Fitness Foundations & Frustrations

When you go to work out how would you best classify your time?  Chore. Recharging. Stress busting. Training. Part of your identity. Routine. Therapy. Necessary for Everyone Else.  Fun. Social.

There are a lot of different ways you could approach your time spent building your fitness.  I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I recognize the different functions fitness has taken in my life and how it keeps changing.  Some have been healthy and some unhealthy. What I want to propose to you today is that regardless of what role fitness is fulfilling for you right now it is always important to keep it in the category of self care NOT identity.

What do I mean by that?  While being physically fit is important for our overall health, quality of life, and longevity, it is only part of what keeps us healthy it is NOT everything.  This may seem pretty basic and obvious, but how often do we fall into the trap of pursuing a physical state that is actually unattainable? From my own experience when I was at the peak of my swim training, my fitness was my life. In effect it has become my identity, not my physical being. Many other areas of my life sadly got ignored and neglected in that phase.

Likewise today,  in the era of social media where you get to see your friends flash their biceps, take that latest video while at the gym showing you how much they can lift or how flat or defined their tummies are, we can easily go to comparison. With what we look at being so influential on our thoughts we can find ourselves wanting to have your reality match an insta-filtered world.  It puts many of us (I’d venture to guess mostly women, but guys as well), into a mindset that is warped about the purpose of fitness.

Fitness is for us to continue to grow in our capacity for strength, power, flexibility, and mobility (control in a range of motion) as we age. When we do it well, it helps us age gracefully and gradually.  Yes it will look different as we go about life. Think of it, different stages of life require different things. Think about it. You wouldn’t train the same way at your physical prime than if you were recovering from injury, postpartum, or coming back from a hiatus of activity right?

Yet somehow the wires get crossed in our brains and we get frustrated because we expect after 3 weeks to have accomplished all our goals and be set for life.  If only our bodies worked that fast, but they do not. We are a complex mix of hormones, muscles, fibers, tissues, skin and neurons. There is such a complexity to how our body works, and even in how it heals or grows in strength, endurance or power.

Ok, to keep this short let me wrap this up like this.  What if instead of being so fixated on how things looked from the outside, even how fit we seem because of how often we work out, we kept our priority and focus simply on getting movement. Doing it consistently, frequently and in a variety of ways. Yes, the outcome is important but only as as feedback. Teaching us if what we are doing is working for our bodies, is too challenging or not challenging enough. Our results should be based on this not solely what we can see in a mirror. When we know what to shift our mindset around our fitness. Then exercise becomes an evolving science project of when/ how much/ and how heavy of various exercises and weights, not a runway contest.

I’d love to hear if this resonates with your mindset about fitness. How do you classify your time working out? What role does it play in your life? Please share in the comments below.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this mental picture about your fitness. What if instead of a chore, you thought of your workouts as adult recess?  It is a time to let off some steam, have fun, get active, but most of all help you be at your best and focus when it's needed.