The Art of Adaptability:

The Art of Adaptability:

The Art of Adaptability:- is a turn of phrase I use to define fitness training, based on Darwin’s philosophy of natural selection. A quote by Leon C. Megginson in 1963 that paraphrases Darwin’s concept of natural selection has often been used to promote the a concept of fitness (or similar type past-times). However the phrase has more often than not been whittled down to “the strongest survive”. I believe that this limits the wisdom bound succinctly within the quote. The paraphrased quote is as follows;

“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment, (Leon C. Megginson, 1963).”

Fitness training in my opinion enhances a person’s synergistic physical and emotional strength. The act of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone allows a person to grow. Consider the concept that from the cradle to the grave our lives are memories of a string of events, would you prefer memories full of knowledge and experience or a list of items you have bought that gather dust on the shelf?

Is it better for us to obtain the prize by taking the short cut of wonder drugs and magic beans? Or if we take the long route, what will we discover on the journey whilst we reach for the destination where the prize rests?

The Art of Adaptability refers to more than physical aesthetics; it is the goal of persistent prime performance. One of the tools, which I use to assist clients, is the principle of the Target-Training Zone (T.T.Z.). The T.T.Z. refers to the physical state of being breathless and able to speak. This is a very important part of the training concepts. This is where most folks are out side of their comfort zone and this is where the most benefit may be obtained. Our physiology becomes very interesting when we reach the T.T.Z. This physical state I am referring to is that of our anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold has commonalities with memory that hard wire our habitual responses to daily life.

Here’s what happens, and here is why it is very important to be in a positive frame of mind when exercising.

When we are breathless and able to speak our heart is racing. We are in an altered physical state – Excited; for good or for worse, excited nonetheless.

This means that our body is a wash with adrenaline and noradrenaline (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that happens to be a memory fixer. Unfortunately, this means we are susceptible to our perceptions that can often associate or be anchored in with the task we are performing.

Ignorance can be a dangerous thing. Without this understanding we may sabotage our attempt at a beneficial lifestyle.

below are two snippets of articles on the subject:

Emotion has powerful influences on learning and memory that involve multiple brain systems engaged at different stages of information processing. Studies of declarative emotional memory show how frontotemporal brain regions act conjointly to promote the retention of emotionally arousing events and retrieve them from long-term stores. Memory-enhancing effects of emotional arousal involve interactions between subcortical and cortical structures and engagement of central and peripheral neurohormonal systems that are coordinated by the amygdala. The memory boost conferred by arousal seems to engage similar brain systems across positive and negative valence. (LaBar, K. S., & Cabeza, R.)

Exercise activates the locus coeruleus and increases brain norepinephrine release, we hypothesized that post-trial exercise could function as a natural stimulus to enhance memory consolidation. We investigated this in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and cognitively normal elderly individuals by examining the effects of an acute bout of post-learning, aerobic exercise (6 minutes at 70% VO2 max on a stationary bicycle) on memory for some emotional images. Exercise significantly elevated endogenous norepinephrine (measured via the biomarker, salivary alpha-amylase) in both aMCI patients and controls. Additionally, exercise retrogradely enhanced memory in both aMCI patients and controls. Acute exercise that activates the noradrenergic system may serve as a beneficial, natural, and practical therapeutic intervention for cognitive decline in the aging population, (Segal, S. K., Cotman, C. W., & Cahill, L. F.).

This leads me to the next section of the concept tailored for a beneficial lifestyle by embracing escapism.

Evoke memory – A memory that is manufactured by the participant to elicit a desired response.

Aspect Avatar – a persona manufactured by the participants to challenge their own concept of reality and develop their beneficial personal traits.

By embracing the concept of escapism, to imagine, to dream allows a person to believe that “What if?” can become “I am”. When we imagine we have the possibility to change how we feel about a situation. We change our perception of reality and our physiology follows suit.

In each of us we can find an “Aspect” of our personality that resonates with the way that we perceive our reality or situation. Some when in our mental development we associated self-limiting or self-liberating behavior with certain situations.

If we were to concentrate on the aspect that allows us to develop a self-liberated approach to our goals we have a better chance at staying the course.

If we create an Avatar to represent this “Aspect” and give it a name, dress it up, give it a history, an identity we can slip into. We can call forward that powerful Avatar/Identity when we need the extra motivation.

For example, the following scenario may have been experienced by many of us at one time or another:

You have a plan organized, a time to start a fitness program with friends or perhaps a regular work out date looms later on in the day and you do not wish to start or take part for one reason or another. At this point to overcome your disingenuous inner voice you would call forth your Aspect Avatar with all the positive attributes you have installed in him/her and allow them to motivate you instead.

When creating your Aspect Avatar for fitness training, stay positive and choose a character that you believe has attributes that will assist you completing your training.

To make the Aspect Avatar a much more ingrained trait you will have to focus on the personality that you have created whilst completing the exercise prescription. The task may also be associated with other evoke memories but that is up to you and what you contemplate whilst you train. Remember that you have to be in your target-training zone, be breathless and able to converse. Your body will be awash with the adrenaline and its use as a memory fixer. Eventually your Aspect Avatar will associate with the task and allow you to ride along.

Your Aspect Avatars attributes or characteristics are part of your own personality; we are just promoting them to the fore and assisting in developing a self-liberating emotional state.


LaBar, K. S., & Cabeza, R. (2006). Cognitive neuroscience of emotional memory. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 7(1), 54-64.

Segal, S. K., Cotman, C. W., & Cahill, L. F. (2012). Exercise-induced noradrenergic activation enhances memory consolidation in both normal aging and patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 32(4), 1011-1018.

Leave a Comment