Look up at the title again. Yes, I said training like a sheep. “Sheep don’t train!” you say. I disagree. We see it all the time. Every day. Crossfit, P90X, Insanity, Hot Yoga, and whatever else is the trend. We gather to whatever we hear is the “new thing” or the one that everyone is getting into. That’s fine, for sheep. Some of us will always be sheep, either because we don’t know any better, it works for us, or we don’t want to upset the herd. We do these things in health and fitness because that’s what our friends are doing, or we saw someone get in great shape doing that. That’s all totally fine. I understand that, and it may work for you. I have a different viewpoint. Mine isn’t quite as extreme as some of the people I follow, but nonetheless it’s definitely different than those above. Now my comparison to sheep and athletes may seem absurd, but hear me out in what follows:)
I’m calling some of those other things “sheep workouts” because that is essentially what it is, for better or worse. You can get better doing them, and that’s fine and dandy, and I don’t fault you for that. My opinion though, is I don’t want to be a sheep. If everyone does the same thing, what’s the point? BUT, not everyone does the same thing. Take athletes for example. Basketball players, football players, track athletes, soccer studs, and the like. These guys may train and use some of the modalities I mentioned above, but that’s not their foundation of their training. The foundation of their training starts with one thing: movement. Being able to move, in the right way, at the right time, with the correct amount of force, speed, and timing makes them much better than you and I physically. Of course they have a higher risk of injury, but that’s usually during the performance part of their sport, and not TRAINING. Here’s where they differ. They may do crossfit, and hot yoga and other stuff from time to time, and who knows, maybe it’s doing them some good. But what they focus on first and foremost, is technique. The art of moving, and moving well is what allows these guys to be elite athletes, and smoke us in any sort of well rounded fitness competition. The point of it is to work and get better at something.
It’s so funny how we take this (exercise) for granted, and assume we can just do things like squat with a bar placed behind our backs, or a kettlebell swing, without learning and executing perfect technique. We don’t learn an instrument half assed then butcher it, and try to learn more complex scenarios with that same instrument. But we do this with exercise. We might have no good foundation of the kettlebell swing, or the squat or even a plank, yet we try to make them harder and put more difficulty on a move we haven’t perfected. Our minds have become so ingrained with the “bigger, faster, harder, all out” mentality, we’ve forgotten a step or two in the process. This is why I say “Sheep” in terms of working out. If you’ve succumbed to that notion where you need a heavier weight, or you sacrifice form for repetitions, you are in fact, a sheep. You may not be doing it intentionally, but you may be doing it all the same, because that’s what everyone is doing. You see it in group workouts all the time. People trying to keep up with other people, or looking around at what other weights are being used, and then basing your individual workout on someone else’s. Makes no sense. Well, it makes sense to a point if you don’t know what weight to use, you can use someone else as a gauge, but that’s another story for another time. Anyway. This ends up being another “leave your ego at the door” speech, but don’t we continually need that?
The people who move the best and look the best, don’t line themselves up with the masses. They do the things the masses won’t do, and GET BETTER at those things. They don’t move up weight until their body is ready, and they really reap the benefits of that patience. In this world we live in of “how many calories did you burn”, if you take a step back, focus on movement first, and perfecting it, your calories will take care of themselves. I hate to say it, but those cool devices we wear on our wrists have made us into one of the worst “active sheep communities” around. I think I’d rather train like that athlete, and get better. Our workouts should be PRACTICE. You may never see a “performance” but you shouldn’t treat your workouts like one, regardless.