Monday, March 09, 2009

Is Five Minutes a Day Really Enough?

The current promotion in the fitness industry (personal training) is the pronouncement that a full hour three times a week is what is required to receive the full benefits of their instruction -- on a longterm contract of at least six months -- and of course, if you can endure such a rigorous training workload over that time span, one will be tremendously fit, and if not, one needs to work harder and do even more -- much to the horror of their already exhausted client.

Such workloads might be appropriate for an athlete peaking for well-planned and well-spaced all-out efforts, but would be exhausting and ruinous otherwise -- because with every maximum all-out effort, comes the risk of injury, depletion, and focus diminished over too great a time. A world class effort lasts less than a second -- for virtually every event. And that is what their whole training program attempts to accomplish and summarize. It doesn’t matter how many sub optimal attempts they are capable of; all that does, is a singular best -- even if they never duplicate it again.

That is peculiarly the focus of an “amateur” athlete, while the “professional” is capable of maintaining a notably high level of proficiency on a daily basis. But even for such professionals, there is a yearning and desire to peak at their best -- and what sustains their interest enough so that they might.

Those who study human behavior and motivation call that the “peak experience,” also known as the flow, or oneness. At such moments, everything is focused as though that was the only thing that mattered in the world, and it is such matterings, that are the joys of every life. It may not matter to anybody else, but it matters to you, and that is all that matters.

If one could achieve that state of achievement and grace every day, that sense of completeness, serenity, peak, flow, oneness -- then life for that individual would be a renewing source of refreshment, rejuvenation, re-creation, each day, beginning each day. Then having attained that, how bad can one’s day go? The ultimate strategy in the game of life, would be to achieve one’s victories (exhilarations) as soon as possible and that will be one’s base level of experiencing subsequently everything else.

Such a program of conditioning would be tremendously reinforcing -- rather than the negation of all one’s efforts and being otherwise -- if one cannot complete one final exhaustion on top of everything else. And in fact, one will understandably be too exhausted even to make those attempts and so those glorious plans for dedicated marathons every other day, are quickly abandoned -- as what one knows they ought to do, but have really no intention of doing it if they can avoid it.

Time and energy is too precious to waste it exercising to get into shape. All that one has, all that one is, should be sufficient, and so the effective conditioning program must necessarily be as brief and noninvasive as possible -- yet conducted on a greatly enriched level of understanding beyond simply obeying the instructions of another.

That is the essential failing of such programs directed by others. The most beneficial conditioning program for anyone, would be the highest understanding of themselves, discovered by themselves -- and not these misguided generalizations and conjectures of how everybody ought to be. That is totally meaningless, erroneous and counterproductive to any mature actualization of any individual wanting to achieve their best -- the ability to peak.


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