How to Create Your Very Own Movement Menu
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
A menu for exercise? Can't I just find a personal trainer or look up a workout online? Yes to both! I've spent years exploring different theories and modes of movement. I've followed
the careful guidance of a personal trainer, taken group fitness classes, completed group training for competition, worked out at home following a DVD, exercised outdoors following carefully mapped routes and levels of exertion based on books I've read and have even taken sample workouts from other online sources to make my own workouts.
Sounds great doesn't it? I was convinced until a friend who had begun training for triathlons with me asked a question that made me stop in my tracks and quite honestly, experience a moment of panic. She asked me, "Why are our workouts designed like this? How is this going to help us on race day? I'm not even sore." My only reply was, "I don't know, I just do what the trainer tells me to do and I trust it will work." I have competed in triathlons for several seasons and utilized multiple training methods, so I truly believed in my answer.
After practice that day, I spent some time dissecting my friends question. Why didn't I know? How could I not know? I realized that each mode of exercise I participated in followed someone else's existing format and wasn't tailored to my specific strengths and weaknesses. I was there but only to act, not think. As a result, I found myself handicapped if my trainer wasn't available, practice or class was cancelled, my DVD suddenly didn't work or I couldn't find my notes on the book workouts. I had relied so heavily on becoming faster and stronger that I hadn't fully invested in the HOW or WHY of what I was doing. Sound familiar?
When I talked to my trainer, now close friend, and shared my concerns I didn't expect her to say, "If you listen to your body and know what you are going to ask it to do, then you know how to move." This sentence completely changed the way I viewed the entire process of exercise or what I now fondly call, movement. I needed to learn how to listen and then act.
Basically, no matter what kind of movement goal you have it is important to listen to your body each step of the way. Every workout will not and should not be the same. Our bodies were designed to move and when we move in a way our body is expressing that it needs, we derive energy from movement rather than suffering depletion. The result? We get stronger, faster and increase endurance just to name a few!
What I'd like to invite you to try for a week is to:
Spend a few minutes each day to tune into your body. How do you feel? Are your muscles sore? If so, where? Do you feel tired? Do you feel energized? Does the
thought of cardio excite you or make you want to hide in the locker room? Does lifting weights make you feel empowered or like lifting your arm to take a drink of water is a challenge?
Next, based on your answers, choose an exercise from the list below and get moving! Biking / Roller skating / Rollerblading / Jumping on a trampoline / Jump rope / Hula-Hooping / Yoga / AcroYoga (combo of acrobatics + Thai massage + yoga) / Dance / Kickboxing / Chopping wood / Cartwheels / Zumba / S Factor / Nia / Jogging / Hiking/ Swimming / Gardening / Pilates / Walking / Skateboarding / Rock climbing / Horseback riding / Surfing / Tennis / Basketball / Soccer / Golf / Fencing / Playing tag with kids / Frisbee / Martial arts / Stair hopping / Cleaning / Skiing / Snowboarding / Weight lifting / Jazzercise / Carrying children / Archery / TRX / Cardio Barre / Acrobatics / Circus arts
Feeling uninspired? Answer these questions and take another look at the list!
What movement did you love to do as a kid?
What movement would be fun to do with others?
What is something you've never tried that you've always wanted to try?
Have some other ideas that you would like to add to the list? Think outside the box and add away!
Let's use my movement menu for today as an example before you try it yourself this week:
Today I feel powerful, my muscles are moderately sore (mostly in my legs), I feel more rested compared to yesterday (energized), intense cardio sounds great today, working my arm muscles sounds good today. My movement menu for today will be kickboxing!
Easy right? There's no trick and no hidden log that you have to maintain. All I ask is that you pause for a minute to ask your body how it feels and select your movement just like I did above. Let the inspiration come from your body, not your head. Whether you are exercising to improve your health, train for an event or simply need to blow off some steam, this method works my friends! This is an invitation to transform exercise into an enjoyable time for YOU while contributing to your goals, health and aliveness! Make your menu as unique as you are and get moving!
Have questions or want to know more? Leave a comment and let's chat!
Peacefully & Powerfully,