• Aram Tayebi

Be water: The philosophy of no philosophy

“Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now, you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle… water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” Bruce Lee

I often tell my prospective clients that my training philosophy is that I have no training philosophy. More accurately, I have no singular training philosophy. To many of my friends this may sound surprising as it looks like I am fence sitting… I do not fence sit!

My exercise philosophy is born from recognising the complexity of the words, “fitness” and “health”.

One of the very first questions I was asked during my study was, “what does fitness/health mean?

Of these two words, “health”, appears less controversial with most people accepting the World Health Organisation’s definition. “Fitness” is another thing entirely.

Who is “fitter”, a marathon runner or an Olympic gymnast? An Olympic swimmer or a professional Cricketer? A cross country skier or a power lifter? Hint: None of the above

With in-depth analysis you begin to realise that “fitness” means something different from person to person. To be clear, I am not saying that there are no objective facts that surround the areas of fitness. For example, higher Vo2max positively correlates with longer life expectancy or Lactic threshold training positively correlates to increased marathon running speed. Facts that pertain to exercises/fitness exist.

What I am saying specifically is, what each individual means by the word “fitness” differs across individuals.

Using myself as an example, I have spent most of my adult life playing professional and semi-professional football, therefore, my conceptual framework around fitness is geared towards maximising athletic performance in the domain of football. The manifestation of this framework is then embodied in my training program. This embodiment has materialised in my disproportionate leg strength when compared to my upper body.

A football player needs stronger legs than they do arms… A professional boxer would manifest the opposite levels of strength. Again, who would be “fitter”? See above.

This is why as a fitness professional I maintain that my philosophy is that I have no singular philosophy. In other words, I do not have one solution for all my client’s needs. Some clients want to get stronger; some want to get leaner; some want to run faster, how could I possibly have 1 training method that helps my clients accomplish these vastly different goals? Not only that, people are temperamentally different. How could I motivate vastly different people using the same motivational strategy?

My job is to remain fluid and educated across the different areas that pertain to fitness and motivation in order to change and adapt with the needs of my clients so that I can best help them achieve their goals...

Be water my friends!

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