As I write this, it feels like an effort just to keep my eyes open.
When Gym Movement 1.0 (now available streaming for free!) first launched, there was a lot of fuss in some communities about how they thought it meant “never do anything that doesn’t test well” and “always give up when something gets hard”. These communities primarily had vested interests in seeing GM this way (i.e. they usually had products of their own to sell which went against GM’s ideas), but I can see how people easily jump to that conclusion.
When engaging in “eustress practice”, GM practitioners (or Movementeers as Movement Candidate and online buddy Darryl Lardizabal coined) often strive to “avoid Elements of Effort” in their practice.
This can include, but is not limited to:
- Avoiding diminished speed/power of action
- Avoiding altered path of action
- Avoiding strained or altered breathing patterns
- Avoiding negative emotional states
This is designed to allow your body to more easily resolve larger total volumes of stress, which leads to more and faster positive adaptation.
This lead to some people claiming that Movementeers “give up/quit all the time”, “don’t try” and “never do any hard work” (paraphrasings, not direct quotes).
I can tell you now that this is a shallow and very mistaken view as to what The Movement Protocols have incorporated into their models of progression and experimentation.
Maximising work that can be achieved without unneeded effort and “never doing anything hard” are NOT the same thing.
I don’t want to write this blog post right now. I am exhausted and anxious. Writing, believe it or not, is OFTEN a “distress activity” to me; something which puts me in a more negative state than before I did it. I find it hard to self edit, hard not to ramble and hard not to worry about how a post will be received, criticised or completely ignored.
AND YET for my planned pathway toward some of my life goals it is likely that increasing blog output is highly desirable, if not strictly necessary. So, when I can muster up the energy, I do it; I absorb the distress of that effort.
I would like to sleep for a solid 6-7 hours every night. I generally find that I suffer both mentally and physically when I regularly obtain less than this. My body feels less responsive, less movements test well, tissues like skin and ligaments become more vulnerable (when mine are already inherently fragile, thanks heredity!) and my mood becomes more negative.
AND YET I repeatedly endure nights of less than 5 hours of repeatedly broken sleep. Why? I work long hours in shift work, but I do not want to lose connection with my wife; I do not want to lose connection with my daughter. My daughter is a disturbed sleeper and I believe it is a distress to her that she can not choose to avoid if I leave her to “cry it out”, choosing my wellbeing over hers. So, I get up throughout the night when needed and I go to bed later than I could, so that I can spend more time with my wife; I absorb the distress of that effort.
I hate to study. I love to learn, but I hate to study. My attention span flickers wildly at the best of times (not uncommon in this Age), so unless I am rapt in the materials in front of me I quickly lose focus. I do NOT find the materials of my Certificates III & IV of Fitness to be stimulating (I find them mostly shallow or potentially wrong and outdated, in all honesty), so putting in time toward my qualifications is INCREDIBLY draining for me. (Going through the materials to complete The Movement Biomechancs level 1 certification online is much more exhilirating, literally.)
AND YET my desired path again makes this necessary, so I attempt to schedule and complete studies in this area; and I absorb the distress of that effort.
It is indeed VERY rare for me to “try hard” in my movement practices.
Many people that practice GM do “distress sessions” far more often than I do. Many also progress faster than I do, often pouring more of their time and energy into that pursuit (which is fantastic; a flexible system should be able to expand to available resources!)
AND YET: I spend a lot of time “trying hard” to meet demands in other areas of my life. Ones I value more highly than “how much I can press overheard”, “how big my guns are” or “how many times I can snatch a Kettlebell in 10 minutes”. Shouldn’t I put my most distressing but necessary effort into the areas where progress and performance is most vital?
I move forward constantly in my gym work. I move forward with ease in my gym work. I love lifting iron and moving with ease and joy; feeling moments of radiant health when my abilities peak. On the occasions when planets align and I can absorb distress in my movement practice to a valid end, I can do so and will weigh up the cost according to MY values.