Saw William F. Nolan at the paperback book fair yesterday. He’s 89 years old, still sharp, still writing, still hitting the gym every day. He made an interesting comment about “diets”: “diets are bullshit,” he said. “Just eat right, and work out every day. That’s all you need.” That might be too simple, but its pretty close to true. I was doing joint mobility drills in between the autographs, circling my fingers and wrists. “What’s wrong?” one of the assistants asked. “Just keeping things loose,” I said.
“Oh. Do you have an immune system problem?”
He seemed confused. And I realized what the problem was. Most people aren’t honest with themselves about the fact that they need physical discipline, on a daily level. Their ancestors had to exert themselves to earn food, and if they lost physical efficiency they got less food. Very direct feed-back, which society has broken. So they ignore their bodies, ignore the little signals that something is wrong, tell themselves they haven’t the time or resources or motivation to work out until something goes very wrong. Then, suddenly, they discover the time (odd how that works. Hmmm…where was it hiding?) and work out enough to prevent or alleviate the pain. Hopefully.
But…what would have happened if instead of relieving the pain, instead of working out from fear of falling apart, they had exercised for joy of motion, for love of developing vitality and even some happy skill. To be able to dance or climb or run or play in some way that puts a smile on your face rather than just avoiding a frown.
Love, rather than fear.
I want to start speaking about the “Zero Net Time” system I’ve been experimenting with. It is designed to cover all basic aspects of fitness with, as the name implies, a “Zero Net Time” investment–if you follow the program you GAIN time rather than “lose” it. Yeah, I know that sounds strange, but you’ll see.
I want to give it all away. Eventually, I’ll take these notes and collect them, and sell them over on Clickbank, but you guys are my family. So…
First, a piece I got from Coach Scott Sonnon. Several of these pieces came from him, and I want to be clear about that. The man is brilliant. It is the “Three dimensional performance pyramid”–the structure of high performance. Each level builds on the level previous.
I’ve modified it a bit. The foundation is EMOTIONAL HEALTH. A belief in self, a love of life, a sense that your days have potential and possibility. If you have enough EMOTIONAL JUICE, and a clear vision of WHAT you want and WHY you want it, you are half way there. HEARTBEAT MEDITATION, JOURNALING, DREAM DIARIES, ANCIENT CHILD, and other forms of meditation and inner work are great for this.
The next step is PHYSICAL HEALTH. This isn’t “fitness” per se. It is how you feel and function. Not just lack of illness but vibrancy, energy, sex drive, the sense of sleeping soundly, waking up ready to go, and having all the energy you need to work hard all week and party on the weekend. Resistance to stress. JOINT MOBILITY and THE MORNING RITUAL will take care of these first two levels. If you look at the “BE BREATHED” exercise, you get to cover this and emotional health at the same time. More on this later.
Next comes PHYSICAL FITNESS. Note: the first two levels are far more important. But this is also great fun, and gives you an “edge”, and is critical if you want to enjoy any sport or physical activity. This is “how high, how fast, how far, how heavy.” Not just how you feel, but how you perform. The best overall tools in terms of “bang for your buck” are probably various bodyweight exercises and Kettlebells. THE FIVE TIBETANS and KETTLEBELLS cover this level and the previous.
Next comes SKILL. Refinement of some activity you are interested in, something that gets your juices pumping. This is neurological, assuming that you’ve developed the physical foundation.
Then finally PERFORMANCE and COMPETITION. And this is where ‘weekend athletes” get into trouble. They don’t prepare themselves, don’t have health or fitness or refine their skills, but go out on the slopes or the court and compete with their own self-image or kids half their age…and rip their bodies apart.
More on this later. But there you have it, the things you need to have a wonderful life on the physical level: Emotional health, physical vibrancy, fitness, skill, and then and ONLY then…performance and competition. That is the syntax. Anything other than that will tear you apart.
So…how to begin? I’d say with the minimum investment of your time and energy. That would mean a little meditation and your joint mobility drills. Heartbeat Meditation is my favorite–it is the most powerful “safe” meditation and the safest “powerful” meditation. Simply sit and listen/feel your heartbeat for 10-20 minutes a day. MINIMUM INVESTMENT? Five times a day for 60 seconds, listen/feel your heartbeat. Once every three hours.
Next, Joint Mobility. Wake up, put on some fun music (preferably something slow and sexy) and work your way through your joints. Because every tendon, ligament and voluntary muscle is connected to a joint, in just 3 minutes you can work through the entire body. Wake yourself up. Scott Sonnon Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 1
That’s all for today. I have to lay a foundation, and then show you how to optimize it. You have enough to get started. If you’re REALLY smart, you’ll figure out a way to combine these first two, to get an amazing effect in just five minutes a day.
And…you are smart, right? Right?
(Here’s an audio version of this first day’s exploration: