You’ve likely heard the maxim commonly permeating bodybuilding forums, fitness circles and advice columns to “mix it up,” in regards to your workout. This phrase—also coined “muscle confusion”—is hotly debated year after year.
Some hold to the idea that your muscles adapt to specific workouts, and essentially get bored over time—minimizing gains and lengthening plateaus. Its adherents cleave to popular workout DVD programs to shape their bodies.
Others consider the idea of muscle confusion a gimmick, arguing that you can’t build specific muscles without consistent repetition, and that to effectively gain muscle, you have to vary the volume of weight you lift and your rest intervals.
Either way, we can all agree on one thing—that changing your routine from time to time keeps you going to the gym and from getting bored while you’re there.
One man who epitomizes this notion of making the mundane interesting is street artist OakOak. A self-proclaimed pen pusher, this urban sensation who’s wholly untrained in art and works fulltime in an office spends his downtime adding a little flavor to his surroundings.
Hailing from Saint-Étienne, France, OakOak’s comical, imaginative, irreverent and sometimes dark street work consists of painting basic graffiti and crafting site-specific designs on inner-city features throughout France and other places he visits.
He often uses broken or rundown inanimate objects to create playful pieces of humanized art and to beautify the city’s urban decay. “What I like about street art is that you can find somewhere to draw anywhere and it is a surprise for the people who find it,” he says. “Any wall can be a canvas.”*
His main influences are football, comic books, video games and his hometown. “I like this city, her atmosphere,” OakOak says of Saint-Étienne, “and I wanted it to look nicer. It was an industrial city with many coal mines; now it’s in regeneration and still quite poor. But it’s easily traveled by foot with awkward aspects ideal for art. I saw shapes everywhere, and wanted to realize them.”† And realize them, he did.
So when thinking about ways to make your workouts less stagnant, you can google a flood of articles boasting titles like “12 Ways to Add Variety to a Stale Off-Season Workout,” and find ample instruction on how to “mix it up.” Or you can take a page from OakOak’s book, and do your own thing.
All images credited to OakOak. See more of his work here.