Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Busy Being Born

Apparently, you burn more fat if you vary the speed and intensity of your training. It is called interval training. This makes a lot of sense. The key to a good work out is like the key to all things. Variety = spice of life. I think it has a lot to do with the biological mind.

Our minds are evolving processes. It is better to think of the mind as the totality of the organism's awareness and functionality, than it is to think of it as a centralised entity. The mind grows, builds strength and resilience, when it is optimised. No mystery there, but our current culture does everything in its power to sanitise the mind, to entrench it in the familiar. As a result, we become predictable machines, we become cynical, and we become fat. Our intelligence, our consciousness, is never truly challenged, and the type of challenge I mean is understood as a threat, rather than an opportunity to grow.

Bringing it back to the workouts, we would do well to review our instant reactions to a physical challenge. It is my feeling that part of what it means to be a man, is to relish a challenge rather than to fear it. We must build a resilience to change, and to pushing the boundaries of our capabilities. However, we live in a society that actually forces us to do the opposite. It is a society based on comfort.

It is ironic that this society of comfort came out of patriarchy. In reality, patriarchy is as much the enemy of true, authentic masculinity as it is of women. The oppression is less stark, because we have yet to recognise that living in the comfort of the familiar is a form of oppression. But it is.

Human evolution depends on the unfamiliar. It depends on our ability to reach what we imagine to be our limitations, and our ability to embrace those limitations, rather than shrink back from them. To live a life of comfort, to live in the familiar, and to hoard our resources rather implement them, is not really living. In the same way, you can run for 45 minutes at the same pace, at the same gradient and even get a sweat on. But ultimately, after doing this for three or four days on the trot, working out like this becomes a useless waste of time. All you are doing is maintaining, and when you fall back on maintaining, you are actually devolving.

As the feminists say, the personal is the political. What is good the for the individual, is good for the whole. What's good for your health is good for your soul.
The first point I made about true health, is working out what constitutes your OWN level of optimisation. The second point I am making here, is that once you find that space in which your “being” is optimised, you must always seek to put yourself in this space. Only then can you grow truly fit, and only then will we, as a culture, reach our fullest potential.

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