Oh to be a kid again! Running around with your friends without a care in the world. When we gaze through the lens of nostalgia, we seldom think of the omnipresent authority figures who made our ruckus possible. Family members, or other adults, fostered these care-free platforms from which we developed grand memories. Adults said to us, “Go play hide-and-seek, but be back before sun-down” or “You and your friends can build a bike ramp, but no power tools” and even “Ice cream tonight is fine, but only one scoop and after all your dinner is finished.” In each of these settings, play and fun were fostered by an established order, acting behind the scenes to reign us in respectably.
Today in the fitness industry, we are witnessing coaches, programs, and facilities lead clients towards injury or burnout because they never step up and lay down legitimate ground rules. In just ten seconds on the internet, one can find images and video compilations of a litany of fitness situations gone wrong. As a coach at a gym that earnestly strives for movement excellence, in these situations I have to ask, “Where was the adult”, “Why wasn’t this stopped”, or “Who in their right mind would allow this”?
The state of exercise in our modern world is a little too Lord of the Flies. If you haven’t read the book or seen the film adaptation, author William Golding showcases the worst outcome possible when adolescent boys govern themselves. Stranded on an island during a fictitious world war, young men left with no leadership quickly devolve, acting off impulse, raw emotion, and for some, an unquenchable will to power.
Unlike in the novel, it is highly improbable anyone is going to drop a boulder on you at a blow of “The Conch” (read the CliffNotes). However, I think everyone has walked into a gym setting and seen another individual performing an exercise they have no business doing. You’ve likely witnessed a group class turn away from quality movement standards and give way to group cheerleading. Failure to subject your fitness to a qualified coach or substituting direction for motivation will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction or dysfunction on some level. Much like the children in the book, when rules, direct oversight, expectations, parameters, and the like are absent from the environment, a safe and playful nature are hard to come by.
While there is always the risk of an accident, they are never to be expected. Everyone knows someone who has been injured while running, playing a recreational sport, or lifting weights. The blame is not to be placed on the activity itself, but with whom administered such activity AND with what environment did they set up the participants. When we coach at MSP Fitness, you’ll routinely see individuals called out or corrected when exhibiting poor form. They are NOT cheerleaded, or encouraged to push through. We firmly feel that every movement pattern should be monitored, with proper execution rewarded with praise. At MSP, challenging lifts and difficult progressions are earned, never given.
Our Founder and Head Coach Michael Pilhofer will often tell people, “We have the space and the equipment to do just about anything you could ever imagine doing with fitness, you just have to earn the right to use it.” Fitness is a literal playground folks, not the wild wild west. We’ve seen that when participants follow some basic ground rules, they thrive. They achieve their goals (and then some) faster and with greater proficiency than if they were out on their own or sat in the driver’s seat too soon.
If a strength and conditioning environment like this resonates with you, and you live in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, we know MSP Fitness would be a great fit for you. We have several levels of group programing and a myriad of individual training options. We hold “The Conch” so you don’t have to, ensuring that the training situation is ripe for flourishing. So if you’re tired of the revolving door of exercise and ready for a sustainable fitness setting, CONTACT US today!