Fitness Flop

As I’ve grown older, my perspective on fitness has drastically changed. In my early days, just stepping into a gym was an intimidating experience. I’d gravitate towards the treadmill and dive into all the cardio I could, hoping that the mundane repetition would lead to a thinner, ‘fitter’, skinnier me. I’d leave upset thinking I wasn’t disciplined enough to sacrifice my life chasing a body image I couldn’t seem to achieve, let alone sustain. The routine was monotonous and, frankly, a bit uninspired. Truth be told it was plain boring, and I thought this idea of ‘fitness’ just simply wasn’t for me.

Fast forward many years and I cannot imagine my life without health and fitness as a priority. It was a long journey so I’ll spare you the details, but one of the most profound shifts in my fitness journey was learning to celebrate what my body can do, rather than focusing on what it can’t. With that in mind, I find a lot more grace in where I’m currently at, while maintaining a focus on where I want to be. Once I reach that goal, I can then reevaluate the next step. 

Say you’ve always dreamed of running a race but currently your body isn’t at the conditioned level to produce that outcome. That’s just acknowledging the current baseline; which unfortunately isn’t enough of a reason not to try. (Sorry, but as your proud internet mom, I won’t let you get to get off the hook that easy. You’re better than that). You don’t get to write that excuse off as a reason and shut yourself down before you even start.

Instead of confining yourself to self imposed limitations and saying, “That’s not me; I can’t do that,” try setting small, achievable goals. Progress should be gradual; it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing dive. 

So what does that shift look like in practice? Well it’s your DREAM to run a race, remember? But you say you can’t run.

No problemo! Can you walk? Great! Start walking 30 minutes in the morning. Can you walk more? In the mornings and evenings? Amazing. Okay well what if you can shave 5 minutes off your time around your walking route? Incredible! Okay lets get a little crazy. Do you think you can jog for 30 seconds and walk for 2 minutes? Ayooo! Look at you go! What if you try running a whole mile? Too much? That’s okay! Just pull back and reevaluate what a smaller step in the right direction might be. 

With this shift in mind, I started to challenge the boxes I kept myself in. I used to say I could quite literally never run past 4 miles, with the excuse that I just wasn’t ‘built for it’. And while my little hamster legs won’t be breaking records, they are capable. So to prove myself wrong, I trained and ran a half marathon, and then another, and then eventually a marathon (that was simply to have the authority to say running sucks). Now, after trying it, I can say I don’t care to run long distances and I only appreciate running as a social sport and for the health the cardio brings to my heart.  

For example, I’m not great at swimming, in fact I’m pretty bad. But I think it’d be cool to do a triathlon one day which requires a section of swimming. However, if you were to throw me into a swimming competition as my first time, I can’t even begin to paint the picture of how horribly embarrassing that would be. Leaving that circumstance would only reinforce in my mind the narrative I made that I can’t swim. In reality though, I just didn’t set myself up for success and I’m comparing myself to people who have been practicing it for years.

Okay but what if I hate the gym and running is gross? 

I’m glad you asked! You might be viewing fitness as a very limited definition of the word, when really fitness doesn’t have to fit a specific mold or look a certain way. It’s not confined to lifting weights in a gym, running clubs, or expensive classes. It can be walking, rock climbing, dancing, or any activity that strengthens your heart and gets the body movin’ and groovin’. Go find things you love to do and do it. 

Once you switch the perspective of fitness from the chase of purely physic, to instead celebrating and challenging what the body is capable of, while appreciating it in it’s current state, it becomes a lot more enjoyable. 

The amazing thing about fitness, I discovered, is the constant challenge to push your body to do things it has never done before. Each workout became a new adventure, an opportunity to test my limits and expand my capabilities. There’s so much growth and excitement in challenging yourself beyond what you thought possible.

Fitness offers so many benefits beyond just physical health. It teaches discipline, builds mental fortitude, and reinforces the value of consistency. Each small step forward is a victory, and these victories build upon one another to create significant change.

It’s a forever chase, an ongoing journey with no final destination. It’s about constantly pushing boundaries, celebrating victories, and enjoying the process. Whether it’s through traditional workouts, outdoor adventures, or playful activities, find what excites you and let that drive you forward. Celebrate what your body can do and cherish the energy it gives you to pursue the joys of life.

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