What if the real reason we needed accountability wasn't because we're lazy, or unmotivated?
What if it was because we didn't care enough about the goal in the first place?
What are your thoughts on this? Share in the Art of True Strength Facebook group.
If you've ever tried to motivate your way to getting in shape, or reaching your goals, you've probably found it's a losing battle.
In this podcast I talk about why motivation doesn't work, and the three key ingredients you really need to build an unstoppable body.
You have big things you want to do in the world. Make sure you have the energy, the strength and the confidence in your body you need to back it up.
Book a call and let's get you at 100%
Why is ground movement so beneficial for your body?
Well, it's quite literally the foundation (pun intended) of mobility and strength. The more easily you can move on the ground, and get up and down from the ground, the more likely you are to ward off injury and keep your joints strong and healthy.
One study asked a group of 50-80 years old to get up and down from the ground without using their hands. How well they performed turned out to be a good indicator of how soon they would die.
Moving on the ground is a great way to make sure you stay healthy as you age, but also to simply be more competent in your body.
Body competence and physical literacy helps build self-esteem and confidence. There's no better feeling than knowing you can move with autonomy through life.
Try this simple ground routine for 10-15 minutes every morning and for a week and see how your body feels.
In the last post I talked about the importance of needing a bridge. Something to help you go from gym "captivity" and sedentary living to your natural, robust, body that's lying dormant in your DNA.
But how do you get there?
There are so many movements you could focus on after all...
But what if there was ONE movement, that if you mastered would help you with literally everything else? What if there was a movement that gave you the most bang-for-your-buck to help give you a starting place and cut through the overwhelm?
That my friends, in my humble opinion, is the deep, flat-footed squat.
Here's why this movement is so powerful:
The best way to get started with natural movement in my opinion, is with working on and mastering the squat. Now I'm not talking about busting out reps of "air squats" or "box squats" or whatever other versions you might have learned from the traditional fitness context.
I'm talking about the flat-footed, ass-to-grass, deep squat. Both resting and moving in this position.
Why is this such an important movement and why do I recommend it if you're wanting to get back into natural movement?
Perhaps most important though, out of all the natural movement practices you could be doing like climbing, throwing, running, parkouring, grappling, dancing, etc. it gives you a simple, easy place to start.
But if you're anything like I was, this position feels anything but comfortable. Maybe you fall over, your shins burn, your ankles, calves, or back is screaming.
Whatever your particular challenge is, I get it. I get it because I was there too.
I struggled and beat my head against the wall with the squat. People told me to just "do it more" but that didn't help very much.
If you're looking for a routine you can do anywhere, anytime to help with your mobility, check out my free routine.
I was like Morgan Freeman's character in the Shawshank Redemption. Newly released from the "captivity" of the Globo Gym model of fitness, and completely bewildered of what to do with my freedom.
Natural, uncaged movement appealed to me on a deeply primal level. It stirred something in my belly that I couldn't put my finger on. I just knew that moving in an uncaged way was what I was craving, perhaps yearning for my whole life.
But there was one giant problem: I had no idea where to start.
So, I'd go outside and do gym-like things outside. Squats, lunges, pushups, planks. Sets and reps. Counting, measuring, controlling. I was getting better, right?
Fast forward nine years and I've learned that natural movement is much more than just busting out sets of bodyweight exercises outside. It's bio-region specific. It's about accomplishing tasks. It's about moving in a community.
Most of all, it's about reconnecting to and deepening your relationship with the wildness within and all around you.
You know, playing, exploring, actually gasp touching things. And god forbid, taking off your shoes.
But if you're struggling to make the transition from gym rat to an uncaged, primally awakened human, perhaps you need a bridge, a path to help you on your transition out of captivity that helps you adjust to this world of freedom-based movement.
Afterall, let's be honest, shy of living in the woods (which most of won't do) with natural movement we're attempting to artificially recreate our original movement lifestyle, in a kind of artificial way.
Yes, learning to forage, garden, hunt, explore, climb and roughhouse can and should be integrated into your life as much as possible.
Learning to integrate movement and insource more work of living into your life is super important. But what do you do in the meantime? And how do you help rehab your body from years of sitting and misalignment?
While I think a holistic, well-rounded variety of movements you're exposed to is ideal, it's helpful to have a starting point.
I believe there is such a movement.
If you're interested in hearing more... stay tuned for the next post.
This is the swiss army knife of any tension in the back of the leg, from the achilles to calves to hamstrings.
If you struggle with the downward dog, forward fold, back rounding in the deadlift, or any position that involves bending at the hips, this is going to be absolute 💵💵💵 for you.
If you got some value out of this I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts, and most importantly to see you USE this, so I can give you a shoutout and brag about your results.
Let me know in the comments on the video if you got any "ahas" from this one.
If you're stiff as hell, even though you're stretching, or you just want to cure tension at the root, this video is for you.
I guarantee you probably haven't heard 90% of this stuff before. It's the missing link most people aren't getting and the reason they're struggling with chronic tension.
Watch the whole thing, and leave a comment on the video to let me know which tip gave you the biggest "aha" moment. I'll give one person a free membership to Primal Body Reboot ($95 value).
Here are the six keys to getting more flexible that don't involve stretching:
Leave a comment on the video and let me know. I'll randomly select one person to win a free membership to my six week mobility course, Primal Body Reboot.
It was my third chiropractic visit and the seventh person I had seen that year to try to fix my shoulder (not to mention nagging issues with my neck and hip).
"It's probably just like that," he said. "You might as well get used to it."
I had been dealing with a reality of a stiff, cranky shoulder for what seemed like forever. Despite endless massages, exercises and adjustments, nothing seemed to result in any lasting change.
"So, is there anything I can do to fix it?" I asked, trying to hide my obvious irritation. This wasn't the first time I heard someone tell me this depressing news.
"Well, you can try some stretches, but this is kind of what happens as you get older."
I got sent home with a handful of exercises and the advice to take it easy and stop expecting so much from my body.
You'd expect that I'd be defeated. But I was pissed.
I just wanted to work with someone that hadn't also given up on their body. I wanted to feel like I was not just another appointment, another hopeless case on their calendar.
Call it naive, but after going to physical therapist to chiropractor to massage therapist, I wanted to find someone that would take on my case with a serious desire to help me heal permanently.
I wanted someone to get invested in my healing.
I thought someone would go beyond trying to fix me and rush me out the door. I wanted a holistic treatment plan. I wanted to be asked what exercises I was doing, be told what to do and what not to do, how to fix my posture, and generally look at my whole lifestyle to fix anything aggravating the problem.
I didn't understand at the time that even if someone wanted to do this, the system they were in prevented them from going deep enough with people to heal chronic issues.
There's only so much you can do in an hour a week. The system is designed to treat people and get them out the door, which isn't very useful for chronic, long-term issues that involve a complex set of emotional, physical, lifestyle, social, and dietary factors.
So I would wander from one person to the next, seeking help, not realizing I was fighting a losing battle.
What's funny is people would recommend I see them in two weeks, which I thought was not enough at all, and I would ask if money wasn't an object (I was willing to spend thousands of dollars to heal myself), how many times should I see you?
I wanted to give people more money and often their own limiting beliefs about money, their value, or unrealistic ideas about how much effort healing required prevented them from giving me a treatment plan that would get me results.
It took me seeing over two dozen people to realize that it was the system that was broken, not them.
But I was on a mission to heal and feel capable of anything. I wouldn't accept defeat.
So, I stopped blaming them and realized...
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn is that no one has the energy, time or ability to care about you and your situation as much as you do.
Sure, they can treat you, they can care, and sometimes those things will help, but no one can be in your body. No one can tell you how to move, how to sit, or how to train. No physical therapist or chiropractor can be there when you get excited about climbing or hiking or running and tell you you're not ready for that yet.
They can't be there to analyze your gait pattern, what you're eating, and the thoughts you're having about whether it's hopeless for you or not.
I'm not suggesting that finding help isn't important, surely it is. But at the end of the day, you have to be the one 100% responsible for your own journey.
And sometimes, even people with the best intentions will spread toxic messages. They'll project their own feelings of shame and disappointment that they haven't taken full responsibility for their health and blame it on aging, or it being "just the way it is."
No matter how much you want someone to do the work for you, to give you the plan that solves all your problems, I'm sorry to tell you... it's just not going to happen.
You have to be 100% responsible for your own body.
We all know modern life isn't doing us any favors. In fact, I would say that most people's jobs and lifestyles are violently damaging their bodies on a daily basis.
No yoga class or three times a week boot camp is going to fix that.
It's up to you to change the patterns, get a new job, create a better environment, fix your posture, change your mindset, eat better, and upgrade your social support.
Taking control of your habits, learning how to be a good caretaker for your body, nourishing yourself with healthy movement—all of this takes a lot of work.
Someone told me the other day, "Jonathan, it would drive me crazy to set a timer to remind myself to move."
True, but what is the cost of not moving in the long run? It's only everything.
Most people choose to ignore the tension and pain or delude themselves into thinking their shitty gym routine is enough to make up for the daily violence they're waging on their bodies.
Delusion is never a good long-term strategy.
It would be much easier for me to sell you a 30-minute workout, or tell you that these five stretches will solve all your problems.
But personally, I'd rather give you the recipe, not the result. I'd rather show you how to be in charge of your own physical autonomy rather than giving it away to a trainer, coach, or someone that can never really take 100% responsibility for your health.
If you want to solve the problem at the root, you need three things:
This is what I teach in the Primal Body Reboot.
It's opening at the end of this month and I hope you'll join me in reclaiming your physical freedom.
There's nothing for sale right now, but you can get a free lesson and a sweet discount when it opens.
Get a free lesson to move better instantly
Being a person longer obsessed with self-development and productivity, I've long known that habits are the key to success.
Consistency, not perfection is what separates high performers from the pack.
If you've read at all about habits, you know there are a few key elements to building them:
Trigger > Routine > Reward
The reward can either be intrinsic, like a feeling of pride or a rush of endorphins after a run. Or external like a smoothie or cup of butter coffee (my favorite) after a training session.
There are a lot of ways to increase your chances of success with a habit. Using a habit tracker, getting accountability and making your goal small to start with are a few of the common recommendations.
But if you're anything like me, you've probably tried a lot of these things. You've made big goals and struggled to achieve them (New Years, anyone?) not because of a lack of good intention, but because of a failure to implement a system.
I've found the weakest link in the chain is usually the strength of the trigger.
Let's look at a common example, trying to jog every day before work. Let's say I decide that my trigger to run is my morning shower. I take my shower, then I put on my shoes (and clothes, hopefully) and go head out the door.
Great idea. But what if I don't remember that my shower is my trigger? What if I forget?
You can try to combat this by setting a reminder on your phone, but we all know how easy it is to ignore an alarm amidst the other million notifications. It's not a great idea to rely on being reminded in a place that is a vortex of distraction.
I mean, how many times have you looked at your phone meaning to do something, and found yourself in Instagram or email trying to remember what exactly you were intending to do in the first place?
My point exactly.
The bottom line is this: the most important first part of creating a new habit isn't willpower or discipline, it's remembering to do the habit.
The technique that I want to share with you is called the visual trigger technique. I've used it to build my coaching business, exercise more regularly, and create deeper relationships.
Watch this video to see how I use this technique:
A visual trigger is something that's in your physical space you interact with every day. Ideally, it's something very visually loud and hard to ignore.
The more visceral it is, the better. It's something you want to be physically interacting with.
One of my current goals is to build more meaningful relationships. I know that doing a better job of keeping in touch with my friends, family and peers will have a huge impact on my quality of life and the success of my work.
So, I put two jars on my desk. One is filled with rocks, the other is empty. Each rock represents a connection, whether that be an email, phone call or voice message. Every time I make a connection, I move one rock to the other jar. My goal is 30 connections a month, or one a day. At the end of the month, I want to have all the rocks moved from one jar to the other.
The rocks for you could represent 30 minutes of movement or submitting a resume. Whatever your goal is, you decide what each rock represents.
The purpose is to choose an action you can control. You can't control the outcome, but you can control how many rocks you move each day.
Move enough of them, and success is pretty much inevitable.
Note: This is a technique I adapted from James Clear's paper clip strategy.
If you're a coach or some kind of service provider, you know that following up with leads and serving your clients is critical to your business. But it can be easy to forget to forget to check in if you don't have a system for tracking potential clients.
I solved this problem with the visual trigger technique. Each client and potential client gets a sticky note with their name, primary concern, and the last date I contacted them.
It's right above my desk and in constant view so I can't ignore it.
Every day I touch each one and look at the last date I followed up. I never let a client or potential client go more than a few days without me following up to check in and add value.
Since doing this, I have no problem filling up my client roster.
The sticky note approach isn't limited to building your business though. You could create a note for each workout you do, and the date of the last time you did it. You might have another note reminding you why it's important for you to follow through, and even another with a reminder what to do if things get tough like "do your best" or "text my coach."
No coach? I can help with that. 🙂
It literally takes 5-10 minutes to get the sticky notes, or jars of rocks set up. Don't make it complicated, just decide what your goal is, and how you're going to track it.
If you want to really bulletproof your odds, use this with some kind of accountability. Tell someone you're going to do this, so they can follow up with you.
Your future self will thank you.
Get a free mobility lesson you can do anywhere when you join the waitlist for my course, the Primal Body Reboot.
You'll learn how to create functional strength and flexibility with simple ground-based movements. No equipment necessary.
Your body never evolved for the modern lifestyle. In reality, as far as your body's concerned, it still thinks you're hunting and gathering.
But since most of us aren't going back to that lifeway anytime soon, the best we can do is break up our day with more movement.
These are the primal patterns I start all of my coaching clients with because they give you the most bang for your buck.
Try doing this routine to break up periods of sitting, or as a start or end to your day:
Repeating this cycle 3-4 times, focusing on exploration and being curious about your body will produce profound effects.
Give it a try, and share this if you think more people could benefit from primal patterns.
Check out my course, the Primal Body Reboot for a six-week guided process to reclaiming your naturally flexible, strong body.