What is the Unconventional Training Mindset?
Unconventional training is more than a clever marketing gimmick; it is a philosophy that is often hard to fully define. Here are some insights into the mindset behind it and how to adopt it for yourself.
A while back I was asked, “What is ‘Unconventional Training’?” I kind of laughed and gave the most honest answer I could.
“Really, unconventional training is just another fitness marketing term to differentiate what we do from what you see in the big gyms.” I then went on to explain the benefits of our approach and the tools we use.
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The question got me thinking even deeper though. Sure, it was an honest answer and I still stand by it, but more importantly, what does Unconventional Training represent as an idea? Does it mean you work out with clubbells or kettlebells?
Does it mean that if all you have to train with is a barbell then you are excluded from the club? Do you have to throw boulders at trees in order for it to count as unconventional?
Can you still count reps and sets? Does Zumba count? If your local gym starts using kettlebells does your training then become unconventional?
Sure those are silly questions, but the “no shit” reality is that fitness and the fitness industry are sometimes silly places.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that to me, and this is purely my opinion, unconventional training is about mindset, not about tools or even methods.
“One Mind, Any Weapon” is a Marine Corps saying which I have always respected and I think applies well to unconventional training.
See, it doesn’t matter the tool or “weapon” you choose. Whether it’s a kettlebell, club, mace, body weight, dumbbell or rock; the mission and the mindset are the same.
what is the unconventional training mindset?
Well, to find that we need only to look at the conventional fitness of globo-gym mentality. The objective of conventional gym members is basically the same when you break it down; live longer and look good naked (objective, not problem).
Nothing wrong with either of those goals, right? No, not at all, but for the unconventional training practitioner we have other concerns which are just as (or maybe even more) important.
We want to know we can take the hill, carry our child from a burning building or just into bed when they fall asleep. We want to be able to perform in the ring, on the field, in bed, and not just look good.
We want to rise to whatever occasion life presents us. We tend to think about how we would do in the Spartan army or how well we would hold up during the zombie apocalypse.
“We are more concerned with how well we move than if we have a great ass.”
Gym selfies aren’t really a concern and while we may be very active on social-media generally, our focus during training takes on an anti-social purpose rarely seen in modern gyms.
In fact, that’s the easiest way to describe the unconventional training mindset in my mind at least. It is fitness that puts purpose first and is not constrained by the normal borders of the rest of the fitness population.
We all have a favorite tool, exercise and methodology, but our purposes are similar in that we want to live better, not just longer. We want to conquer ourselves and improve survivability, not just lifespan.
Ultimately we want to move better and perform well, not just look good naked. Although I am sure none of us are opposed to having a great ass and six-pack abs, we also want a hell of a lot more.
Plus, train hard at anything and you are guaranteed to look great no matter what you do.
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Ben Green has studied martial arts since he was a teenager, was a tactical athlete trainer while in the US Army, has held multiple kettlebell and fitness-related certifications and is currently a kettlebell instructor at Tao Health & Fitness in Austin, Texas.TaoHealthandFitness.com