Monday, August 11, 2014

How the Fitness Industry Brainwashed you

In one of my earlier posts, I expanded on the idea that Free Flow wouldn't ever try to sell you an "identity".  I'd like to expand on that, and what I REALLY meant by that.  I often get people that talk to me about health, about fitness, about what they think they know.  When I talk to people about owning a gym, they almost always, scan over my body with their eyes, and immediately it registers in their eyes their ideas on how they view fitness and health.  Let's first evaluate the word "Fitness".

According to Google "Fitness" is defined as:  The condition of being physically fit and healthy.

...So to be clear, fitness is health.  Health and fitness is one in the same. 

To me, "Fitness" means - Optimum and ideal FUNCTION of the body we have, personal fulfillment, long life.  

To others, "Fitness" may mean - Muscular, slender, toned, tan, white teeth

At some point in your life, you were probably brainwashed into thinking that "Fitness" meant one of the above definitions.  And here's the truth, and it may be to the surprise of millions, but one of the above definitions is totally WRONG.  One of the above definitions is completely, totally off the mark.  Can you guess which one?

Meanwhile - here is a picture of Kristin Rhodes.
I would say she is fit.  That would be because she is a 5x world champion strongman athlete.  She is also an inspiration to the world, mother of 3, owns her own business, and is downright awesome.  Her body seems to function at her optimum/ideal.  She seems as fulfilled as any human could ever be.  A champion, a family, travel and leisure, awesome body, and personally fulfilling mission.

Here's another picture of Kristin

... just because we love to admire her.   

Alright - so now that a picture is worth a thousand words, you can see my point yeah?  Fitness does not mean muscular, slender, toned, tan, white teeth.  Actually... the shape of fitness is rather no mold at all.  It can come in many forms!

Check out the Vegetarian Shaolin Monks playing soccor.  Soccor isn't their sport.  Kung Fu is what they are known for.  But it looks like they have fun with soccor too.

Oh and let's not forget, the 100 lb. 5'0 first female to dominate American Ninja Warrior - Kacy Catanzaro.

I don't understand.  It doesn't make sense.  How is she so strong!  So agile!  So.... so... FIT!

Isn't it interesting to note, that our extremities can only bend one direction, with a few varying degrees, yet have LIMITLESS applications!  It's really, truly, incredible.

So how fit are YOU?  And what more would you like to achieve?  Ignore the following images below, for they are lies.  Actually, never mind - not going to post those images at all.  Simply being on the internet will bombard you with images of tan and oily 6 packs, promises to lose fat, and be the BEST YOU by spending money on weight loss pills, miracle diet plans, and more.  The "Fitness" industry is the most advertised industry in the world, probably because it's a $60 Billion dollar industry.  That's right.  People are spending $60 billion dollars on this industry alone.  WHAT??  But, there is only 6 billion people on this planet.  So if we're spending $60 Billion dollars, shouldn't the whole world be healthy and fit 10x over?  I don't understand... it just makes no sense.  People are starving, people are dieing of heart disease, people are... totally and completely NOT fit!!!!!

I have a theory on that.  That would be because we don't actually understand what Fitness is.  Our understanding is very shallow, very... dare I say it... "Molded".  Dude, we have been brainwashed. 

So now that we have the word "Fitness" clearly defined, and can reprogram ourselves to think in truths, let's move on to your optimum and ideal function.  First off, fitness should not feel like an obligation.  It's a natural human desire to be healthy, to be fit.  In order to be healthy, to be fit, you need to move, you need to play, you need to fuel your body with good quality fuel and calories.  Next time someone tries to convince you that you need to take in 70 grams of protein for breakfast, you can most likely ignore that advice. It really boils down to what you are trying to achieve, what function you are trying to attain.  You need to always, define your goals.  Next, have fun!  Life is meant to be lived, the journey part is the BEST part.  The destination is secondary to the actual journey.  Have fun, have joy - this is the purpose.

And lastly, your body is a gift.  Love it for how it was made. Every body has it's own ideal/optimum function.

Inspired much?  Feeling a tingling of gratitude?  You should.  Because you and your body is amazing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 
If anyone tries to make you feel bad about you and your body, it's because they are trying to reach into your wallet.  Or because there are dark forces around us - who want us to feel miserable about our incredible gift, because those dark forces do not have what we have. A body.  Amazing, incredible, body. 
Be hopeful, cherish, love your gift.  And don't let a multi-billion dollar industry brainwash you.  Resist it!  CRUSH IT!!!  Look at yourself in the mirror, and admire your beauty.  If you can't see it, understand you have been brainwashed.  Your beauty is there.  Look beyond the many filters the dark matrix has placed upon you.  Admire that your eyes, your brain, can process images, that you can pick up a safety pin, that you can roll over, that you can read and process these words and letters!!!!  It's freaking AMAZING!!!

With that said - have a beautiful day and play safe!

- Elle


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I call BS

Yesterday as Corey, Lon and I were discussing how we can add more value to what we offer at Free Flow, we began the discussion of how parents and many adults have forgotten how to play.  We talked about how we would like to see more parents out on the floor, with their kids.  Afterall, that is why we created the first ALL AGE parkour, freerunning, tumbling gym in NorCal.  No other gym in this area allows adults over the age of 21 out on the floor, to take classes, or participate in open gym - due to insurance liability.  So excuse my blunt repeal on such a mindset, I'm going to call BS.  And here's why:

One of the MAJOR factors that drove my husband and I to take the plunge of investing our entire life savings into opening a gym was because we wanted a place that we could play with our kids.  We took our kids to the whole lot of gyms in our area, and the only place that was really open about us being on the floor with our kids, was a place all the way in South Sac.  The drive was detrimental to our wallets, so after 2 years of making a regular 45 minute trek just so that we could be on a gym floor together became too much of a financial hardship on us.  The truth is, my husband and I, and Corey for that matter despise treadmills, and machines.  We want to move.  We want to play.  And speaking for my husband and I, that is how we choose to live an active lifestyle!  I get it, gyms don't want to be "liable" and pay more for insurance, hence they put a strict (no one over the age of 21 can participate in classes or open gym).  I have an issue with that.  Why, oh why, would you EVER teach your children that it's important to live an active lifestyle, but only until you're 21?  That makes no sense to me.  So let me get this message straight... it's okay and healthy to move and have fun until your 21, but after you are 21, you need to resolve to more "adult friendly" workouts, like treadmills, or weights, or adult only sports leagues, and adult only... etc...  No wonder kids are afraid to grow up.  No wonder we see more and more young adults staying in college for as long as possible, lost and confused about what they want to do, who they want to be.  Because not only does adulthood mean you need to work all day everyday, but it also means massive responsibility, stress!  It also means, that your activities you deem as "play" and "fun" are no longer acceptable.  I tell you, this cultural attitude that we have, is a form of poison.  We need to break out of this mold.  Because it's making us all really sick, physically and mentally.  And gyms - the very commercial institutions that are designed to promote healthy and active lifestyles should be on the forefront, encouraging ALL to get out on the floor and move.  More than anything, be there with your family!  Have fun!  Enjoy each other.  For goodness sake, between school, work, and everything else - we have plenty of time away from our family.  Let's not make recreation yet another reason to be separated from each other.  Let's make this time, a time to be together, to grow, and to promote our overall wellness.

However, let's not be reckless about our safety.  Adults do not recover from injury quite as quickly.  Why is that?  Well you can argue because of the hormonal changes that occur.  Which is part of it.  But could it possibly be because we stopped moving?  Could it possibly be more because we chose a more sedentary lifestyle rather than an active lifestyle - causing us to become more prone to injury when we DO decide to move and play?  Or could it be because we feel guilty at times, and are not focused while we are at play - we aren't fully present, due to the amount of things we feel we need to be doing instead of playing?  I would argue that there are a number of factors!  Not just because we are adding numbers to our age.  I think it's more arguable to point out the number of lifestyle changes that were made, that occurred, rather than the number being added to our timeline each year.  And recovering from injury, well it would make sense it takes adults a long time to recover.  Could it be because of our age?  Or perhaps it has more to do with our ability to take time to recover?  After all, we still need to work, take care of the kids, the business... if we calculated our "recovery time" allotment, I'm willing to bet it really isn't recovery time at all.  Therefore, it's more just a series of traumatic events that program our brain to tell us:  "Don't move!  Because you won't allow me to rest when I need it!"  

So what happens when we decide to not move? To not play?  Well... let's just say having a lack of body awareness shares some major consequences.  Some where along the line in our society, we decided liability was more important than our health, and some where along the lines we decided as a society that movement needed to be carefully and strictly monitored at all times.  And movement, for that matter is unsafe, especially for adults.  I'm here to call BS.  Because let's do the math.

Statistically, if you live in the US, you have more chances of dieing of coronary heart disease than anything else.  So let's think about that for a moment.  Let's think about your death.  What will you most likely die from?  You will most likely die from slowly suffocating to death.  That's right, suffocation.  From the inside out.  I think it's interesting that our number one killer in the US is heart disease, a disease that causes suffocation.  If you think about it, it's a metaphor, if you will.  We suffocate mentally, not allowing ourselves to play, or do, so the process of suffocation happens first because of our external factors, then slowly crushing us, from the inside out.  And it's also interesting to note, that heart disease is completely preventable.  It's a LIFESTYLE disease!  Deep breath now.  Let's move on to more statistics.  Let's see what else is killing us:

  • Heart disease: 596,577
  • Cancer: 576,691
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
  • Alzheimer's disease: 84,974
  • Diabetes: 73,831
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

I pulled these stats off the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.  I think it's clear, judging from the stats, that we are going to die from our lifestyle.  Most of which can be prevented if we become more aware of ourselves, our bodies, and our specific needs.  First off - stop eating garbage.  Secondly - MOVE!!!!  Play!!!!  Thirdly - stop promoting stress in your life!  Seriously, stop it. Let's get real here. If you don't, you'll most likely die from the above list.  Let's break down these diseases in plain English starting from the top:  Suffocation of your organs, A foreign entity eating your organs, Suffocation, Suffocation, Accidental unawareness, Brain shrinkage (again lifestyle factors come into play), Your body parts dieing and having to be amputated, Suffocation after burning and coughing yourself into a coma, Toxin and acid overload causing your kidneys to fail, and of course chronic unhappiness that leads to your own self-destruction.  

Sooo, if your worst fears are dieing from suffocation, getting eaten alive, and all the gruesome completely preventable causes, then I suggest we break free from this mindset that I would prefer to call "poison".  All of us, have a loved one, that was taken from the above list.  I'd bet money on it.  All of us have been affected by the above list, maybe even more than a dozen times!  So let's be real here.  Let's look at the facts.  Let's look at the stats.  When I get another notice from the school saying my kids aren't allowed to run on the black top.  When I am told to get off the floor because I'm too old to play.  When I am told to not do cartwheels across the crosswalk... I CALL BS.  I hope you do too.