Explore

In the age of the internet, the fitness community seems continually riven into opposing factions. Spend a bit of time Googling, and you can find troves of comments and blog posts alternately hating on and defending pretty much any fitness trend: CrossFit, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, bodyweight training, distance running, stability work, yoga, P90x, etc., etc., etc.

In fitness, like much of the rest of the world, we seem inexorably drawn towards dogma, believing that our way is the one true way.  And research has long shown that we’re evolutionarily wired towards in-group bias, the desire to build up our own sense of self and community by beating down the differing communities around us.

But while there are nits to pick with all of those fitness trends, there are also great ideas to be pulled from each and every one of them.  Which you can only really learn by trying them out.  

Doing this requires “beginner’s mind”, approaching new disciplines with openness, eagerness, and a lack of preconception.  But as we become experts in one discipline, it becomes ever harder to achieve beginner’s mind in another.  We’re used to looking competent, being a pro.  We’ve built up our ego in our own world, and don't want to risk the embarrassment, confusion, and intimidation of becoming a newbie somewhere else.

Unfortunately, there’s not an easy out.  You just have to, as they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.  

Because, at the end of the day, nobody has a monopoly on the good ideas.  To keep learning and improving, you need to explore new skills and new approaches.  You need to collect insights and innovations from wherever you can.  You need to suck it up, look like an idiot, and grow.

That’s the only way to build a fitness composite that’s right for you.  As Bruce Lee put it,  “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own."  That's it.