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If you ever have the chance to hear movement coach, Ido Portal, speak about his philosophies, do it. He has some great thoughts on... Why You Need Dogma In Your Fitness

If you ever have the chance to hear movement coach, Ido Portal, speak about his philosophies, do it. He has some great thoughts on the value of movement for therapy. I also like his consideration of different methods. In fact, before this becomes a blog about Portal, let’s get to why I bring him up. Ido discusses the value of dogma.



The first time I heard him talk about it, I thought of only the negative connotations. Things we describe as dogmatic are often not good. There is an implied surrender of logic, where you swallow every part of a given philosophy.

That could be a bad thing, especially if the dogma asks you to do bad things to other people.

Any fitness dogma you follow is going to be more about you and your relationship with your body. To that point, fitness dogma isn’t like political, corporate or religious dogma, so we have to consider it differently.

We have to let it grow as we develop, perhaps even die as we move on to new dogma. Our adherence to Dogma is what keeps us engaged in our habit of fitness.

Fitness Dogma



Dogma of politics or corporations is fodder for the evening news. We only hear about them when people do awful things in the name of such dogmas. Along with the topic of sex, they are best kept out of social events.

It’s true that fitness dogma can also spoil a conversation (I’m looking at you Crossfitters) but the chat will rarely devolve into fisticuffs.

What fitness dogma gives you is solid ground beneath your feet. It gives you a dictionary by which to define fitness. It gives you talking points to discuss your habit. It gives you a base from which to evolve.

Without fitness dogma your path is confusing. You may wander enough to lose your way. There are too many voices in the gym to stitch them together yourself. The conflicts of philosophy can be dizzying.

Evolving Dogma



The thing that’s great about fitness dogma is you can change your path. In fact, it’s recommended.

People who stay involved with fitness their whole lives surrender to many philosophies over the years. You can often track it through their scrapbooks: the ripped bodybuilder years, the lean years of yoga, don’t even mention the beefy powerlifter years.

Through it all, you’ll find a human in better health than their non-dogmatic counterparts.

In my life, the super-educated twenty-something personal trainer would have a few choice words for my current forty-something self, but we’d agree on one point: Get after it every day.

Some dogma you keep forever.

Finding Dogma



You can find it in many places. Fighting schools teach rigid dogmas. Other group fitness environments, like Crossfit or functional fitness training centers, will teach you a whole ‘nother dogma.

It’s easier to talk about where you won’t find it. That big fitness gym? They try, but if you talk to enough employees (like, two?) you’ll find their philosophies vary, leaving you to sort fact from fiction without perspective.

There are plenty of books that teach worthy dogma, but learning about the physical world from a book is tough. You have to convert words to 3D movement.

Consider books as a starting point. They work better attached to a trainer or class where you can apply what you learn.



As you consider how 2017 is gonna go down, consider picking up a fitness dogma. Surrender completely, but ease your way into whatever you choose.

Consider that even in the worst-case scenario, you’re better off than the one sitting on on their couch. You can always change your faith later.

If you want to check out Ido Portal, there is a great introductory interview on London Real. It’s a worthwhile podcast to add to your arsenal of fitness feeds.