We’re like trees

We’re like trees

I’ve been listening to this book about trees. Yep. Wait! Hear me out, it’s super interesting. Trees are incredibly complex. And the author did solid work dumming down the topic. So that I too can understand it. And feel kind of entertained listening to it.

Throughout the book, I kept seeing these similarities between us and the trees. The modern forest management has a bunch of unhealthy parallels to how we manage our own individual health and fitness.

In both cases, we’ve said farewell to patience in favour of quick results. And it’s not working.

Even in (relatively) well-managed forests, the goal is to grow trees fast. The quicker the growth cycle, the better the profit. If you can get a tree to a chop-chop-length in 100 years vs 200, the better it is for the wallet. Right? No surprises there.

The thing is, a tree would prefer to grow slow for a reason. 

When they grow slowly, they become denser and thicker, instead of just prioritising height. Which then helps them grow old and be more resilient to storms and all kinds of tree loving bugs.

When we force trees to grow fast, the trunks are slimmer and filled with air bubbles. They’re weaker than their slow growing tree buddies. Which I guess is fine if you and all your mates are going to get chopped down anyway at the 100 year mark.

But it’s not just the tree itself that suffers because of the fast growth. If a tree is suppose to live up to 300, even 500 years, it’s no wonder the entire ecosystem of the forest goes through a spinner when the tree gets cut down at a youthful age of a 100.

Every being from scrub, to fungi, to bugs, to birds, to big mammals. They all suffer because of the trees fast growth and early demise.

[They suffer in ways that is way too complicated for me to explain. So you just have to take my word for it.]

And since everything’s connected, all this negatively affects the wellbeing of our planet as a whole.

Now, you can probably draw the comparisons between tree growth and how our society seeks quick fixes and fast results in fitness. 

Aggressive fat loss plans, diets, shakes, supplements and all the rest. Unsustainable approaches, only to leave us full of proverbial air bubbles. We’re less resilient when the storms of life happen.

An ongoing cycle that not only makes the person in the middle of it all unhappy. It also affects those around them. And eventually puts an extra pressure on our medical system with chronic diseases and whatnot.

As for unsustainable training approaches, look no further than my first ten years of training. Too much, too often, too aggressive. The result? Air bubbles. Constantly injured and sick.

That’s a long-winded rant about how slow is the way. Slow’s how we get results that enrich our lives. Slow is how we become resilient.

And the sooner we accept it, the quicker we can start seeing and enjoying our results.

-J

 

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