don't think. feel.

I love asking questions. I love analysing and breaking problems down. When I don't succeed at grasping the right mental model, or framing the problem, I don't do quite well.

In grad school, I learned to engage and ask intelligent questions, and be part of a conversation. Not just ask questions to ask them, or to sound smart.

When I started training at CrossFit, I knew zilch. So, everything was a mystery to me. I would ask incessant questions about technique, about approach, about how to do.. well, pretty much everything. Because I lacked the structure or model to do it, and I just wanted someone to explain everything.

It changed for me one day, when after weeks of patience and answered 100s of my questions, Adrian Bozman told me nicely and firmly,

Hey Arv! Stop using your brain
Ponder
Photo by Jeremy Perkins / Unsplash

That stunned me. Whaaaaaat!?!?!?


When we are new into fitness, we often

  1. lack proprioception i.e. knowing where your joints are in space
  2. lack body control i.e. you want to do it but you really cannot
  3. lack neuromuscular adaption i.e. your software and hardware don't talk too well
  4. lack strength and endurance, physically and mentally

As we work on our skill, all of them get better. To work on this skill, it is not about putting bits and pieces together only but also letting the body just figure it out.

Think of any skill you have. Let's take driving - shift down a gear, while pressing the clutch and steering the vehicle while continuing the conversation you are having. If we have to think and communicate, it will take far too long. Instead, it is a pattern ingrained in us by practice.

As the great Bruce Lee said,

Don't think. Feel!
Enter The Dragon. Don't Think. Feel.

The kettlebell swing, for example, is too fast to process. You nail your setup, and you just go. As your skill level gets better and better, you just get better. As you understand your body is one piece, it gets even better.

There's a time to think. But too much thinking can cripple the mind. Find a balance.

For me, I was doing too much thinking. Now, I have a happy balance!


Today, I see a few of my students do the same - ask a lot of questions. While that's great, there are a few things that you are better off discovering on your own. I gently nudge them back and sometimes refuse to answer their questions.

Repetitions (good technique, obviously) will help you answer most of your questions. Time and effort and work will answer all those questions. Some of our questions are also not the right questions, and we will realise it only by putting in the time. Your questions will evolve.

Photo by Should Wang / Unsplash

Many answers will only make sense as you know enough to interpret them. That's why, theory alone is not enough. You have to try to apply, and then figure out what that actually means.

Just like all of us see colours differently, you might interpret things differently. And that's okay! That's something you can teach me too, and that's one more lens I have.

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