THE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE PATH OF
Devices are launching on a daily basis to help us monitor and quantify every element of our lives.
Having access to biofeedback is educational and interesting, and studies show the human brain can respond positively to feedback about bodily functions, instigating positive change. However, when this mentality is filtered into our everyday lives it can potentially lead to an obsessive path.
Has the competitive nature of weekly step challenges with your pals and comparative graphs measuring the number of hours we’ve spent getting that precious beauty sleep led to the over-quantification of pretty much everything in our lives?
Specifically looking at the fitness world, tracking system are without a doubt encouraging inactive people to train and helping athletes achieve their goals. This method of improvement isn’t necessarily suited to everyone, however it seems to be recommended as the best way to achieve your goal from a lot of blogs and articles. The current societal trend and pressures to track and then share everything we do has overtaken the POINT of this monitoring in the first place. Our article on fitness trackers gave you the low-down on what tracker to get in relation to your activity levels. The question is, are these trackers cultivating in us an irresponsible mindset? Just because we’ve clocked up over 20,000 steps today, doesn’t mean we can mindlessly consume a KFC family bucket.
Reps, tempos, calories, macros, rest times...everything should be tracked. Or should it? Maybe it's time to decide what your goal is and decide if you actually need to track attributes to help you reach that, rather than jumping on that over-quantifying hype.
QUANTITATIVE vs QUALITATIVE
Let’s look at it from a different angle. There are some physical processes that can’t be number-crunched and need more time and understanding rather than simply listening to another BS app.
Some of our endeavours can’t be distilled down to statistics. Focusing on quality instead of just quantity is key to our improvement, performance and generally a more fulfilled life. Things like recovery time and optimum work capacity vs maximum work capacity are about listening to your body. Understanding your hormones and optimising your metabolism are again about doing a little observing. These are all qualitative elements that can't be calculated. Sometimes you don’t need the data. You just need to invest in some time to listen to your body. It is up to us to stop focusing on the numbers and instead enjoy the feeling and internal achievement, and being present in that moment.
Did that workout mean something because you burned over 1000 calories or got 70% of your daily step target, or was it a solid workout that FELT amazing and left you empowered for your next session?
‘You can’t number-crunch your way to a healthy and happy relationship with your mind and body’
In my opinion, the more we use devices to help us track, the more we lose that intuitive way of thinking and understanding with our body from just feeling.
Take an example outside of the fitness world; Citymapper: an absolute godsend, but at the same time completely ruining our sense of direction. We plug in, let it take us to a destination, without perhaps acknowledging or observing how we actually got there.
Stop counting and tracking everything (unless you actually enjoy basing your body’s needs on over-complicated equations, because I know I don’t) and start trusting in your own knowledge and ability to read yourself.
I’m not saying all tracking apps are bad news. Tech and big data is a beautiful thing and apps/ trackers will only become more clued up and informative of our bodies. But with this growth comes a lot of crappy try-hards who will have you tracking which finger you’re tensing the hardest when lifting weights, (which of course you’ll do because your BAE is also tracking that and wants to compare results) and I mean, who really gives a sh*t.
Be mindful. Understand what needs quantifying and what doesn't.
As our main man Einstein once said;
‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.’
Observe and listen to your body, understand what it needs and stay off the self-destructive path of over-quantifying everything and anything just for the sake of it.
(and if my Garmin watch tells me to ‘MOVE!’ whilst I’m doing yoga one more time, it ain’t gunna be pretty).