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Training and Lethargy

For a while now, more so from the world events of the last few years with pandemic and lock-downs, I have been struggling with a feeling of lethargy towards movement. In this context the word refers to the unmotivated state of mind, and maybe the idea of tiredness, rather than the medical definition of the word.

This sluggish unmotivated state has seeped into aspects of my movements which has made playing around with movement a challenge at times. Recently leaving the state for a Parkour national gathering has put a little spark back into motivation. With this new spark of motivation, I have been reflecting on how I have been moving and playing recently so thought I would share ways have explored moving through lethargy with my own training. Obviously I would like to point out that not recommending working/ training/ playing into a point of over exhaustion or burn out, which can be a possibility as feeling lethargic can be indicators that rest is needed.

Scaffolding set up in a public courtyard, with three people climbing on it. One hangs upside down from her knees

So my first recommendation is...

ChangE Location in your training.

Obviously, not everyone can travel interstate, as this can be costly or time consuming. Something as small as changing the location of where you're training can still help! So if you're always training in the city, try going to some of the suburbs; or if you're always in the suburbs changing to a new or different area. Exploring new environments and new training locations can help inspire new movements, reveal new creative ideas and can give you new ways of exploring the environment. Exploring a fresh, different or new area can help shake off lethargy as you may be feeling uninspired from your current location as a result of over-exploring.

ExplorE different types of environment.

If you're always training in urban areas, maybe explore nature areas, as nature often has different, irregular surfaces, which can add different levels of challenges, stimulation, inspiration and playfulness into your movements. Different types of environments could also be something like changing the type of surfaces you are playing on. Do you always gravitate towards rails? Maybe try something on walls or find your local skate park to try different surfaces

Train with friends!

A nice way to reignite the spark is to gather and train with folks who you can share movement ideas with. Don't currently have folks you often train with? Then invite, convince your friends that trying and joining you would be the best. While I was at NatGat (the national gathering in Perth), I rediscovered that training with friends and folks who share the love of movement can help inspire your own movements and give you new ideas that you might not have considered on your own while moving or training

Train with new groups of people

... that you feel comfortable and safe with can have a similar effect. So if you cannot convince your friends to join, maybe reach out to a different community who you haven't trained with, or interact with much and see if they are willing to come out and play or train with you. Having a training buddy can help inspire new ways of moving and new ways of playfulness that can help inspire and help you out of feeling of being unmotivated.

SeT small challenges, goals or milestones

While you're out playing, challenges can help work through the feeling of lethargy with your movements. If you're feeling unmotivated, you can set yourself a little micro challenge to try to complete which might help overcome the feeling of being unmotivated. For me, if feeling unmotivated while doing art, I often just start doodling or scribbling, just to get the ball rolling and just to see what happens. Sometimes, a little bit after I have started, the feeling of being unmotivated passes. Other times, I'll get to the end and still not feeling it, but have made some small progress with doodles anyway. I often enjoy taking this sort of approach with movement and play. You can achieve a similar result if you are feeling unmotivated with your movements, You can just head out to a park or to your local training spot and just set a little challenge. Even if you're feeling unmotivated, you'll have just achieved this one little challenge, whether it be focusing on mobility or focusing on a set amount of balance for a set amount of time. Think of something small and bite sized; something small that is still achievable for you, in the foggy lethargic state of mind. And maybe after 10 minutes or so, you might feel a bit more motivated with the endorphins and adrenaline running through your body after movements, which will help you continue on and explore playful movements more. If not, and you're still feeling down, then at least you did 10 minutes and that's fine! For me, often if feeling lethargic, I balance on a rail, then at least I worked on balance. But sometimes after a little bit of balance I feel a little more motivated to explore more movements

Exploring unrelated or different activities

So if you're feeling unmotivated in one area, then explore anything else that's movement adjacent, or different to where you might be feeling a bit stuck. Some different area I refer to when feeling unmotivated might be to explore dance, contact improv, Flow Arts, mobility/ stretching, skating, and so on. Exploring different activities can present a different set of challenges, ideas, and playfulness. Sometimes these ideas can be transferable to your training, other times it can just serve as a way for your mind to refresh. If you're not feeling your usual training, or feeling a bit uninspired, then you can look to other areas and other disciplines that might help inspire you. Often at times when feeling low motivation in one area within parkour, you can explore a different field that's adjacent. For example, if you're not feeling power moves or techie movements, then you might play around with some ground flow quadrupedal. Or if you're not feeling playing around in a concrete playground, you might go to a park and play around in the trees or the grass.

Find material that others are creating to inspire you

The Internet is an excellent resource to look up and find different movers and artists who might inspire you and give you new ideas or directions to play or work toward. Having no motivation you can often look to the internet and find movers who might do something that you don't expect or haven't seen before, which might motivate you to train or to try and incorporate into your own training of movements.

Create a resource to refer to

Often when feeling unmotivated, creating a reference, a library of videos of movers and ideas, then reviewing your reference when feeling lethargic or uninspired can help nudge you towards trying something. Saving to the library could be anything that you find interesting, different, inspiring or worth a look revisiting this collection can often spark an idea to get playing, experimenting and moving.

Keep a sense of play and curiosity

For me often times when feeling the worst state of with movement has been when losing sight on what brings me back which is Play. Playing around and having fun can go a long way. Often I can feel unmotivated to training reps or a particular exercise I feel I “should” be doing. But reminding myself and rediscovering a playful curious attitude of “what if” is a great boost out of feeling lethargic with my own movement experiments. This is just a small list of things that I explore and try in my own training that has helped me get through the foggy feeling, low energy and feeling unmotivated with my training. Each of these activities can have varying levels of success depending on mood and day and mental space. Something that might have worked one day may not work the next. Just my own personal experience. Hopefully some of this can help you in your movement training and exploring. If you have any other ideas feel free to reach out and let us know. Thanks for reading Chun

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