After 14 years on my own fitness journey, and 11 years in the industry, I’ve seen patterns that keep people from reaching their goals. We distract ourselves from the entire point of fitness with complexity, comparison, and competition. It’s easy to feel like we’re trying to do it better but often times we end up not doing it at all. I think this is where insecurities trip us up. It’s easy to feel that workouts need to be impressive to have any value, but that’s not true. Even a walk to increase circulation and calm the nervous system has tremendous health benefits. We also have to remember that our bodies makes adaptations (gets stronger) when we rest after working out, not while we’re working out.
Making a workout more complex seems impressive, or at least the right idea. But if it gets to the point where we can’t fit it into the schedule or are confused about whether we’re doing it right, it’s time to go back to the basics.
A big problem for many is that we remember what we used to be able to do. Comparing ourselves now to ourselves then, or to anyone else, is entirely unhelpful. It might be a motivational goal, but it’s better to forget it and just do right now what we can do right now. Refuse to listen to any shame that tells you what you should be able to do and just do what you can.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen in Fitness is competition. I know some people thrive on competition and I don’t want to take that away from them if it’s inspiring, but we will never be number one, and if we are, we won’t stay there. So unless you’re ready to keep going when you can’t win anymore, then there needs to be a change of focus. Too many fitness people argue about the best way to work out. Even CrossFit defining what fitness is for the world can be a distraction from the point of fitness.
The point of fitness is that you are able to do the things in life that bring you joy, that you want to do. You may not be the fittest person in the world, or even the best at what you do, but if you are fit enough to enjoy it, that is the entire point. Do you like swimming? Do you like hiking? Do you like playing a sport? Do you want to keep up with your grandkids? Are you working and going to school and raising kids, and just need some activity to maintain basic health? Do you work in a stressful job and need something calming and soothing two nourish your nervous system? It’s okay to make it about you, and it’s really important not to compare.
Remember to keep it simple. Eat nutritiously, breathe deeply, get moving, and lift heavy things. And have fun doing it. Then rest well. 🙂