I saw something truly amazing this past week. I teach 4 Boot Camps a week and have for the past 7-8 years. Generally the workouts are designed to change in intensity, duration, and frequency. Adding sets, reps and changing exercises as well as body parts keeps my classes challenging. This week my team took things to another level, and they did it themselves. Bonds are formed when people face obstacles (opportunities) together. That’s what happened in my classes. It’s what happens with social animals.
In his New York Times Bestseller, The Social Animal David Brooks illustrates a fundamentally new understanding of how human nature works. “The unconscious mind, it turns out, is not a dark, vestigial place, but a creative one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made—the natural habitat of The Social Animal. Brooks reveals the deeply social aspect of our minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that over emphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. He demolishes conventional definitions of success and looks toward a culture based on trust and humility.”
Taking a quantum leap here I want to go back to what I saw in Boot Camp this week. It wasn’t the difficulty of the workout, but rather the proximity of one person to another that caused an alliance producing profound results. These people have always been friendly — we refer to our group as family — what I saw was people challenging each other to overcome each exercise. The human social animal, forming bonds based on trust and humility.
The next day I took it a step further and laid out a partner workout. The group moved as a unit from cardio equipment to
stations where they did stacked/supersets that were timed splits of a minute and then 30 seconds. They moved with an exercise buddy.
Cardio: Station A, Station B (switch) — Cardio: Station C, Station D (switch) — Cardio: Station A-B then Station C-D
It was relentless and effective. Dianne Hagan said it was a deceitful workout, or maybe she said I was deceitful. I like the word effective. They had a blast. Worked harder, longer, moved and chatted. I knew they were breathing and drinking water. It was amazing. I had forgotten how great it is to have a friend for workouts.
Human beings are social animals. While some people may enjoy more solitude than others, nobody likes solitary confinement. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people like being around people. Some are better at it, but as Aristotle said anyone who isn’t involved in society is either a beast or a god. Those who don’t mingle miss out on building trusting and symbiotic relationships. Working together, we can accomplish so much more.
The substance of my boot camp is about to change. I’ve always noticed chit-chat in my classes and have even made comments to the class. Their reasoning was that it took their minds off the pain of the exercise. I choose to embrace the social beast we are and help guarantee continued fitness improvement.
I encourage you to find a workout partner. Build a relationship based on support and motivation — even if you only see each other in the gym! If you haven’t thought about a boot camp class, come join our Family at Main Street Gym in Saint Charles, just outside St. Louis, Missouri. We are about to begin a new chapter in our workouts. You’re gonna like the way you feel — I guarantee it!