II. Obstacles

Morning! Coach Will here 👋.

Last week I wrote about the importance of having functional joints. If you missed it, click here to read it over--I think it’s about as clear as I’ve ever been able to describe it.

You should read this email too--all the way to the end… there’s an announcement of sorts :).

Anyway, getting back to having functional joints…

Unfortunately for us, modern life has stacked a few imposing obstacles in our path toward achieving this simple yet worthy goal (i.e. joints that … work).

  • First, a lack-of-movement pandemic has quite suddenly (in the grand scheme of time) taken hold of huge number of us humans. Our lives, centered around a healthy baseline of physical activity (aka “mechanical inputs”) even just 50-100 years ago, increasingly demand nothing more physical from us than staring at a screen, typing on a keyboard, and pushing down a gas pedal.

This means that all of our joints are literally starved of the mechanical inputs so necessary for normal tissue regulation and maintenance, not to mention building that invaluable brain-map that we will call on when we do start moving.

  • Which brings us to a second major obstacle: the movement options (“workouts”) that the fitness industry currently provides as stand-ins for these necessary inputs are usually not suited for the development of functional joints.

In the best cases, these workouts develop semi-functional joints as a lucky by-product of some other goal (see the third bullet below for more on the insidious quality of a competitive culture), but quite often with significant blind spots that often materialize as injury for the mover down the road. In the worst cases, these workouts literally cause injury.

  • Our third, perhaps most insidious, obstacle to functional bodies is the way that society has told us to measure ourselves. Somewhere along the line, we were told that simply functioning well was not enough. No--we needed to be a specific size, or color, or socio-economic status, or … or …

What I’m really talking about are the unseen but omnipresent forces that shape all of us, all the time: status (wealth/poverty), xenophobia (fear of others), misogyny, racism, shame, and the rest. If nothing else, I believe we should all start by being aware of these forces.  And then work to eradicate them--as much as that is possible given our deeply primate brains.

As coaches, we see people getting stuck by each of these obstacles all the time. So as a company that wants to make things better, we need to look at how to guide our students who are working around/through/with one or more of these challenges.  

We do that by focusing on the coach-student interaction--the right group size, the right program/plan, the right focus (on joints!), the right assessment, the right coaching approach, and the right learning environment. Each of these components, combined together as thoughtfully as possible, have a chance at effectively shaping someone’s outcome.

These past two newsletters (from me) have been a long-way round of saying something simple:

Helping you develop functional joints, that you can trust, and then using that body control to build whatever physical capability you wish, is why The Fitness Alchemists exists.

We stand by that mission because we can clearly see--in the physical movement and actual reports from our long-term students--the effect of having functional joints on the quality of your life.

Our business has continuously angled toward forwarding this simple mission, and sometimes things jump forward. In that spirit, next week we have some big news to share...

Until then,

Coach Will