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Quality Reps

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How many rep(etition)s are you doing?”

“10 reps.”

Think not in reps but in quality reps (q-reps).

A q-rep is a perfect rep.
A q-rep is a mindful rep.
A q-rep is a learning cycle [<link; medium read].

Better to do 5 q-reps than 10 mindless reps.”

“So the process is, I do as many reps as it takes until I do a q-rep. That’s one. Then I repeat this process four more times.”

“Precisely.

There’s also a hardcore level:

Doing 5 q-reps in a row. Whenever you fail to do a q-rep, you start back from one.

This is a staple of Parkour training.”

Identity Priming

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is identity priming?”

“Activating one or more relevant identity-blocks when engaging in a practice.

For instance, before you initiate the Movement practice, you could say to yourself:

I am a Mover.
I am an Athlete.
I am a Traceur.

“An identity mantra?”

“You could say that.”

Move beautiful 2

Any action can be practiced as an art, as a craft, or as drudgery. (Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How much did you move today?”

“That’s just one variable.

How well did you move?
How present were you in your movement?
How varied did you move?
How fun/joyful was your movement?”

Movement Snacks

4 guidelines for creating a Movement Snack:

Be an opportunist. Seize the moment.

Make stuff up. Start with some reaches, some pushes, pulls and steps. The right way is the way that feels good.

Bend your knees. Do some squats, take the stairs. Bending your knees helps to integrate the entire system.

Reverse gravity. Stretch, reach and move toward the sky. Extend your back and adopt a posture of exuberance and vitality.

(Frank Forenchich, Beautiful Practice)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I maximize movement throughout the day?”

“In the words of Frank Forenchich,

Weave movement into the fabric of your daily life.

Seize and create as many movement opportunities as possible throughout the day. 

Brain Johnson calls them OTMs, Opportunities To Move.
Frank Forenchich calls them movement snacks.

I love the concept of movement snacks. 
Because of its metaphoric implication – movement is food, it’s an essential nutrient.
Because of its practical application. I turned movement snacks into the practical unit of my movement practice. I like to think of them as macro-reps.”

“So micro-reps are the specific movement patterns you perform, and the macro-reps are the movement sessions.”

“Precisely.”

“What are the advantages of having a unit of practice?”

“Having a unit of practice makes the practice quantifiable. This makes the movement habit easier to install. 

You can set a minimum daily movement target – for instance at least 10 consistent movement snacks. When you do more, that becomes your new personal best. In the long run, the goal is to constantly beat your personal best.

In being non-specific, it unifies your movement practice. The specific movement patterns are not important. What is important is that you move, while constantly keeping in mind the three principles of movement [<link; medium read]:

Quality: Move as well as possible.
Quantity: Move as much as possible.
Variety: Move as varied as possible.

On Burpees and Meaning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I get to 100 burpees every day like Brian Johnson does?”

“Understand that it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to make it meaningful.

Deeply internalize that Energy is your most important resource. It’s an enabler for everything you do. Movement is one essential aspect of Energy – and your overall well-being –, next to Sleep, Eating, and Oscillation.

The most important systems of personal-meaning are your Identity and your Values. You have to integrate Movement into both of these systems.

Embrace your identity of Mover / Athlete.
Embrace Movement as one of your primary Values.

In strategic terms, do them in small sets, and spread them out throughout the day. To ensure consistency, have a system for it.”

“What does your system look like?

“I use the following terminology:

Micro-Unit = 1 burpee (the floor)
Unit = 5 burpees
Macro-Unit = 2 x Unit = 10 burpees (the ceiling)

I like multiples of 5 because they’re easier to count. 

The key to consistency I found is connecting the burpee habit with other activities.

More specifically, with my work-time. I do 3 units (3 x 5) during every work-hour: one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end. If for any reason I skip one, I do a macro-unit (10) next time.

The beauty of this system is that, once it becomes a habit, you don’t need to track your overall daily progress. You know that if you’ve worked 6 hours, you’ve done 90 burpees.”

“What if I can barely do 5 burpees? How can I build up to it?”

To build up to it, adjust the unit. 

Start with the micro-unit – 1 burpee. This is the habit-seed [<medium; short read]. 
Stay at 1 burpee until it feels easy, then add another one. This becomes your new unit.

Whenever the unit feels easy, add another rep.

Whenever you feel tired during the day and feel you can no longer sustain the volume, gradually scale down the unit for the day, all the way to the micro-unit if need be. It’s more important to maintain the habit – three units per hour, however small the unit – than to reach 100.

Focus on Quality. (Perfect/Quality-Reps

Think of every burpee session as a micro-meditation. Start every single one by taking a deep breath and connecting with yourself (Centering). 

In terms of feedback, use sound and markings on the floor to assess quality. The less sound you make – this is called Stealth in Parkour –, and the more precise your hand and foot placement, the better the quality of the rep.

You can also add Variety from time to time and experiment with various types of burpees.”

On letting go

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I remember to let go?”

“Connect it with your breath.

Let go with every mindful breath.

Moving Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are the two most important practices?”

“Movement and Meditation.”

“Why?”

“Movement is essential physical training.
Meditation is essential mental training.

Movement is an essential pillar of Health and Energy.
Meditation is an essential pillar of Concentration – maintaining your Attention on one thing and cutting through distractions.

Both are essential prerequisites for clear Thinking and Peak Performance.”

“If you see them as two distinct entities, you can only practice them sequentially. That is inefficient use of time.”

“What do you suggest?”

Integrate them into one practice: Moving Meditation.

This way, whenever you practice one you also practice the other, thus increasing practice density. [<link; short read]

To make the practice memorable, you can think of it as yummy food for your BodyMind, and you can access it through their combined initials.”

“MM… It makes me smile, I like it.

MM also makes me think of Memento Mori and Mental Models.”

“The more things you connect it with, the better. Each of those things is a potential reminder for the practice.”

Move beautiful

Seek perfection in your locomotion and training to achieve an exceptional quality and standard in your movements, regardless of what they are. (Chris Rowat)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What does move beautiful mean to you?”

“Move meaningfully.
Make movement meaningful.
Make movement identity. (Mover)

Move lovingly. (Loving Care, Embodiment)
Connect with yourself through your movement. (Centering)
Move serenely. (Peace)
Move joyfully.
Smile.

Move gratefully. (Loving Gratitude)
Celebrate your beautiful body with every movement. (BodyMind)

Move playfully. (Loving Play, Fun, Movement Puzzles)
Move creatively. (Improv)
Make stuff up.
Explore.

Move more. (Quantity, Movement Snacks)
Move continuously. (Perpetual Motion Machine)
Think while moving.

Move better. (Quality)
Move mindfully. (Loving Presence)
Move gracefully.
Move purposefully.
Every movement a meditation.

Move in all ways. (Variety)
Move holistically.
Move your whole body, not just parts of it.
Move all joints through their full range of motion.

Move opportunistically.
Move anywhere.
Adapt to your environment.

Move comfortably. (Relaxation, Stretching)
Move uncomfortably. (Challenge, Learning)

Move funny.
Move seriously.

Move with others. (Collective Play, Loving Connection)

Move on music.
Move on your inner music.

Among other things.”

Hierarchy of Practice

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are the three most important aspects of the Beautiful Practice?”

“Thinking, Loving Presence and Movement.

The first two are mental/emotional training.
The third one is physical training.”

“If you were to think of them as a hierarchy, with the most important at the top, what would it look like?”

Loving Presence
Movement
Thinking

Loving Presence is the Most Important Practice (MIP).
Movement is the second MIP, and an enabler for Thinking.”

“What does your actual practice look like?”

Thinking
Movement
Loving Presence”

“Something to work on.

Bring the hierarchy to mind every time you practice.”


Active Recovery

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you want to do during breaks?”

“Steven Kotler makes a great distinction between passive and active recovery

Passive recovery means recovering energy by not doing anything.
Active recovery means doing specific activities that better help you recover energy.

Both help you recover energy; the latter is more efficient at it.

In Steven’s system, active recovery has two components, what he calls a ‘mental shift‘, and a ‘physiological shift‘.

Mental shift means state management. In practical terms that may mean one or more micro-moments of positivity [<link; short read], such as smiling and connecting with your highest aspirations.

Physiological shift means breathing and movement. In practical terms that may mean a 5-minute moving meditation, and/or a walk.

To answer your question, during breaks I want to 
Center (mental shift), 
Reflect on the previous time-block (Learning Cycle), and
Move (physiological shift).”

“What if you centered and reflected while moving?

Life-Stacking.”

“I like the idea.”