Imagine for a second that you are a tree.
You start life as a seed and, presuming you find favourable growing conditions, start to grow.
You start to gather the nutrients and water you need from the soil around you and grow upwards towards the sun.
If we presume that the sunlight is sufficient to stimulate photosynthesis then the availability of nutrients and water from the ground will become the limiting factor.
If you are planning on surviving for as long as possible and are planning on being as resilient to harsh weather conditions then you’d better hope that your root system develops quickly and over as large an area as possible.
It can be no coincidence that the tallest, most durable and thickest trees have the largest and strongest root system. It is therefore also logical to suggest that trees that try to grow too tall, too quickly without an adequate base of support inevitably bend and break.
So, what about some fitness talk then?
Imagine that you want to be able to do everything you want to do for years and years. Imagine that making progress, or staving off decline, is important to you.
Imagine if your root system was shallow and narrow – would you be able to keep making progress? Would you bend and break if you neglected to expose yourself to a broad range of types of exercise? What about when the things that you’ve been avoiding come up – what happens then?
Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, once said “we fail at the margins of our experience” and we truly believe that.
What about if we take the idea of a broad root system and apply it to the gym as a social place. How many people “go to the gym” but never have any form of meaningful interaction with another human when they’re there? Will those people still be “going to the gym” in a few years time? We’d be willing to bet that the majority of them won’t be.
Next time you’re in the gym, spread your roots. Start a conversation with someone, lose the headphones and the ego, expand your social circle and we’re willing to bet that you’ll go home happier.