Hand on heart: When you look around society, what do you see?
First of all, hopefully a lot of positive things. Innovations and developments that previous generations would not even have dared to dream of. We have incredibly easy access to education, food, medical care and a huge range of leisure activities. One can and should be grateful for this.
But it is also important to relentlessly disclose problems and look for better alternatives. After all, that’s what got society this far in the first place.
In addition to many positive developments , I personally also see destructive developments.
I see people who let themselves be showered by the television, instead of reading a good book, questioning them and developing their own thoughts and beliefs.
People who burden their bodies with junk food and indolence.
People who go to the doctor every month in order to have the symptoms of avoidable ailments alleviated at least for a short time, instead of becoming active themselves and tackling the weakness at the root.
People who are primarily concerned with looking good in the shop window of society, instead of fulfilling the beautiful appearance with inner strength, health, fitness and personality.
I see grown men, in everyday life as well as on the big stage of world events (politicians, business leaders and celebrities) who are hysterical and sensitive like 10-year-old school girls – and probably also have the same testosterone level.
I see soft hands, blocked spine, men with narrow shoulders and wide hips and women with recurring back problems and headaches.
I see unnecessary lethargy, illness and weakness.
How about you? Have you noticed one or more of these signs of a misguided social development – maybe even in yourself?
In the last few years I have seen more and more people who have had enough of it. Who want to leave the hamster wheel. Who want to go back to their human roots and finally want to lead a truly fulfilling life. Those who have had enough of being swept up by the flood of information, submitting to social dogmas and bypassing themselves.
People who finally want to realize their own potential, who want to learn and grow physically and mentally, who want to experience the intensity and want to realize dreams.
If you are one of them, you can look forward to the fact that a new book from me will be published on December 17th, 2017. “Badass Challenge – Unleash your potential” shows you the way to overcome lethargy and indolence, to steel your body and to use its potential. A truly powerful, decisive and fulfilling change of perspective that will rekindle your passion for fitness and exercise and decouple it from purely superficial, external goals.
But until then, I would like to find out with you what exactly has gone wrong so far and what we are missing.
My thesis is the following: Many people lack contact with their own nature. The feeling of being human.
What was originally designed to cover long distances, climb, run, walk, crawl, crawl, sneak, jump, hunt, collect, discover and fight now becomes eight to ten Squeezed into an office chair for hours every day and dulled with fast food, excessive consumption and senseless television.
Our society has evolved in a direction in which the wild, curious, adventurous, active side of being human is tamed and repressed. Although we have more options today than ever before, we sometimes feel constrained to trapped and just plain bored.
Ultimately, of course, everyone has to find their own way. But you can very well be inspired by this. When we talk about overcoming nothingness and living more in harmony with human nature, we should be inspired by those who do just that: by children.
You are even closer to the source of being human. You can learn a lot about human nature from them and in this context it is also advisable to review your own childhood and think about what you might still be missing today.
At least for me it is clear that we are no longer using our bodies as we should. That we no longer see food for what it actually is. That our perspective on sport, exercise, fitness and nutrition has been severely distorted by misguided ideals.
Let me give you a few examples and you can then judge which of them applies to you, what you lack, what is important or perhaps also unimportant to you.
When was the last time you got your hands dirty?
A sign that we move too little and too one-sided – we don’t get our hands dirty anymore. But that just happens when you go out and move, when you play or fight or hunt, as it would be natural. A more modern form would be practicing a handstand or animal movements, for example. The hands need ground contact – every day if possible.
When was the last time you climbed a tree?
Isn’t it crazy that we descended from monkeys but today hardly anyone is able to climb properly? Not just physically, but also mentally.
It’s too dangerous, we tell our children – and it stirs up fears. Every move involves risk. But isn’t it a greater risk not to move at all, to move too little or to move too one-sidedly? To let fears dominate your life from an early age?
When was the last time you went on a hike?
It can be assumed that our ancestors, whose genes we carry, had to walk long distances every day to find food. How far are we today From the front door to the car and from the car to the gas pump?
The most natural movement, which is damn important for the spine and immune system, is neglected and then usually takes place in unnatural, air-polluted environments. Do we not lose contact with both human nature and with nature itself?
When was the last time you had dirty feet?
We lock our feet up all day. We force them into unnatural, tight shoes with split heels and pay for it with a weak, sensitive sole, with deformed toes (usually the little toe here) and flat feet.
But your feet want to breathe, they want to be free! Or doesn’t it feel good for you when you take off your shoes and socks in the evening and free your feet?
There are many pressure receptors that give the brain feedback about our position and orientation. This is known in technical terms as proprioception – a crucial mechanism for our locomotion. If he is hindered by heavily cushioned footwear, the quality of movement suffers and the risk of injury increases.
When was the last time you moved without a purpose or goal?
Nowadays we move almost exclusively for a specific purpose. We move to go shopping. We train to lose weight or to build muscle. But exercise can also be an end in itself. Children move without an external goal – but simply because they enjoy it. In this way you develop your body, develop your brain, connect body and mind, strengthen both and also keep both healthy.
By the way: I myself have had the experience, for example, that when I play soccer, when the fitness aspect is a minor matter and the thoughts are fully focused on the game itself, I perform much, much, much more and push myself to my limits than jogging, for example. The playful aspect seems to me to be very valuable in order to pursue fitness out of and with enthusiasm instead of being heavily dependent on external goals.
When was the last time you lifted a heavy weight?
Resistance is the basis for the development of our body. Without gravity, it degenerates in a very short time, as the evaluation of numerous space missions has clearly shown.
If we increase the resistance, we also strengthen the body and all structures of the musculoskeletal system. This applies to the muscles, but also to the tendons, to the joints, to the ligaments and especially to the bones, which become more stable as a result. Training with progressive resistance keeps the body young, strong and robust.
When was the last time you went hunting or gathering?
Since time immemorial, exercise and food have inevitably belonged together. Those who couldn’t get their butts up had to starve to death. Today, of course, that is no longer the case. We can have food delivered or quickly visit a supermarket around the corner – and that’s a good thing! We don’t want to go back to the Stone Age. However, it doesn’t change anything about the fact that that hunting and collecting is in our blood and can therefore still be very satisfying experiences today.
I had this experience myself, for example on vacation in Norway. I loved going to the water in the morning, catching some mackerel, gutting them straight and frying them fresh in the pan. Not only was I physically active and ate a healthy, high-quality meal (natural, fresh foods are unchallenged!), But I also felt really good doing it. It is these experiences in harmony with our nature that can be particularly fulfilling.
You can also go looking for mushrooms, fruits and herbs (always wash off!) and prepare delicious, nutritious meals on them.
When was the last time you really enjoyed food?
Because of the oversupply of food it loses its specialty. We can eat what we want and when we want and usually don’t even know how to appreciate it.
All too often we are distracted while eating, by films, radio, smartphones or computers. You eat on the side “to save time”. Soft pseudo-foods that are low in nutrients and overfilled with flavor enhancers are swallowed almost unchewed. Of all the senses, dulling may have hit the sense of taste hardest.
But the fast food world is upside down if there is no supply. The temporary renunciation of food is like a revelation. If, after many hours of fasting, just biting into a fresh, crunchy apple is a feast for the senses, you may realize what food really is: a means to life. Fuel for the body. Strength for life. The more nutritious and natural, the better.
When was the last time you stood under the rain?
I recently had the pleasure of going on a hike and was shocked to discover that I haven’t had to do it for ages. I can’t even remember it – it was probably more than 10 years ago.
Today, as adults, we plan everything in advance. We plan the day in the morning, look at the weather reports and rain radar, we drive too often in everyday life and are simply hardly able to to be surprised by a husky somewhere in the great outdoors.
Instead of a large, old oak tree as a temporary shelter, we always have an umbrella with us – just in case. We like to play it safe. We have banned spontaneity from our lives, because it is too unpredictable. Is it still a coincidence that we hardly experience variety and adventure anymore? That the days are often like one egg to another?
When was the last time you forgot time and place?
You can have the best experience when you live it to the full. But mostly we are distracted. Keep deadlines in mind in what we do. Think about what else we have to do. That we have to go shopping afterwards. That we also need new pants. That tomorrow’s Inge’s birthday.
Multi-tasking is the keyword of our time. But it is less the case that we do several things at the same time, but that we have several things in mind at the same time. The mind bounces back and forth instead of being focused in the present. That costs a lot of energy, because it makes us work more inefficiently and at the same time we always have the pending resistances and hurdles, the mountain of work still to be overcome, in mind. In this way, all problems flow into our head at the same time, instead of working on them one after the other. Isn’t that a demotivating and exhausting feeling?
When was the last time you lost yourself completely in the present? Have you forgotten where you are and what time it is, just focused on what you were doing? Such experiences can not only fulfill, but also refresh and motivate.
When did you finally leave your cell phone at home?
We want to be available permanently or have the feeling that we have to be available. Why? Because we are afraid of missing out on something in a fast-moving world. No longer swimming in the current. To be excluded.
But constant availability also has its price: We cannot switch off. Can’t focus our thoughts. Are constantly surrounded by distractions. Technology should make our lives easier, enrich our lives. She has the potential to do so. But all too quickly the blessing becomes a curse, makes you dependent and binds instead of liberating – if you don’t know how to use it carefully and moderately.
When was the last time you slept in nature?
Whether a whole night in the tent or just a little nap in the grass on a sunny Sunday afternoon: The natural background noise can have a very relaxing and regenerative effect. In contrast to the noise of the big city, which over time not to be underestimated source of stress.
On the other hand, nature is almost unfamiliar to many. Then once you lie in the grass, you are confronted with all sorts of forgotten impressions. With insects. With blades of grass pricking. With loud chirping crickets. With the hard ground of the facts. For many it is not so easy to fall asleep. If we have reached a point where our natural surroundings seem unfamiliar to us, aren’t we also beginning to become alienated from our own nature?
When was the last time you just relaxed?
Nothing to do and just switch off completely – a horror for many. We want to be busy, because that makes us feel productive and part of society.
In society, switching off and relaxing is all too likely to be confused with lazing around. Who respects someone who pays careful attention to their regeneration and likes to take an afternoon nap when the opportunity exists? No, we celebrate those who tear down 60 or 80 hour weeks, who wear out their bodies and are constantly on the threshold of burnout. Are these really useful role models?
When was the last time you were really grateful for your body?
For many, the body is almost a normal everyday object. As long as it works, you don’t want to waste any thought on it.
But is it actually natural that we can move our neck freely and in all directions? Is the movement potential of arms, shoulders and spine a matter of course? Does it go without saying that we can (at least in theory) do a handstand, pull ourselves up on a bar, lift, bend, pull and push heavy weights? That we can twist, climb, sprint, jump and roll our torso? That we can cover long distances even in very hot weather? That we can play complex instruments like a piano? That we can even stand up straight? That we have a largely pain-free life? That countless problems are resolved by themselves in the shortest possible time? That the body can even adapt to really unnatural and unfavorable living conditions and still enable us to have a good quality of life?
We often only recognize gifts when they are taken from us again.
When the body can no longer compensate for years of neglect and incorrect loading, pain and injuries, perhaps even irreparable restrictions, arise. The same can of course also happen through an accident.
Only then do many people realize how lucky they were when everything was still working. Once the potential for movement is gone, they absolutely want it back, because only then do they understand that none of this can be taken for granted.
When was the last time you were grateful for your body and the potential it gives you?