Form over Function
by Tyler Quinn
Do you own a scale?
Cool! Do me a favor, would you?
Go get it. Carry it to the top of the highest building you can get to. Find a window. Toss it out.
Enjoy watching it explode on the ground, with it, the myriad reasons why it stands for the wrong things, and has been poisoning your perspective on fitness, and your personal journey toward being the version of yourself you want to be.
Ever wonder why we take pictures and use them as our primary markers for success in the 365 Challenge? It has to do with the position we’ve taken that form follows function. Say it out loud: FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. We don’t create skinny people at Alchemy, we create bad-ass doers – doers of all kinds of things. We create Colorado mountain climbers, grocery bag lifters, and niece or nephew piggy backers. We create water skiers, self-defenders, apartment movers and driveway shovelers. We create weight lifters, puller-uppers, confidence carriers and Legend Pursuers. This is why Alchemy exists.
And what we know, unequivocally, irrefutably, is that if you can do all those things well, you’re very likely going to look like you can do those things well. And the better you get at them, the more your look will reflect it.
On the other hand, and to put it crassly, I know a lot people who look like they can do all kinds of things, who can’t actually do jack shit.
The reality is the body composition e.g. the material that makes up your total weight has a larger impact on your scale than anything else. And sometimes, changing your body composition will affect the scale in a way that sends you the message that you’re losing ground, when in fact your fitness is going in the exact direction it should be. Body composition determines your effectiveness as a doer, and you should know that body composition can change (and will change as a part of your Alchemy journey) all while your body weight can stay the same. The point is, your body weight is a very loose indicator of your health and your ability to perform. Don’t rely on it for more information than you need to.
Now listen, if you know you’re carrying extra weight, and if that’s one of the main reasons you signed up for the challenge, and if you know you set a clear and measureable goal to lose X number of pounds – far be it from me to tell you that’s the wrong approach. But before you go lamenting a static number on the scale as a sign that nothing is working, consider how much stronger you’re becoming (remember that muscle weighs more than fat). Before you feel down about a number not changing the way or at the pace you want it to, feel up about the fact that that which you couldn’t do a month ago is an easy day for you now.
Focus on your functionality, on your strength, on your box jump height, on your pull-ups, on your flexibility – watch how developments in those areas manifest in every new photo you take from here on out, and leave the scale in a pile of rubble on the curb.
Whatever your goals may be, keep up the work. Keep them in focus. It will be so, so worth it.
Tyler Quinn is a coach and founder of Alchemy and Union Fitness. In his spare time he enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time up North.