Some try to win things. Others seek power. Others take up a cause. Others simply behave badly. Some advertise their victimization in order to be special...while others identify with a group and then try to make the group special. I'm of this religion or political party or race or sexuality or country. I have this ailment. I'm short. I'm depressed. I'm the biggest. I'm the strongest. I'm the fittest. Aren't I special? It's comical...kind of sad...but comical.
We want to be special because we think special people do not die.
Why am I writing this here? Well...probably to be ever so special...hee hee. But besides that...it applies to the fitness world. Whenever anyone is promoting a certain type of fitness program, system or technique...which is all the time...it's important to keep in mind that they are very often driven...at least partially...by the need to be special. Whether it be Crossfit or P90X or Insanity or Pose Running or Chi Running or Zumba or the Galloway Method or Pilates or simply certain "experts" and their individual philosophies...keep in mind that everything they are putting out is likely tainted...even if it's just a little bit...by the owner's or originator's need to be different and special.
Let's take Crossfit for example. It's near and dear to my heart and it's easy to pick on because it's such a good example of what I'm saying. Crossfit describes the winner of the annual Crossfit Games as the "Fittest on Earth." How transparent can you get? They essentially come right out and say we want to be the most special of all fitness systems. Because this is their driving factor, they come out with all sorts of claims and advice that are a bit silly and are nothing more than attempts to make the Crossfit method different and special. Most of what comes from Crossfit HQ (Headquarters) is slanted in this way. It's presented as fact and science but it's often nothing more than hype and bluster.
The ironic part of this is that Crossfit has no need to brag or make outlandish claims. It offers plenty without all the BS. It can be loads of fun. There's no need to make the workouts so difficult that onlookers will ooh and aah. Crossfit teaches all sorts of new interesting movements. It gets you thinking creatively. It highlights movement deficiencies and provides methods to fix them. For many of us...it opens up a whole new world. You learn to appreciate just how incredibly strong, fluid, flexible and lightening quick Olympic weightlifters are...along with the immense talents of other athletes such as gymnasts or dancers. I could go on and on. It has so much going for it. Many Crossfit trainers...more and more in fact...are using their own common sense and are borrowing the best of Crossfit without buying into all the hype...and without destroying their clients with savagely difficult workouts.
Pose running is another technique with which I have experience. It has valuable suggestions regarding running form; get off your heels...lean forward a little...more onto the balls of your feet...don't overstride...work on quick contact time...wear a bit less shoe...strengthen your hamstrings and hips. But they've made it into so much more than that. Geez...I bought the book on Pose Running and there must have been 500 different exercises suggested. I was lost. Holy crap! It was so damn complicated. I must need to attend one of their seminars to learn all this. Ugh!
I've rarely read a training method or tool that does not have any value. In my opinion, everything is worth a look. There's almost always something to be learned. Like Dan Millman always said..."The mind is like a parachute. It works best when it's open." I spent close to an hour the other day listening to an interview of a fellow whose philosophy on endurance was diametrically opposed to everything I have been taught and experienced. What's more...I don't really like the guy. But I listened anyway. And to be fair...he was very interesting and I learned things...and our different outlooks were largely due to different experiences, priorities, time frames...and ages.
There's no need to close down to the world and shun anything new. Quite the contrary. Try things. But simply remember that everything you read or hear needs to be taken with a grain of salt because ...whether we can help it or not...we are drawn to specialness.
Develop your sensitivity. Develop your concentration. Be aware. Learn how to discern what's what. This will let you try new things and avoid running into trouble.
In the meantime...beware the trap of specialness.
Note: Special thanks to Stuart Wilde