Learning the Language of Your Body Part 1: The Intro

by | Jun 30, 2023 | Blog

I’ll be honest – I have a list of other topics I had planned to write about before this. But no matter what I did, I kept having this gnawing feeling that we need to go a little deeper. Beyond just another blog about core stability or glute strength.

I am an INFJ after all.

So here we are.

Movement matters. I am a movement expert and I love piecing together exercises to help people move better.

But I can’t help the feeling of there being so much disconnect between the programs we write and the people we’re trying to help.

Coaching people to tackle nagging pain and build more resilient bodies is so much more than a program of carefully selected exercises, dosed at appropriate loads.

Writing a program is a relatively simple science experiment. Coaching, however, is an onion.

Over the years I have found that the larger part of my job is not the exercises. It’s the coaching.

It’s helping people decipher the language of their bodies, which is a long process that starts with peeling back the layers of beliefs they hold about the bodies they inhabit.

Beliefs that have been amalgamated over their entire lives. Stories their brains created from the things they’ve read, experienced, heard, or seen.

The world likes to tell us to just ~listen to your body~. Because of course it must be a switch that we’ve all just forgotten to turn on. So simple, yes of course!

It is not – and never has been – that simple.

The Tip of The Iceberg

Here’s the deal- most humans live lives we have not evolved to live. We are in environments that do not support our health and well-being.

It is no surprise many of us end up struggling with even starting to listen to- let alone understand- the language of our bodies.

From technology to trauma to Diet Culture to the Patriarchy. There are very real, very large systems at play driving huge rifts between us and our bodies. This is the difference between what we see and what lies beneath the surface.

Remaining disconnected from our bodies is a large fuel source these systems need to continue thriving.

On the flip side, learning the language of our bodies is one small act of rebellion, a proverbial middle finger to these systems.

“Okay, but like how??”

I’m getting there, but first, let’s talk about what learning the language of your body is not.

3 Myths About Learning the Language of Your Body

1. You just need to listen to your body.

While usually well-intentioned, this is not typically super helpful advice. It’s soooo vague and intangible. In fact, the whole point of this blog series is to help unpack that advice and provide you with actionable, tangible advice to implement.

Learning the language of your body is going to require the culmination of multiple skills.

2. You just need to learn when to rest.

Feeling, interpreting, and responding to how our bodies feel is far beyond the false dichotomy of rest vs. push in your workouts.

In fact, it’s about far more than fitness.

And when it is applied to fitness- there is a full spectrum of adjustments beyond just “go big or go home”. Our brains crave simplicity. It keeps them from having to work hard. It takes alot more energy to hover in the middle between extremes, but we get better at it the more we practice.

3. You just need to memorize a set of guidelines.

No algorithm could ever incorporate every facet of the multi-dimensional person you are to provide you with a list of criteria or “if-then” statements or protocols for you to memorize & adhere to. Your life experience cannot fit into a flowchart.

Learning the language of your body is not a skill you ‘master & move on from’. It’s an ever-evolving process because you are an ever-evolving being.

(Yes, this also means there is no tool or data set you can follow that can do the work for you either. Data and wearables can be helpful, but they are incapable of assessing & incorporating every part of you that matters.)

What this means for you: it’s a life-long journey; you’ll always be learning because you’ll always be evolving.

4. Listening to your body will make you lazy/complacent/*insert any other adjective you’ve been conditioned to fear here*.

These deeply-rooted fears always pop up at first when doing this work. They are important messengers for us. Pay attention to them. Do your best to notice them without judgement. Consider where these ideas came from.

What are they trying to protect you from?

How are they serving you?

A lot can be learned from simply playing more attention to these thoughts and the stories our brains create around them.

Finally, remember- listening to your body is not just about resting all the time. There are far more options than in between “going hard or going home” and part of the work of listening to your body is embracing the spectrum that most things in life exist upon.

Stay tuned for part 2, as we dive a little deeper into beginning to learn the language of your body!

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A photo of Dr. Jen Hosler standing with a barbell instructing the deadlift.

Hi, I'm Dr. Jen Hosler.

I’m a bookworm, science nerd, and coach of all things movement (physical therapist and strength & mobility coach). You can catch me sleeping in & having a slow morning, doing CARs & lifting heavy things, or sipping a glass of wine on my time off.

Through a blend of strength & mobility training, I’ll help you master your movement & build a more resilient body that won’t hold you back from all the activities you love doing.

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