The new spirit helps make fitness more attainable and less toxic

Paul Landini He is a personal trainer and health educator in Kitchener, Ont.

I occupy a unique field in the world of personal training. The majority of my clients are adults like me, regular people who value exercise but feel a conflict with the fitness culture as a whole. Like me, they have tried to remain open in the face of what is clearly a foolish ideology (“No pain, no gain”? Really?). They would spend hours in the gym every week, all the time wishing they were outside instead. In short, they sipped the steroid-coated Kool-Aid until it became too acid for the stomach, and then went looking for a more palatable option.

The approach I use when working with these daring spirits is the same as the one I use to keep my training/Life Demons at bay. Rather than pursuing big, bold fitness goals, goals that typically consume a great deal of time and emotional energy, our focus is on achieving an attainable but equally challenging standard I like to call “reasonably fit.”

The ethos of “reasonable fit” contrasts starkly with the typical rigorous training style. We prioritize the quality of the movement over the number of reps and groups. Our performance standards are based on what our actual bodies can do in the real world we live in. This means if you’re a middle-aged office worker, you probably don’t need to train for a 600-pound squat. For most people in this demographic, simply being able to get up off the ground in one smooth motion is a much more productive—and achievable—goal.

It was a long road that led me to this place. I have been immersed in the world of fitness for as long as I can remember. An elementary school gym class led to weight training in high school, and from there I jumped into boxing and martial arts; And while I’ve never been very good at these athletic pursuits, they have become the cornerstone of my burgeoning male identity. The gym has become my home away from home. Men’s Health, Muscle and Fitness, Flex – These glossy magazines provided the filter through which I began to see the world.

I can remember feeling the disconnect between my real personality and this one I made. aggressive situations that do not take prisoners; selfish attitude; Misleading notions of what it means to be a man – all felt bogus because, well, it was. But real men don’t care about that kind of navel stare. Real men lift weights. So this is what I have been doing all the time.

So is it any wonder that my twenties were such a mess?

Fortunately, after a decade of getting lost in the pseudo-wild wilderness of this particular subculture, I’m starting to see the light of day. My ‘aha moment’ came while I was treating shoulder pain which was bothering me because only God knows how long. It hit me all at once, an existential punch that left me feeling lost and embarrassed, but I’m also heartened.

It became clear that my relationship with fitness – and my body – was toxic and ineffective to say the least. I’ve never asked what exactly I’m aiming for when I stick to my eight-week training plan. I never thought about the performance or the aesthetic standards I was following or even who put those standards in the first place. I simply nodded with the rest of the Gym Bros and hit my next group.

But you can not ignore the light. My faith was shaken, and questions kept popping up. Why am I so concerned about muscle mass and body fat? Is it because I put so much money on health and vitality that I lose my butt on a regular basis? Or is it because of a deep-rooted inferiority complex that manifests itself in the constant and desperate quest for approval from others?

These are the kinds of questions that the industrial fitness aggregator prefers not to think about, these are the kinds of questions that lead to people canceling their gym memberships. But I know they get asked because, on top of expressing them myself, as a coach I hear them all the time from the people I work with.

Desire to be reasonably fit is not a concession or a concession. You still need to work hard, you still need to show up and put in the effort on a regular basis. This simply means that there are other aspects of life that are more important than lifting twice your body weight. Leave the hours-long workouts for the so-called alpha. For us reasonably fit people, we train to live rather than the other way around.

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