“Framed” by OPEX Ambassador Craig Massey

“Framed” by OPEX Ambassador Craig Massey

This blog was written by OPEX Ambassador Craig Massey, owner of OPEX Manchester in England. As a coach, Craig is committed to the service of others in their pursuit of fulfilling their health and fitness goals and living their largest life. Follow Craig on Instagram here or contact him at craigopex@gmail.com. Follow OPEX Manchester on Instagram here.

I read something recently that really struck me…

“We think we border our great paintings with luxurious, elaborate frames to glorify them, but we do it at least as much to insist to ourselves that the glory of the painting itself ends at the frame. That bounding, that bordering, leaves the world we are familiar with comfortably intact and unchanged. We do not want that beauty reaching out past the limitations imposed on it and disturbing everything that is familiar…

It is fear that entices us to imprison art. And no wonder.”

Of course I paralleled this to fitness…

Do we use the 4 walls of the gym as the frame to bound and contain our behaviours, rituals and mindset around health and fitness?

If so, why(?), when there’s a life lived beyond the gym that would benefit?

To protect the familiarity and comfort of our lives outside the gym? To avoid too much challenge to our norms, too much change to that which we have become accustomed?

What if we allowed what we feel and experience in the gym - that level of awareness - to bleed out into the rest of our lives? To be present. To notice; fully and wholeheartedly. To be inspired by the simplest of things from which we derive so much joy - childlike in its perspective? After all, we do so within the gym so we are indeed capable.

Imagine if you will, if the dedication and effort we put into progressing within the gym, and subsequently the lessons we learn as a result, were applied across the board - in relationships, in vocation, in learning, in creating, in nature, in nourishment, in rest, in play.

Imagine if the awareness in everyday life could match the awareness we experience in our reps and sets. 

Imagine if the consistency and patience with which we apply ourselves within the gym was applied outside of it.

Imagine if the joy we experienced from the simplest of ‘gym things’;

  • the addition of a 1.25kg plate on each side of a barbell which marks a PB;
  • the increase in range of motion of a squat or a pull up;
  • the beauty in the intricacies of a complex barbell or gymnastic movement working together like clockwork to create a smooth and efficient flow;
  • the feeling of rhythm and synchronicity between the beating heart, pumping lungs and limbs as we refine our sustainable efforts 
Imagine if that awareness and joy from what could easily be defined as arbitrary, was mirrored throughout the rest of life?

Perhaps, to see our whole world up close and in focus through childlike eyes as we do within our gym world, would open Pandora's box?

Perhaps it would be too much to bear - the truth, the honesty, applied to the full range of our existence?

Perhaps, in a physical sense, we have come too far in convenience and comfort to ever be able to fully strip things back to the bones; to aim at expressing ourselves physically in nature, outside of the gym, just as we do inside of it?

Perhaps, in a holistic sense, we already know that our lives outside of the gym do not live up to our true potential —> The thought of uncovering the scaffolding that supports, justifies and makes excuses for that existence [to tell ourselves that we are ‘doing ok’, when in fact, deep down we know we are way less than we could be] is terrifying; ‘I’m in too deep, it’s impossible to turn back now’?

And so, we can understand why we might settle and contain our fullest awareness [and therefore our highest vulnerability] and sense of meaning to a pocket of life in which we feel truly alive, but which is deemed ‘safe’ by the nature of it’s protective walls.

Surely we deserve more; after all, none of us are where we could or should be in life; we can all be better - always.

So, can we be as bold as to remove the barriers - to allow ourselves to see and feel the beauty of that which waits beyond? Or are we content with confining that level of awareness, purpose, and therefore those most human of experiences to within the 4 walls of a building we call the gym - the frame - in order to maintain and protect a mediocre yet familiar, safe and comfortable existence outside of it?

I say let it bleed out; allow what you’ve learned and created within the gym to help find new levels of life experience outside of it.

Remove the frame - there’s beauty both inside and out of it - Live Larger.


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