Trusting your body and powerful exercise
I am a neuro-muscular therapist. Helping athletes and movers transition from pain and tightness to fluid and agile motion is my job. One of the common themes amongst my clients and their process is learning how to trust their body (again).
Trust me, I know you’ve given it rest and done all of your PT homework. That you’ve thought about all the things that have gone wrong along the way.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not the end of the road once you’ve done all these things.
When I get triggered by the wrongdoings of others, myself or the unwarranted confidence of the fitness industry, I remind myself ‘you/I/they/we/collective doesn’t know what they don’t know’. This then encourages me to think about learning and systems because knowing more about movement is inherent to feelings about the body and inseparable from the process of self transformation with exercise.
I’ve discovered so many fascinating details about how the body works by thinking in systems. I believe that sharing these details,( literally biology, physiology, and the how of learning,) that we can create an amazing learning experience that can also result in strengthening the body, the process and what was lost due to a previous injury.
3 principles for trusting yourself more before enjoying the progress to fluid and powerful exercise:
- Your brain constructs pain and this knowledge can change your body.
- Each and every movement and exercise has a learning curve. There’s no need to rush or develop a perfection complex.
- Each and every day you have a new body to work with.
Your brain constructs pain, that’s not well known knowledge but it changes everything. It’s valuable to know this if you feel a lot of internal resistance for or during exercise. Recently there are findings related to our biology, what nurtures us, and our psychology that explain that pain is actually made in the brain and doesn’t always correlate to injured tissue or joints. In the community of Pain Science, it is accepted that injuries can co-exist underneath the skin with pain free movement.
On the exercise continuum this can impact the intention, our feelings, our outlook, measuring our success- I believe it has the potential to change everything about your exercise! Imagine that this lesson will teach you the difference between bad twinges, feedback from your body and know when to take action or exercise through it?
Each and every movement and exercise has a learning curve. I’m the last person that should be telling anyone to be patient, that’s not what this is about. Just like you can’t learn Russian in 3 hours, you can’t learn and perform a multi-joint exercise or skill (like shooting a basketball) in 3 hours. This is about smart and measurable action. You can only measure and work on one thing at a time, as long as you are doing it safely- drop the anxiety about executing every rep perfectly. I’ve come full circle on this idea. I used to be that ‘everything has to be perfect’ trainer. (Capricorn south node!). The notion that perfect repetitions is the only way to learn an exercise properly is really not true.
“Each and every day you have a new body to work with” Dr Stephanie Johnson, DC. Approach each day with mindfulness. This speaks for itself if you’re a yogi, but biology can help us wrap our heads around it without meditating 3000 hours.
What a refreshing idea, but I find this quote to be almost too optimistic. Then I thought about how much our daily habits and environment can impact our physiology. From how water intake influences so much of our chemistry to the fact that our gut lining is brand new every 3 days made me think about all the possibilities if small action steps are taken and honored each and every new day.
Your body is constantly in motion underneath the surface. It’s truly amazing. Learning this is one of the keys to self-authoring your fitness and truly thriving.
Credit to the people helping me grow and write these reflections to the collective: GG, SJ, JD, PJ
Do you want to update your definition of pain? Check out these episodes: