Latest blog written by Keith Smith;
I was directed to Channel 4 last this weekend by my wife to watch a repeat of Gogglebox from earlier in the week.
When my wife mentions that I need to watch something, there is always some learnings that will result, and once again she was right.
The legend known as ‘Mr Motivator’ has returned to our screens since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown and was presenting a short workout on the BBC, which was being commented on by the Gogglebox collective.
For those of you reading this and unaware of who Mr Motivator is-Mr Motivator”, is a Jamaican-born British fitness instructor. He rose to fame in 1993 through appearances on the UK breakfast television show GMTV, where he performed live fitness sessions in his own unique way .
As soon as Mr Motivator appeared on the screen, 90% of the Gogglebox collective were sitting up taller, smiling and starting to move. I understand that this programme has been cut about and massively edited to enhance the viewers emotions and drive differing feelings, but the comments from the majority of the collective were so positive: ‘This is the most movement I have done during the isolation’, ‘This is my type of workout’, ‘I feel great’, ‘I love this so much’, ‘so relatable’.
There was the odd comment from the collective that was not so positive towards the on-screen activities, but the vast majority demonstrated a liking to participate.
Now Mr Motivator is unique, and many of us would feel ill-equipped and not confident enough to deliver a fitness session as he does, but for me there was some fundamental learnings from listening to my wife and watching ‘The legend’ on Gogglebox.
Forget what Mr Motivator wears, forget about the music that he uses, forget his teaching style; all of which are unique to his exercise experience. Forget the Mr Motivator unique story, let’s look at the principles that he might use and think about how they could be applied by us as instructors and as an industry.
For me there are three principles:
- FUN [people smile!]
- INTENSITY [the workout is of a low to moderate intensity, which makes it safe & achievable for the vast amount of the UK population]
- COMPLEXITY [the exercises chosen are of low complexity, which makes them safe & achievable, for the vast amount of the UK population]
Have we as an industry become too highbrow about how we go about delivering what we do? Have we made exercise to serious? Has the FUN been lost in our offerings? Have the majority of us lost the overall point of what we do?
On the whole, we are not working sport, individuals who do sport go elsewhere, people basically visit a facility to change appearance and feel as if they belong. Would more people join and stay at a facility longer if we embedded the principle of FUN into our sessions and our overall offerings?
‘Commit or die’, ‘Sweat is just fat crying’ ‘Go hard or go home’ ‘The pain you feel today, is the strength you feel tomorrow’ these are just some examples of the exercise mantras that I am exposed to every day.
We know from the science that high intensity work is good for us, but there is a time and a place for it, plus high intensity work might not be enjoyable for everyone.
Intensity causes short term discomfort within the body, which puts individuals off exercise. It can also be a contributory factor in the long term [24 to 48 hours], discomfort following exercise, which again is off-putting to many.
If we thought more about the audience in front of us and less about the current trends and science, would we attract more people, to more to our sessions at our facilities? There is a difference between being right and being popular. There are some talented individuals within the industry who can do both, without compromising safety or effectiveness, the rest of us mere mortals may have to choose between following the science of exercise or being popular.
Enjoyment [happiness] comes from being in a state of FLOW [adapted from M. Csikszentmihalyi]. FLOW is, as I understand it, balancing intensity and the complexity of a task, this balance is individual to everyone.
Another learning experience I had last year was when listening to the very enjoyable Radio 5LIVE presenter Nihal Arthanayake, who commented that: ‘Burpees were the fitness industry equivalent of waterboarding’
It was quite clear from observing the Gogglebox collective that Mr Motivator has given us a lesson in complexity. Keep it simple, simple works!
I have thought for a long time that the major role of an instructor is to raise confidence and competence of an individual, before aiming to build fitness. Watching the Gogglebox collective has just reinforced that for me.
 adapted from Wikipedia