My coworkers, employees, peers, and clients had been performing incredible records and feats from 2004 to 2012 and we never thought to video any of it. That was back in the days when people just worked really hard or simply enjoyed the gym, and didn’t post every brain fart that popped up.
The other things I really like about these rare shots is that you can see how much fun we’re having (videos here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4R3PheDzUS/). There was zero thought about angles, takes, production value, lighting (or even if the lens is clean!). The fact that I was negative 2% bodyfat was cool too. But guess what. At the time, I didn't have anywhere to upload this. I didn't have a LinkedIn account. I didn't have Facebook. Brace yourselves. This isn't hyperbole. I spent less than 10 minutes PER DAY on all mobile devices combined!
I miss those days. Nowadays, just look around the gym and you'll see people totally immersed in their phones, aligning their cameras to capture every single little effort. It's cute. Uncertified and uncredentialed nobodies with next-to-no experience can become celebrities with the right marketing efforts and an itchy camera finger.
To this day, when I meet with buddies to do workouts, my phone is still away. I’m intent on being in the moment. Often they’ll say, “shouldn’t we catch some content to post?” No. We shouldn't. I don't think random viewers are entitled to know the deep intricacies of fitness experience from seasoned veterans. I don't think they can be trusted with the nuance, nor can they synthesize the breadth of information.
The best should never be filmed. Actually, it can't. If you aren't physically present, you don't deserve to see the greatest. And make no mistake, folks. We don't. Every performance which is documented, no matter how incredible, is a tiny sample populace of the trillions of hours of physical feats performed in the universe. We're deluding ourselves to think the greatest athletic moments have been captured on film. By definition, they can't. Even Olympics. Even combines. Even championships. I guarantee that the best moments happened in scrimmages, in unfilmed training, in private quiet dedication to ones craft, that the layperson and general audience will never know about.
Oversharing has ruined people's ability to even keep this in perspective. A lot of young adults and kids genuinely believe the greatest athletes of all time are contemporary bros with YouTube channels. Early 20th century strongmen and basically the entirety of written history might as well be all fairytales, as far as they're concerned. In their minds, if something didn't get a social media upload today, it's as if it doesn't/didn't and can't/couldn't exist in reality. News cycles are less than 12 hours. Near-naked girls in a non-stop "look at me" narcissism have become "fitness professionals." If they dare to spend the time it takes to get real experience and miss a single check-out-my-new-bikini update, they risk losing relevance and disappear into the nether as if they never existed in the first place. It's insane.
I’ve been a part of or run multiple 6 to 9 figure fitness businesses for over 16 years without much sharing at all (technically, we used NONE until about four years ago). Thus, my perspective is very contrarian. In my mind, the only realities in fitness are those with little to no web presence, which can't be found in a google search, which have no sponsored ads on feeds, etc. I know bankrupt people who've floundered in the fitness industry with over a hundred thousand followers. And I also know people who've made about half a million per year without a single social media account. To me, success, validity and respectability is inversely related to internet popularity.
In fact, I even resent that I've had to pay attention to the societal obsession with oversharing. People are actively giving up the purity of an act for itself. I am not interested in giving up that purity. The nirvana we can experience from being totally present in our greatest moments of life are GONE once we commit to oversharing. I'm not willing to reduce my life to that level. And many artists (musicians, in particular) have figured this out. They tire of making stories or art or music while always thinking about how the marketplace will react. They want to just lose themselves in their art, not thinking about critical acclaim, not thinking about publishers, not thinking about anything but the beauty of the moment. People like Prince wrote enough music for hundreds of albums, but he never intended to share any of it. Comedians like Dave Chappelle banned cameras at his shows so that he could experiment with material, play to the highest level of his craft, specifically WITHOUT the Twittersphere all aflutter with reactions and condemnations. Are you paying attention yet? The best is never filmed. Meanwhile, average people actually look for ways to trade out the experience of their best moments in order to document the now-lesser moment in a photo or video. People think that photos and videos are better than palpable physical touch. It's incredibly sad.
When I was 16, I took such wonderful joy in doing certain soccer tricks. I searched for opportunities in a practice or game to pull them off. To nail a full front split while leaping through the air in order to stall an overhead soccer ball was magic. I never thought to videotape it. That would've corrupted it. It would've sapped the magic from the moment. It would've deprived me the instinctive wonder and self-satisfaction of that just-right millisecond. When, at 17 and 18, I slogged out 12 mile runs, I would've considered it gratuitous, shameful even, to stream that experience for onlookers. It was my internal experience alone to be had. Capturing the view would've been impure. Distance running with a camera is depraved. What's happening inside is all that matters. What's happening inside is the truth. What's happening on the outside is simply pornography. And that's perhaps the word to remember, because this incredibly anxious and depressed populace is the porn generation. For them, activities are no longer to be experienced and kept sacred. Activities are to be overshared in visual representation, perhaps never to be felt internally. Stimulating visual excitement has replaced reality. The marketplace doesn't want influencers to be educators. The marketplace just wants pornographers.
It's no surprise that the average person has ZERO internal drive. Individuals are training the drive right out of themselves. It's common for people to just seek a pornographic dopamine high, not an experiential reality. Experiential reality requires discipline, integrity, and deep change. The dopamine high requires... a camera and a screen.
I mean, I get it. It’s fun to capture some moments; and part of marketing is staying present in the minds of the public. But maybe, sometimes, just be present in your program. Maybe, just get real world experience. Maybe, just connect with REAL reality. Because the best experience is actually experiential. Go figure. And that can't be filmed.