What Regular People Can Learn From a Stuntwoman and Ninja Warrior: "Jessie Graff’s perspective: It’s not about “staying in shape” It’s about being strong enough to do the stunts she needs to do Injury prevention: “Armor” to withstand the kind of physical punishment she’s going to take doing stunts
Though I’m just beginning to learn what it means to be a role model for women, I really want to share one message: being strong doesn’t make you manly or unfeminine. It just means you can do more things. It builds confidence and self reliance and opens all kinds of pathways and opportunities. —Jessie told the Los Angeles Times
What you can take away Dan John has used the metaphor of muscle as “armor” in contact sports like football before. It sounds like stunts are pretty similar: Jessie needs both the kinds of exercises to prevent injury and the muscle to withstand all of the falls and throws and punishment of doing stunts in movies and TV.
There’s nothing wrong with having a perspective where you want to work out to look better. The danger is when that’s the only perspective that you have for working out. Or worse, when you use working out as a punishment for food. That’s not what working out is for. Taking a look at Self-Determination Theory, we find people have different kinds of motivation they use for working out:
Working out as punishment for “eating bad” or “looking bad”
Working out because you feel guilty if you don’t
Working out because you value being strong, or value moving well and being able to do cool stuff, or value looking good
Working out because you’ve integrated working out with all of your values, like being strong, looking good, being a good parent, being effective at work, and so on
Working out because you enjoy movement
What we find is that the people who are the least successful at their fitness and enjoy it the least, are the ones who always use the first two. People who are the most successful with their fitness, actually use all of them. They use the top one much less often, because they use the bottom three a lot.
I wish I could tell you that there is some magical world where you can graduate to always using enjoying movement for every workout, but research doesn’t back that up. Even pro athletes and personal trainers, sometimes workout just because they’ll feel guilty if they don’t. Research indicates that a healthy relationship with a workout motivation is all of the above. What makes it healthy is using your values a lot of the time. The goal is to notice what you value about working out, why it matters to you. And then, if you can find some movements or workouts you do just for the fun of it (like rock climbing or boxing!) Bringing it back to Jessie — for her, it all comes down to being directly related to her job. A job that she clearly loves! So, you could say that all of it — from the stunt practice to the strength training to the injury prevention is all completely integrated with her values."