What is the middle way?
It is just this Noble Eightfold Path, namely: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. – The Buddha, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutt
Well that is religion, so what has it got to do with strength and fitness. I’ve dedicated my life not to get too bogged down by the extreme view points instead I have applied the “middle way” formula to my fitness path. You know the more you spend time on the social media, be it facebook or twitter, well internet in general, and meet the fitness buffs, be it runners or powerlifters or crossfitters, each are in the own extreme camps and its their way or the high way. Each will ridicule the other and I have seen countless (frankly pointless) exchange of words behind the security of their computer screen.
The following is only my humble opinion on why I do not want to fall into any camp and if that means I walk alone then so be it. Over the last 25 years of so I have seen trends come and go. Along with the fitness trends some trainers have taken the opportunity to exploit the internet and proclaimed themselves Gurus. This is an ever growing problem and one that is destroying the health and fitness industry as a whole. With that people have taken camps following their gurus and people are now constantly arguing about liner vs conjugate, crossfit vs bodybuilding, paleo vs common sense eating, juicing vs blending, yoga vs piltaes, kettlebells vs viper (vipers are a load of croc, there is no fucking room for that in my middle way, haha) and the list goes on.
Now being a martial artist at heart and having read many of Bruce Lees books, his philosophy here has to be applied, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” This is pretty much what I have done in my training and my professional career. I have learned and still continue to learn from some great teachers and with the knowledge that I have gained I apply what is useful. Let me point out that the middle way is not one that is fickle, ie. jump from one ship to the next depending on the current trends. People and trainers that do that are the fickle ones, generally searching for approval from others and recognision. You will also find a lot of them with smelly brown stuff under the noses. So instead I simply adopt what I feel is necessary in a given situation. Knowledge is like a arsenal of weapons on a battlefield, but you have to know what to apply, when and with whom. So all fitness always depends on what your goals are? Always! Does it not? Everything works if only for a little while. So self evaluation is ongoing. Self applications is necessary without jumping from one method to the next. I know this will sound cliche but find out what works for you. We all gifted and have our own unique traits ie. geneology, which have to explore and develop. The middle way is simply to create what works for you to achieve your goal, be it fat loss, getting ready for the big fight, the crossfit or strongman competition or even the mud slinging tough mudder. Sometimes finding answer to out fitness can be frustrating but it also allows you as a trainer to explore the varied many ways and be consistent with it. Give it some time. Along the way if something that you have researched fits well with your thinking and adopt a little of what is being said and experiment with it. This way you will create something uniquely your own. And in that you are the Master of your own Fate and the Captain of your Soul.
Currently my diet is 99% plant based, I gave up meat late last year. I mix it between juicing and blend on a daily basis. I train 3 to 4 times per week. If I fail to do so, I do not feel guilty as I give my self that flexibility. I am strong. I practice that daily. Working both on my mind as well as my body. I fit in what time I can make between my family, work and everything else that fall in between.
“Strict uniformitarianism may often be a guarantee against pseudo-scientific phantasies and loose conjectures, but it makes one easily forget that the principle of uniformity is not a law, not a rule established after comparison of facts, but a methodological principle, preceding the observation of facts . . . It is the logical principle of parsimony of causes and of economy of scientific notions. By explaining past changes by analogy with present phenomena, a limit is set to conjecture, for there is only one way in which two things are equal, but there are an infinity of ways in which they could be supposed different.” Hooykaas, R. 1963. The principle of uniformity in geology, biology, and theology, 2nd impression. London: E.J. Brill. p. 38
So if you are still reading this then find your middle way. Leave the extemists to argue amongst themselves be it, in fitness, religion or politics. To be sure you understand if you want to follow the middle way, it is not sitting on the fence. Instead is cutting waves through the surf that you’ve have been observing for some while and not taking full opportunity to ride it like a king or queen.