Needs vs Wants
Don't ask your users what they want. Don't design what they want. It is your role as a designer to figure out what they need, and design the artifact. Erik Stolterman, an amazing professor and my thesis advisor at Indiana U where I studied interaction design, would constantly remind me of this - the difference between needs and wants. And this is a truism in other fields as well, pertintently, in the realm of health and fitness. Oftentimes, the needs are mundane, boring, unglamourous. The stuff we want to do, that's the fun stuff! But there's a reason we must focus on what we need to do, before doing what we want to do. The 'needs' are the foundation that you must have, on which the 'wants' can be built on. You can do without the 'wants', but you cannot do without the 'needs'. What this leads to though, is one of two things. Most folks skip the mundane stuff that they need to learn. They just go to the exciting stuff, without a proper foundation and set themselves up for long-term failure. Or they do the mundane without any focus, without believing in the process, and setting themselves up for failure. One thing is assured though - if you do not lay the groundwork, if you do not spend enough time, if not more, on the needs, on the unglamourous stuff, you are setting yourself up for failure. Mr Miyagi will elaborate, The 4-legged Stool
At The Quad, we work on a simple and powerful principle - balancing out Strength, Speed, Endurance, and Mobility (along with its related attributes flexibility and stability). This key in setting up someone for long-term health and fitness. It does not matter if you are 25 years old, or 60 years old. Same rules apply - balance out these four attributes first. Sure, there's might be a bit more than that but get these right, and you are golden! Work with me on this. You are a 4-legged stool and these attributes make up your legs (Yes, a stool can have less than 4 legs but that's irrelevant here. You are a stool, and you have 4 legs). If any of these legs are not balanced, even by a wee bit, it leads to a stool that is just plain irritating to sit on. Most of us fall into this category. We develop adaptations that are second nature and move along. It would be ideal to correct this situation, but most of us are unaware or lazy, reasoning that this is 'good enough'. No it is not, but let's get to that later. Now, what happens if there is a greater imbalance, 3 good legs and one lame leg? Unusable isn't it? But something that's simple when looking at a stool somehow gets complicated when looking at the human body. Until you fix that leg, it is dangerous to sit on that stool. Likewise, until you fix that big imbalance, you are in a dangerous place. Virtuosity
Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, discusses the importance of virtuosity, defined in gymnastics as “performing the common uncommonly well.” > Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun
Not all the time. Put in the work. And no, not just in name. You really need to switch on, believe in what you are doing, and work at it. I see folks all the time, folks in a rush to do more, to lift more, to jump higher, to run longer - and all in the fastest time possible. I see them at my gym, I see them on my team - they are everywhere. But folks did not get to where they are via a shortcut. As Sir Alex Ferguson says, > There's no fluke about it. I see Ronaldo******* ***practising all the time in training.
Cristiano Ronaldo did not became an amazingly gifted footballer by working only on his step-overs and fancy moves - he slogged in the training pitch, staying back late every day, working on the unglamourous. What we see, the final product, is obviously the glamour-filled version. Coz hey, that's the stuff that keeps us glued to the TV. And that somehow is misleading us into a false path, an accelerated path, an impatient path. The joy is in the journey. Takeaway
Obvious, innit? If you are strong, if you have amazing stamina and speed, but struggle to touch your toes - what should you be working on? A dedicated mobility and flexibility routine, or more strength+speed work. I told you that I see these folks all the time, right? I also see the other kind of folks, the patient ones. These guys are definitely fewer in number. They remain invisible for the most part. I've seen them slog, I've seen them do the same mundane mobility routine day in and day out. While others around them are trying to do newer stuff, fancier stuff, they trust in what they've been told, and stick to their plan. Sure, they are tempted, but they believe in what they are doing, and in the micro-improvements that they see in themselves. One day, they will explode in the arena (the gym, the field - wherever). And most people will be surprised, but not me. Here's to you guys!