Hey there, I hope you are having an awesome day! This is Lorin here at LiveFitStrong with some more great insights of fitness for the modern man. Today I want to share with you a story that taught me a lot and more or less shaped my approach to almost everything concerning my body.
My whole life changed when I learned to implement Wu Wei into my life.
Wu Wei is the Chinese Taoist philosophy of active stillness and patience. It is like a praying mantis waiting for the precise moment to strike and seize the opportunity. Just as our planet revolves around the Sun, it just does- its action is just there. Not thought out or premeditated, just ‘thoughtless intelligence’ and ‘action without action’. Wu may be translated as not have or without and Wei as do, act, or without action. It is often included in the paradox Wei Wu Wei, or action without action.
You are probably asking yourself right now, why is this guy giving me a Chinese philosophy lesson? This effortless action, or action without action is what ideal fitness is. The place where you can do the things that you want to do without consciously “pushing” yourself into it.
I used to spend a lot of time in the weight room lifting and pushing myself INTO pain, injury and risking SERIOUS injury because I was working out from my need to have an idealized result. If that was not enough to set unrealistic expectations upon myself, added with my compulsive personality to perfect things. This created an ongoing scenario where I made it difficult for myself to achieve, and one where I felt hopeless if I was not perfect, so I pushed harder.
Then one day it happened…
While doing my fourth set on the military press, fatigued and lifting my max weight, instead of the bar coming nice and evenly down, it moved back and pulled my arms and shoulders back to the bar yanking me back and forcing my arms behind me like a bad night with a cop, and made my back bend in a manner that it was not created to do. Six weeks later and almost daily visits to my Uncle’s chiropractic clinic, with treatments of heat, manipulation, acupuncture, acupressure, and everything else in his arsenal, I regained enough mobility to put on and take off my seat belt with out crying in pain.
During that time of forced inactivity, I was left with nothing more than the thoughts in my mind (which were NEGATIVE about my situation). Which for me being a really POSITIVE person, was not much fun. I just had to accept the recovery time, where I was at and what I was going through. There was no way around.
With my new found free time I began to study the body and my injury, different lifting techniques, and other forms of exercise that I had previously written off. My forced inactivity became an opportunity for growth. For the remaining time of my physical incarceration I learned to breathe, meditate, and move my body all over again. That was one of the best workouts I have ever had, and it lasted six weeks. From that moment on working out was not a ‘push and grind’, ‘No pain no gain’ experience. It became a relaxing time that I got to check in with my body and “workout” stress and tension, and “work in” correct and efficient movement that made me feel super GOOD and reach my fitness goals too.
Your ideal level of fitness will take your body where you want it to go, so you can enjoy all the other things that have nothing to do with working out.
No matter what your body does, biking, surfing, running, power lifting, martial arts, yoga, or just a nice walk. Being present and allowing your self to slip into it and not push right through it, makes what once seemed impossible…effortless- Wu Wei.