Fitness For Filmmakers Part I

MattFilmmaking, Lifestyle1 Comment

This is the second in a series I’m doing about fitness for filmmakers. Getting in shape will benefit your business life and your life overall. It’s time to get in shape!

As discussed last time around, whilst we don’t necessarily have to turn ourselves into Arnold Schwarzenegger, getting in shape is one of the very best things you can do for your career and your life.

Like with anything, it’s all about smart and incremental progress towards our goals.

WHY I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU TO WAKE UP AND RUN AT 5AM

Whilst I’m not going to wake you up at 5am like some drill sergent and get you running early morning sprints in your pyjamas, we’re going to have to have a serious talk about The Magic Pill and how it relates to health, fitness and beyond.

You see, we live in a society where we want everything as quick as we can possibly get it. If results don’t come fast, then we ask for our money back.

We expect our food delivered to our door piping hot in 30 minutes, or we refuse to pay. We go to our doctors and tell them what our ailment is (we already looked it up on the internet) and promptly demand a pill that will stop whatever it is we think we have.

We have a “take it and forget it” culture these days. Everything is pre-packaged and ready to go – we don’t even have to leave the house anymore to order…well…anything. It all comes next day delivery, or your money back!

The way we expect quick results in every aspect of our lives is a direct result of the media we’re bombarded with in the modern world – MTV shows quickfire music videos, followed by processed and highly materialistic reality TV. The news, on radio, TV and internet, adds to the mish-mash and further loads us with information.

It’s not hard to find information these days – it’s all around us. Information comes at a dime a dozen nowadays. What we lack are solutions and people who can effectively package information as solutions. And, by solutions, I mean real solutions, not a magic pill that combats the symptom rather than the cause, or a cream that masks the spot, as opposed to a dietry and lifestyle change that prevents the spot from appearing in the first place.

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF THE FAST PACE WORLD

We have to be careful of this fast pace world that we’ve created for ourselves. There’s a risk it might eat us alive. Our attention spans are shorter than ever before, and it’s getting serious.

On the positive side, and there is one believe it or not, what’s good for us progressive filmmakers and business-people is that it doesn’t take much to be better than most. It doesn’t take much to offer more value to the world, because so many things are so watered down and lack substance these days.

Now, that’s not a call to style yourself as the lowest common denominator for the rest of your life. That’s too easy and a copout. But to be better than the average is really not that hard when you think about it.

And to get to a level where you’re in decent shape, so that you have more stamina for your film projects, your videography business, or whatever it may be, isn’t as hard as some might think.

Sure, it’s going to take work, but it’s not ridiculously difficult. You don’t necessarily need to spend $$ on a personal trainer and pay him to give you a gym wake up call at 5am every morning. Although you can if that floats your boat.

Mastery is another level entirely, of course, but it’s much more attainable when ww rise above the low bar levels set by the majority of our consumer culture.

There are openings everywhere to get ahead of the pack. Be patient. Resist things like impluse buying and instant gratification. You can thank me later. Yes, I told you I’m a funny guy!

Here’s a great quote from the very excellent George Leonard in his book Mastery:

“Our present national prosperity is built on a huge deficit and trillions of dollars worth of overdue expenditures on environmental cleanup, infrastructure repairs, education and social services – the quick fix mentality…our time of grace might be running out.”

Wise, prophetic words written years ago.

MUSCLES & MANTRAS – MEDITATIONS ON STRENGTH

Let’s clear this one up from the outset – anyone can put on a bit of extra muscle and look good. Women won’t suddenly bulk up to look like a female bodybuilder if they just add a couple of squat workouts to their weekly routine.

Good – had to get that out there early.

Putting on muscle really isn’t as hard as some people would have you believe. I see the physical journey (improvement of the body) as running parellal to the mental journey (improvement of the mind).

Inner strength, that quality that we’ve spoken so much about and declared as our elixir in the world of getting good with business, is possible through outward struggles and trial and tribulation.

It’s true, the old saying, that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger; but we don’t have to force mental horrors on ourselves or go to a warzone and witness inhumane atrocities in order to develop that mental strength, that toughness of the character. We can get it through working out.

It’s important not to mistake acting tough for the real thing, which often involves admitting our weaknesses. In Western movies, the hero rides off into the sunset, often leaving behind a loved one. Many guys watch this and believe the hero is strong because he doesn’t care, but he is strong because he is able to remain true to himself, to be with his feelings.

MANY WAYS TO TEST YOURSELF IN LIFE

Testing yourself in the gym is a great way to form the foundations of your inner strength – pushing your limits and seeing exactly where the point lies in which you can’t go any further, discovering what calls out for solace first, the body or the mind.

The mind is always the first to go – you always mentally fail that last rep before you attempt it…not during. Volumes have been written about the mental side of weightlifting and bodybuilding pioneer Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visualization techniques have been quoted and discussed in workout literature since the 1970s.

Regardless of which cracks first, both mind and body grow stronger, they both adapt because they must. As our body breaks down as the muscles fail in the gym, and are then reinvigorated and rebuilt in the kitchen, so too does the mind.

Every failed rep pushes the mind to a place where it’s never been before, the new found intensity becomes the new benchmark for desire – pro bodybuilders and powerlifters report an almost divine spiritual experience when under serious iron bar duress. It’s character building.

Former Black Flag singer, and bodybuilding aficiando, Henry Rollins said:

“I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

It’s true that many people have found sanctuary in the often isolated and singular world of iron.

One day, you wake up, look in the mirror and notice a change in the person who stares back at you. Some of the softness is gone, there’s an intensity in the eyes that wasn’t there before and a courageousness that you never imagined you’d possess.

The goal for most workouts, the good ones, is giving up. It never will get easier, because you can always make it harder if needed. You need to get to a place where there is a pure sense of satisfaction in the pain; the simple task of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting mentally prepared for the next set.

When you’re shaking and out of it after yet another hard set and someone comes up to you with questions like, “Hey man, cool, what are you training for?”

How do you respond?

You’re not training for a specific event, you’re training for more than that – to rid yourself of inner demons, to really get to the bottom of things, find out where the top is.

How the hell do you explain that to someone who dolls themselves up with makeup and $200 of lycra to run on a treadmill indoors for twenty minutes, and then sit in the gym’s bar with a drink and a cigarrette outside? It’s impossible.

To close out this post, here’s a great quote from a workout legend, Dave Draper:

“Don’t be stingy. Don’t be cowardly. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be dumb. Be generous and be wise. Use your common sense and train hard and efficiently, with good order, crisp pace, absolute focus, intelligence and zeal. Stop listening to the noisy voices out there that confuse you with the latest ingredient, method, holistic adventure, scheme, gadget, scam or whatever.

Look in the mirror and be that person you see, your best friend. Give him or her credit for inner knowledge and understanding. Learn the very simple basics in exercise and nutrition and practice and apply them happily and with confidence. Now you are on your way, not their way. You’ll learn and you’ll grow as the days go by with your tender loving care. Stand and be strong.”

 I hope you enjoyed this article and that it’s got you thinking if you aren’t already involved in health, fitness and working out. Let me know in the comments below what you think.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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One Comment on “Fitness For Filmmakers Part I”

  1. Pingback: Fitness For Filmmakers Part II • Filmmaking Lifestyle : Filmmaking Lifestyle

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