League of Wildness,
Is it really that simple?
On our most recent Facebook live event Kim, myself and the LoW went on a journey discussing the following questions:
- When did health/fitness become something you had to consciously think about and plan? When did sports/play transition to workouts?
- How much of our modern ailments would be solved by spending more time outside? What specifically would be the most dramatic solution?
- Why do we have to do so much to counteract the human zoo we've created? Why do we need books, apps, websites, coaches, etc, to tell us to do things that would be more or less 'natural' if we didn't live in a man-made environment?
- Have you thought about how to reconcile the benefits of modernity with living in a way that doesn't require special programs to fix all the consequences of desk work?
- How does the notion that going outside is a somewhat profound solution to many modern ailments strike you? Can it really be that simple?
I sent these questions to Kim after listening to a podcast with Dr. Kelly Starrett discussing his new book Built to Move, co-authored with his wife, Juliet Starrett.
There were so many parallels to what we talk about at wild gym I was shaking my head enthusiastically while Rucking with Doug - my friendly Beast - while also wearing the latest edition of the wild gym Ruck Backpack.
I had another conversation on the Live Wild or Die podcast a few years back that I still think about to this day. In short - there is a process of understanding that goes like this: as we learn more and are able to comprehend increasingly complex ideas we recognize how much we do not know. As this is revealed - we are able to climb out of the ‘valley of complexity’ and finally see the forest through the trees.
What I really appreciate about the podcast mentioned above with Kelly Starrett was how basic their directives are becoming. They have distilled truths about human physiology into their first principles that can serve as the foundation to any health and fitness practice. It doesn’t really matter how you approach these “truths of health and fitness”. What is critical is that you approach them at all - coupled with relentless consistency.
When I Ruck or hike I tend to “see” thoughts or concepts more clearly. What manifested itself clearly this time was that each element: Sleep, Time Outside, Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Community all carry equal gravity. I have not always believed this, but I think it is extremely important to recognize. Each element is intimately connected to all the others which is why I chose to describe this as the “Web of Wildness”. Each element is connected to and affected by the others.
- Quality sleep provides the energy to move.
- A positive mindset enhances community bonding.
- Getting outside means sun exposure which helps to calibrate your circadian rhythm for better sleep and increasing levels of Vitamin D.
- Eating well fuels movement.
- More movement leads to increased strength and cardiovascular health.
- Being a part of a (positive) community helps improve your mindset.
Here’s an example from my own life:
When I have plans to go for a morning Ruck/run with a friend I eat well the night before and get to bed at a reasonable time. I then get up with the sun and eat a nutritious breakfast to fuel my Ruck/run. I share a positive experience and bond with a friend (or friends) which improves my mindset. I continue to eat well the rest of the day so that I recover well and because I spent time outside in the sun, moved a lot, and feel like I’m a part of something bigger, my mind is more at peace and I sleep awesome that night. Rinse and repeat.
There is a very obvious positive-feedback loop that naturally develops when you organize your life in a somewhat similar fashion.
To quote my current favorite book, 4,000 Weeks, “...to ask how we’d enjoy spending our time…you shouldn’t rule out the possibility that the answer to that question is an indication of how you might use your time best”.
I love this concept. In regards to health and fitness, the truth is that all roads lead to Rome in the sense that there is no one way to practice health and fitness “correctly”.
I believe the 6 elements in the Web of Wildness can be approached in an infinite number of ways and the truth is that if you approach them in a way that you also enjoy - the probability that you will be consistent with your practice improves exponentially.
You must comply with yourself.
If you can learn to enjoy the process and accept its infinitude it becomes so much easier to be consistent.
At wild gym - we encourage you to aim for 80% consistency. Do that for the next 30, 40, or 50 years and you will be feeling exceptionally wild and maybe even enjoy the process.
So what the heck should I do? Like - specifically?
In regards to fitness - I believe that incorporating a Movement Flow (think mobility training), a Workout, and a Flexibility session most days is very doable and will deliver extraordinary results. The concept is also extremely malleable so you can adjust it in a way that you enjoy.
Here’s an example:
10 minute walk as soon as you wake up. This gets you outside, exposed to some sunlight, and gets in some low-intensity cardio training.
5-15 minute Flow. If you go into the monkii app there is a 10-minute monkii Yoga session you can follow along with. This can be found in the ‘Videos’ tab in ‘pocket + MB2’ section of the app.
3-5 sets of:
10-30 second Plank Hold
If you have a time constraint - say 15 minutes - you can approach the workout above as a circuit. Set a 15-minute timer and then complete as many rounds of the four exercises as possible within the 15-minute window. This can help to add additional cardio training as well.
Hold each of the following stretches for 1-minute:
Runner’s Lunge - Right
Runner’s Lunge - Left
Hang from Bar (if you have a pullup bar, monkii bars, rings, or anything you can hang on the idea is to relax your shoulders and let your back lengthen. This can be tough so you can place your feet on the ground to take some weight off of your arms)
*This stretching session could be repeated 2-3 times if you wanted to put more emphasis on improving your flexibility.
This is only 45-minutes total if you break it down:
10 minute Walk
15 minute Movement Flow
15 minute Workout
5 minute Stretch
…and that’s 4 “workouts”!
I would also like to point out that this checked off 2 of the 6 elements (Time Outside and Movement). You could even add Mindset to make it 3 out of 6.
The last thing I want this to be is another ‘have to’. Instead, my intent is to share the template through which I approach my health and fitness. With a little upfront work and a basic level of discipline I believe these elements can become habits that require little psychological effort.
First - determine your why and/or your goal.
Next - create a strategy.
Finally - execute the plan.
What I believe to be true is that having a plan from someone that is thinking about this as their job is a valuable asset. My goal is to evolve wild gym to be that asset for you.
Reply to this email and let me know if you’re psyched on the idea of a daily Mobility Flow, Workout, and Flexibility session designed, tested, and delivered by wild gym.
Much love and we’ll see you out there!