Intuitive… Workout? What?
We all know there’s an abundance of fitness plans, programs and influencers but what if you really are the pro on the matter.
So what is intuitive exercise?
Similar to intuitive eating, intuitive exercise is establishing a complete connection with your body, in order to know what it needs and wants in that present and precise moment.
The underlying premise of intuitive eating is that with practice you will learn your inner body cues and thus able to meet your body’s needs — without questions or rules.
We are wired at birth with all the wisdom needed for this to happen. But this inner wisdom is often clouded by myths and uncertainitys that abound in the health and wellness culture.
However, this method of intuative exercise is sustainable and life-generating, just like eating.
Intuitive exercise is best honed when you are thirsty to learn and to continue learning about new movement based actives. The larger your catalog of movements and the greater your habit of exercising is, the more you’ll come to enjoy intuitive exercise.
Simply enjoy practicing movements, lifts, circuits, and flows, without having to “prove” your ability through any arbitrary social standards, race or competition based event.
So, why intuitive exercise?
Society has forced a goal driven mentality and “standard” within the fitness world — necessary yes, but there is always room for growth and development in the ability to know and serve your body’s needs at that time. The wisdom comes from being self-directed and self-serving. It’s no longer then a matter of needing others, be it a group fitness class, fitness celebrity, to tell you what the next best thing is.
Intuitive exercise to maintain a holistic relationship between the body, mind and spirit.
Methods & Tactics:
This is not a set outline of what should happen. It’s simply a guide of questions and considerations to put into practice.
Questions to continuously ask yourself throughout the time period.
- What haven’t you done in a while? And why so?
Figure out the ratio for: feeling incapable : feeling weak/ tired/ pain
Answering this will help you determine your next steps. Perhaps a stretching series should be the warm-up, or perhaps you lower your expectation by lowering the reps, weight and be happy with just doing it (even if it is just one set or 10 reps).
2. What would you like to try? What has your mind imagined you doing?
Are you wishing you were 10 again rolling down hills or doing cartweels around without feeling like your brain is going to fall out of your head if you do?
For those things you’re longing to do, what are the pieces needed to get better at them or to the point of doing them successfully?
For example: Bodyweight pull ups — on different days, weeks, alternate between playing with high reps on assisted + low rep negatives + resistance bands.
Considerations to flowing through your exercise period
Stretch → provides an body inventory. What is your body feeling? Scan the body and take mental notes on any areas of tightness, soreness, areas of energy.
Cardio → get the blood flowing so that cardiovascular, mind and muscles are working together, not in opposition. Cardio provides a great opportunity to experiment — more on that below.
Muscle target → to balance and protect the bones.
Stretch (yes, again) → It gives your muscles the okay to relax again, and another moment to practice mindfulness before moving on with your day. And, your body will thank you later.
Don’t fret changing exercises before “completely finishing” — if it’s not right, rather than forcing it, re-direct and enjoy it! And the same can be said for mixing together cardio and muscle targets.
The beauty with this intuative tenique is there is no “right” or “wrong” it’s staying true to you.
Disclaimers: practicing intuitive exercise is not meant to hold you from pursuing new learning opportunities. If you feel a desire to dance, do acrobatics, join a team sport, then by all means — go! Your repertoire of bodily abilities should not compromise but rather, continue to grow along your newly self-aquired path.
Challenges: The challenges of this new training method and practice will only enhance your experience during the period of exercise.
- Acknowledge the deeper, underlying “why” to your decision making (finding the balance of challenge, non-judgemental expectation and growth).
- Diminish expectations for what is needed for that day. Everything is in constant change and shifting. We are under the illusion that things can be controllable — especially our role in being able to change our body shape and size, and the time it takes for that.
The thing to be most aware of is not allowing any preconcieved notions or expectations about how the time should be spent coming into the exericse period.
Visualizing is one thing but responding to what your body needs and desires is where the real growth happens.
As with everything, it’s a journey not a destination. As you explore and learn your body signals you’ll no longer compare yourself to others, or be overly concerned with numbers and benchmarks; you’ll be certain that you’re following your own individual path.
You will in return become your own pro and best guide for exercise that satisfies the body, mind and spirit.
In health and exploration, – L