Be Strong to Be Useful

Chandler Stevens


Natural Movement


Be Strong to Be Useful - Fitness, mindset, skills, natural movement


Can your six-pack halt global warming? Will your gains save the polar bears? Maybe not, but your training can actually make the world a better place. An endorphin rush and the warm-and-fuzzies? That’s a winning combination in my book. Let’s explore just how to make it possible.



Be Strong To Be Useful

In MovNat, we talk about the idea of “be strong to be useful.” In essence, we’re looking past the debate over what is or isn’t functional, and examining what movements get things done in the real world. If your training doesn’t make your life markedly better, what’s the point?


Let’s take it a step further: does your training improve the lives of those around you? Can you help a buddy move a mattress to his new apartment? Are you able to haul a load of firewood for a camping trip? All show and no go is a bad way to be. Clearly, being able to get things done efficiently and effectively beats the alternative.


Please don’t over-complicate this. You can safely lump these practical skills into two categories: 


  • Move your body from Point A to Point B
  • Move an object from Point A to Point B


Things like walking, running, and jumping would fall under our first category, and things like deadlifts, heavy carries, and drags would fall under the second category. Conveniently enough, these skills will give you a pretty killer bang-for-your-buck on the strength and conditioning side of things too.




So you get a lot of what we’d call “traditional” benefits (cardiovascular health, body composition changes, etc.) with the added benefit of having pretty clear practical carryover into real life.


Strength Isn't Hypothetical

Don’t get me wrong, some folks take this “practical fitness” thing too far and spiral off into hyperbolic examples. Surviving the zombie apocalypse or some other doomsday scenario is nice and all, but your movement can actually make the world a better place, right here and right now. 


I don’t care how hypothetically capable you are. I want to know how much of an impact you can make on the world around you. Let me give you an example. 


On a typical day I’ll head to one of the local parks for a couple of hours and put my mobility and natural movement training to use. As I walk or run the trails, I keep an eye out for trash.


Getting to litter can be a challenge all on its own: you may have to squat and crawl, balance along a log, or jump across stones in a creekbed. And after an hour or so I’m sweaty, worn out, and I have visual evidence of making the world a better place.


This is how I choose to stand with Standing Rock, and with our broader ecology. It doesn't take grand gestures, but words alone don't do much. We live through action, not intention.

A post shared by Chandler Stevens (@chandlerthemover) on Nov 28, 2016 at 7:28am PST


Stewardship is radical in its intention, but simple in its execution. It simply the deliberate act of leaving things a bit better than when you found them. That’s the heart of the practice of somatic ecology. Every moment is a game, a dance, a moment of possibility ripe for the taking.


You can make both yourself and the world around you better, in one fell swoop. It just takes a bit of deliberate action.

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