Why Better Movement will Change your Life

6 min read.

I used to hate my job.


I used to hate it so much that I went through spells of sitting up to 3am trying to drink as much booze as possible so I’d hopefully still be drunk when I had to wake up and go to work...


It wasn’t fun.


But one day, I found martial arts and weightlifting (which eventually led to coaching) and suddenly I had passion for something: I wanted to get better at kicking, punching, lift more weight, be fitter, be healthier. I wanted to be one of the people I was watching while thinking, “I wish I could do that”.

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Though, eventually, the novelty started to wear off. I’d gained strength and now had a ton of skills that so many people would love to have.... but really, deep down, I felt like I hadn’t changed at all. I started getting hurt all the time, all my training caused me to need time off or just stop me from doing what I wanted due to pain and niggles. My enthusiasm was waning, and training started to feel like I was just going through the motions.

 
After many years of working with people and listening to opinions of how people are “supposed” to train I realise that point where I felt lost is the exact moment that I started to ask myself: what was the point?

 
No, seriously, why was anyone doing what they were doing?


Everyone’s chasing weight numbers, how fast they can be, how big they can get, how many reps they can do… but for most people, that chase leads to burnout. I’ve lost count of the amount of people I’ve met that LIVED for some form of training or sport, it was all they ever wanted to do! Then just one day, they had enough. They snapped, stopped everything, and went full couch potato, it’s so crazy to see.


At that time, I felt like I was at that tipping point, close to packing it. But fast forwards a few years later and I feel happier than I ever have in my life. I move freely without any pain, I deem myself as strong by my own definition, can do all kinds of crazy things confidently, I teach seminars and have online products that teach others all around the world how to feel the same way - so what changed?


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I started focusing on moving better.
Not training more, moving better!

 
Rather than all that “traditional” strength stuff (which is just basic progressive loading over time, getting better at the same movements) I focused on building my hips to cope with the multiple directions they’re designed to move in but that traditional training neglects. I made shoulder stability from all angles a “goal”. I challenged my core strength in as many good and “bad” positions as I could. I investigated just how strong I could make my feet, knees and wrists - even in weird positions that are commonly deemed “dangerous”.

 
My new goal was to make myself harder to break (harder to kill would sound cooler though...).

 
At one point, I was forced to learn how to move better following a bad back/spinal injury. I became hyper aware of how connected the body is through my pain. In order to be able to walk I needed to do a routine that I started at 5am and continued until I had to leave for the gym.


As I started to get rid of my own pain, I realised I was teaching myself how to command my body and not the other way around. As the pain went away, I was gaining control – I no longer felt trapped in my body.

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Even before my back injury (and I’m sure many of you feel like this too) on a normal day I’d wake up stiff, inflexible and just didn’t feel strong. I hated it. If you feel stiff and sore all the time, you just can’t be a happy person. But noticing how much of a change I was able to make in an extreme circumstance, I wondered how far I could take it to keep improving my “normal”.


So, I kept the morning habit, using the same movements I used to get rid of my pain. Without the distraction of my injury anymore, I started to realise why they worked so well to improve your body’s overall condition. After YEARS of trying everything under the sun I was, finally, improving my flexibility. I was starting to believe I had strength, like, real strength. As the months went on, I felt better and better until I was able to do movements that I never thought I’d be able to because I always told myself “I am not flexible”.
 

I am very sceptical person, so I wanted to test my newfound lease on life, just in case the only reason I felt better was that I wasn’t lifting heavy at that time. Crazily, without having to put much effort in, I was able to hit numbers bigger than ever before - and I wasn’t feeling completely banged up afterwards! All my bodyweight movements were better, I was even able to make serious handstand gains just because every muscle and joint in my body worked and moved better, and for the first time I was in complete control without my body limiting my ranges.


It turned out feeling stronger literally made me stronger!


Shifting my focus to moving better rather than playing a numbers game has had such a positive impact on my life, and I notice it with everyone that I teach: when you physically feel better you’re more able to cope with anything, walk with confidence, can become more focused and are able to achieve anything you set your mind to because you realise there are no limits to what you can do when you have control of your body.


If you move better, you will feel better – no constant aches or pains, no conscious wariness of certain body parts, absolutely no part of your thoughts is taken up worrying or being uncomfortable. When you don’t feel stiff and sore all the time you're just a happier person.

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I used to have to do lengthy warmups and relentlessly foam roll to be able to cope with training in the gym, now I rarely do a big warm up before a heavy session because I have good movement habits and scan my body regularly. I know when something feels funny and I’m able to deal with it before it turns in to anything serious. I define this as having REAL physical freedom.


Ironically, it wasn’t mercilessly training that improved my strength, but instead taking a step back and focusing on building a better body.


You should aim to be happy with whatever it is that interests you and not resign yourself in to thinking that getting stiff/injured/achy is just a part of life… or worse, just a part of getting older.

Don’t live by societies expectations. Get curious with your body. Look after it as if it was a prized possession, because it really should be treated that way. Do more of what you love and get better at it through time. Strength is a perspective and if you FEEL strong, you ARE strong.
 
Keep it simple.

If you want to start getting control of your body, then I highly recommend starting with The Simplistic Mobility Method.

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