Sunday, March 10, 2013

Industry, Fitness, And The Future

Over the past few months or so, I’ve been experiencing what they call ‘segmented sleep’… which is when you wake up for an hour or more in the middle of the night, returning to sleep later. Apparently, if combined with a siesta in the afternoon (which I also indulge in when possible), this is more the natural sleep cycle for human beings. Only since the industrial revolution have we been programmed to believe that it’s normal to sleep a straight seven or eight hours. The reason for this is, of course, because there are industries busy harnessing our energies, and they want to keep us on a strict sleeping and waking schedule. So our natural afternoon naps have been taken away, because they disrupt the work day, and many of our medical professionals have been duped into promoting the notion that we should sleep straight through the night instead. Our bodies, if healthy, resist these intrusions, and thus I’ve been finding myself routinely awake for a period in the middle of night

Speaking of industries, I think it’s beneficial – for personal protection, public education, and the sake of future generations - to maintain an awareness of the often scrupulous activities of larger corporations that profit in various ways from fitness. I remember selling treadmills for a season. With every customer, I would think privately to myself, “Why don’t you just walk out your front door and go for a run? Why buy this expensive machine that so poorly imitates the actual experiences you can have outdoors, for free, moving on real terrain in the fresh, open air?” It reminds me now of the gaming industry as well, the way they attract customers toward virtual experiences like Rock Band, for instance, complete with faux-instruments, instead of inspiring people to purchase real instruments and learn how to actually compose and play music themselves. I used to have these kinds of thoughts, while working in sales, but I would never share them with customers. My job was to move those treadmills, and I did

This week, I found myself troubled by a lengthy video commercial for the sport nutrition supplement S.A.W. (Super Anabolic Workout), promoted by the YouTube-famous Hannibal For King. Probably some of you saw my video response to this commercial, or Sifu’s subsequent response to me. I guess it should not have come as a surprise that this guy, who by all appearances seems a juicer, would have a price he could be bought at. But I still found the whole thing very disappointing. I mean, the way I look at it, all those Bar Starz guys, along with parkour-ists, barefoot runners, bodyweight calisthenics enthusiasts, yoga players, and real martial artists, are collectively renewing and resurrecting natural human movement, fitness practices, and health. And what they are proving, little by little, is that the technologies we’re being sold as aids to advance our fitness are often the very obstacles that either limit our development, or injure us permanently. We don’t need any of it. The only tools required to reach our fullest potentials are our bodies, our environments, and one another

To me, this is a very attractive and logical proposition. And of course the industries are going to try to wedge their way in. No sooner is the book “Born To Run” published, arguing that our bodies are designed for endurance hunting (basically running-down hooved animals over long distances with nothing but our naked or moccasined feet), than we see a flood of toe-shoes come onto the market. Parkour begins to rise in popularity, soon there are indoor gyms with obstacle courses in them, complete with spongy rubberized surfaces. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the catalogs full of martial arts training gear. And then there’s the attempts, some of them extremely successful, to turn these pure activities into sports, and build industries around spectacular competitions. It’s all money, money. And along with it, you get various forms of public brainwashing… Your body should look like this. Your clothes should look like that. Success is equated with winning over others in competition. If you want the best and quickest results, you need special training equipment and laboratory-produced dietary supplements. And here we have Hannibal the King testifying to the matter. S.A.W. is the drug you need to perform magic on the bars. It’s sad

The worst thing about it, in my opinion, is that it’s so very commerce-driven and short-sighted. Very few people consider questions like, “How will marketing this technology, or dietary supplement, or event affect our society? How will it affect the future constitution of our species?” What I see is that our fitness activities today have the potential to either benefit or hinder future generations. The example I used in my response video was corrective lenses. Think about it… in the past, before there were glasses and contact lenses, those who had problems with their eyes probably wouldn’t live very long, or at least wouldn’t become extremely successful members of their societies, unless of course they excelled in a niche where eyesight wasn’t so important. But overall, nature would ensure that most people had good eyes. Enter corrective lenses, and now we have a situation where a technology lends an important advantage to those with vision problems. Soon, a larger and larger percentage of our population is affected by nearsightedness. In fact, as a species, we’ve become really very dependent on vision corrective technologies. And how long have we had these devices. If we skip ahead a thousand years, will all our descendants be born effectively blind? Requiring eye-surgery right out of the womb? Everything we do with our bodies will make a difference to the future – culturally, sociologically, and even biologically. I promote being outside in all kinds of weather conditions, because the less we rely on climate-controlled conditions today, the more adapted our descendants will be in body. I mean, this might seem a little far out there, but I’m confident that by promoting the right kind of movement practice, humans of the future could have vastly improved natural abilities than those we have today. But instead of considering the legacy we’re building for our descendants, we are investing all our energies toward making a buck, being comfortable, and using technologies to generate the results we want quickly, rather than naturally


  1. You are right. A lot of people do not even take time to question how technology can affect their bodies. They just go wherever the media is telling them to go. The media tell them to take supplements to get quick results they will take them. Furthermore, maybe Sifu was right about Insanity and P90x. They ain't shit. They will promote you to workout. I give them credit for that but they also promote supplements too! The industry is all about the money. The industry does not care about the population's health at all.
    I am also very impressed that you train outside so often. To be honest with you, I am afraid of running outside in the cold weather. It's like I am afraid of nature itself. The treadmill can only give you a sloppy imitation of the outdoor roads. To fully benefit from running, outdoor is the best. Maybe the fear of cold is something I have to face myself.

  2. Technology is evolving, not us, it's sad like you say. But i like some tech things, i'm not against all of it. Like protein shake for exemple, i don't think they are that bad. Instead of eating meat that has been taking off of a living animal, you take a protein shake, so it's like i see goods and bads in it but not just bads. As for Hannibal i respect the guy but the commercial sucked!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.