality.
Or perhaps you created an impeccable training schedule to attack over the next few months to get your fitness back on track, with the perfect blend of strength, cardio, core, mobility, and so on. But after the first 2 weeks you’ve missed 3 workouts and can’t make the routine work.
Maybe you know exactly what you need to do but just have no time on your hands, always cursing the heavens that you can never hit that ‘consistency’ myth that you hear every fitness professional banging on about.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You have to explore what is going wrong and why - then act.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t following your programme tightly enough. As long as you are learning from the deviations you are having to make. What are you doing differently to the plan and why? Are you struggling with the sets, reps and load you prescribed? Are you skipping the exercises at the end? Are you skipping whole sessions entirely? Be brutally honest with yourself about these things and leave judgement, ego and emotion out of it. It is what it is. If you need to make your weights lighter to avoid injury - do it. If you need to remove exercises to make the workout shorter and more achievable - go for it. If you feel like you need to spend an extra month at 3 sessions a week before you attempt 4 - that is exactly what you have to do.
It doesn’t matter if you are only getting half of your workout done
If you have done what you can, give yourself a pat on the back and move on. You have done the single hardest thing about exercising consistently which is turn up. Prioritise the other half of the workout next time. Maybe split the session into 2 so you can give each exercise more quality and attention.
It doesn’t matter if you have to skip what would be a poor session today
If it helps you guarantee a great session tomorrow - rest! And make sure you nail it tomorrow!
It isn’t going to be perfect, and that’s ok.
“To never try is the ultimate fail” ― J. Cole
Movement of the Week: Windscreen Wipers
3 x 10 reps (5 each side)
A nice little core exercise for you to have a go at this week! Windscreen wipers are fun, because they’re really difficult and beneficial, but also really easy to regress and make it possible for anyone to do. Start with the easy version on the left (bent knees), then try a harder version with completely straight legs, then if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can try squeezing a weighted ball between the feet, which will also target the adductors (groin) as well as the abs, obliques and deeper core!
That’s all for this week! Please spread the word about my Patreon channel so more people can enjoy the videos and newsletters!