If you have spent anytime training, exercising, weightlifting, or P90xing, you were, or are, probably trying to build a better body. Either you want a strong, healthy body, or you want one that looks strong and healthy.
When I first started training, I was 13 years old. I trained for two reasons: my football coach said I needed to hit the weight room if I wanted to play football, and my best friend told me that girls liked guys who had big chest. To be honest, I don't know which I cared more about: football or girls. Either way, that was all the motivation I needed to start training and that is what sparked my "history" of health and fitness.
I think most people get started training for similar reasons, if not the same reason: we all want to look good and feel good about the way we look. No matter how mature we get, this is still a desire deep within most of us. Is it selfish? Maybe, but I don't think it is wrong. We should want to look the best we can. It is called vanity by some and responsibility by others.
In the last few years, through "careful" observations of my own body and the bodies of my children, I think I have found the best training method for building the best "looking" AND functioning body: the simple method of play. I know some of you are really surprised right now. ;)
It is true though. I gave up "traditional training" (bodybuilding style) about 9 years ago when I found the kettlebell. I gave up weightlifting and traditional kettlebelling about 1 to 2 years ago when I started learning how to play. Now, my training is almost completely random except for the fact that I am intentional about doing something (playing) every day of the week. I crawl, carry, sprint, climb, roll and whatever else strikes me. I play.
The results? I feel great. Better than I ever have (i'm older each day - 37 years old now, so being better today than I was when I was in "great shape" at 24 years old is good with me!). I am "stronger" now than I have ever been. I put stronger in quotes because the strength I have now allows me to do anything I want to do. I am not just performing well in the weight room, I am performing well in the world. Also, I don't ever feel trashed after a workout. I feel like I've had a great moving session. Best of all, I feel comfortable in my own skin - aesthetically speaking. Play has yielded the best results for my body over any other training program I have ever participated in.
I have noticed the same thing for my children. I have an 8 and 9 year old and they are ripped, perfectly chiseled little bodies. They are always active, playing, wrestling, skateboarding, bike riding, sword fighting, and insert crazy child activity. They even turn our living room into their own parkour gymnastics arena. They are strong, fit and they move very well. Why? Because they play - a lot.
Could this work for you? I don't know.
What would happen if you were committed enough to play everyday for 30 to 60 minutes, AND you were brave enough to throw away all of the training rules that you know? I'll bet most of you would find that you could build the body you've always wanted to have: strong looking, strong functioning, athletic, energetic, HEALTHY, fit, fill in what you want here...
Of couse, if you are training for a specific performance endeavor, like maybe the olympics, you should probably stick with your current regimin and just play when you are able. But if you are just training for health, resilience, and aesthetics, you might find play can unlock a whole new world for you.
If you really like structure, learning to play will be extremely hard to do. But what would happen if you just give it a shot for a month - One month out of your entire life? What would happen if you let go of the rules, you became consistent, creative, and intentional, and you just played for one month?
You might be pleasantly surprised. You might build the best body you've always wanted. At the very least, I bet you will discover something really cool that you like to do.
Play. This works for me. It may not work for you. But, it may.?!
If you give it a shot, please let me know.