- DESIGN \\
- EAT \\
- SWEAT \\
- CRAFT \\
- GEEK \\
- RANT \\
- ROCK \\
- ETC \\
- FAV POSTS \\
- Blogroll \\
- ABOUT \\
Because most likely it’s not your job.
Unless of course you are, in fact, PAID to be at the gym. Then, by all means …
This post has been building in my brain for a while. It’s kind of a follow up to last Friday’s post. Our culture has become obsessed with fitness; or, rather, the weird representation of fitness in social media. Do a search on Pinterest for “fitness” or “workout” and tell me if the first 10 pins you see aren’t fitness models with the “perfect” body along with some get-fit-quick trip or sure-fire fitness regime. I fell into the trap a while ago, and spent the better part of this year digging myself out. It’s why I’ve quit reading some blogs and following some people on social media (even though I like the people behind these blogs/accounts). I used to workout because I enjoyed it — before fitness was a fad — which I guess makes me a hipster. My point is that I started hating it (and myself) when I bought into the phenomenon of fitness for hot bodies that our culture has embraced. And I started getting injured, and I’ve noticed others around me have gone down a similar path lately.
She is a fitness model. She is PAID to be at the gym to look like that. She has a trainer who watches her every move and every calorie she puts in her body. You and I are regular people. This type of body takes hours and hours of work. One or two hours of ass-kicking at crossfit each day won’t give you this body. It will likely result in an injury from impatience or improper form. NOT YOUR JOB.
Here are some things that fitness is not:
- Fitness is NOT looking super ripped.
- It’s NOT being the fastest, strongest, or most muscular person in the room.
- Fitness is NOT spending 50 hours in the gym each week, running 20 miles a day, lifting 4x your body weight, or jumping around spraining, straining, or breaking things.
- Fitness is not negating every calorie you ate with exercise.
Another fitness model. Same deal. Paid to look like this and is under supervision of a trainer.
Let’s stop this madness.
Fitness should work for YOU. YOU should not be working for fitness. If you are working for fitness, then fitness is broken. A smart trainer over at GPP Fitness said that to a room full of ladies at Blend Retreat this year, and that sentiment has stuck with me, and has reshaped my grueling fitness regime into something fun and healthful that, most importantly, works for me and has given me the results I want. Yes, it takes more time overall to see results, but I’m not getting sidelined or sidetracked in the process, and — most importantly — I’m enjoying it instead of dreading it or hating every second of it.
So what is fitness?
Fitness is moving your body in a healthy way to improve your overall well-being. Fitness might include training for a specific event (a race, a figure competition, etc.), which sometimes that means pushing yourself for a few extra hours, or lifting a few extra reps. However, general fitness — what most of us are after — can be achieved by moving your body in lower-impact, fun, and safe ways for just a few hours a week.
It makes me so sad when I see people with injuries — ranging from bleeding callouses to sprains to strains — heading back in to the next #WOD at Crossfit, or doing the next long run on their marathon training plan.
Stop. Take a deep breath. And remember why you started working out in the first place: TO BE HEALTHY.
Is overtraining healthy? No. Is being obsessed with working out healthy? No. Is stressing out over every calorie in and every calorie out of your body healthy? No. Stressing out over a missed workout, or how to make up for a cupcake eaten at a birthday party should not take over our thoughts.
If you are doing any these things, humor me, and take a step back and think about why you are doing them. Try finishing this sentence honestly.
I work out because _________ .
- I want to look like a fitness model.
- Somebody (or something) told me I need to look a certain way.
- I want to impress somebody else.
- I want to be the fastest.
- I want to be the fittest.
- I want to look hot.
- I want to be the strongest.
- I want to be the best.
- I want to break a record.
- I want to be better than somebody else.
I could add more reasons I’ve heard (or used to give myself), but I won’t.
Some of these reasons are great motivators to get us off the couch some days, but they should not be the sole purpose of striving for fitness. And typically, these reasons drive people to overdoing it because all of these reasons are judgements of ourselves against others. Somebody will always be thinner, stronger, faster, muscle-ier, etc. than you, so if you’re working out (and/or dieting) for any of these reasons, it’s an endless, vicious, ridiculously repetitive cycle. When that happens, we start putting dieting and exercising over things that are truly important to us: friends, family, and sometimes even our ACTUAL jobs. I know I ducked out of far too many social events because of my ridiculous self-imposed workout regime. And I definitely left work early or took an extra-long lunch because I freaked out about when I would be able to work out. The madness had to end.
How about replacing these reasons to work out with other reasons that are truly all about you? Try these on for size:
I work out because _________ .
- I want to be healthy.
- I want to feel good.
- It makes me feel good.
- I like moving my body.
- It gives me time to myself (or with others depending on your personality).
- It’s fun.
- I love being outdoors.
- It gives me an excuse to buy cute yoga pants that I can wear all day on Saturdays. (that might be one of my favorite reasons).
At the end of the day, we are just human. Not supermodels. Not professional athletes. Just people. So let’s start acting like it, okay?
If you feel like you might have been treating the gym like the office and punching in and out, I challenge you to try something different. Unplug from your headphones and smartphone and go for a walk, a hike, or play a game with friends. Go back to basics instead of highly choreographed fancy schmancy kill-yourself-style workouts. Try spending less time worrying and more time having fun.
Also worth noting: Exercising is not the key to weight loss. What you put in your body is more important than hours and hours of exercise. No amount of exercise can undo crappy food choices. Exercising on a poor diet leads to injury or illness. Think about that next time you guilt-run off a cheeseburger. Food should not elicit guilt. And exercising doesn’t mean you “deserve” to eat something unhealthy. But that is another post for another day!
OK guys. Time to fess up. Have you ever gotten stuck in this trap? If so, what is the most extreme fitness-related thing you’ve ever done?
My confession? I once ducked out of work at 3 PM because I heard the gym was closing at 4. I came back and worked the extra hour and a half that I missed, but my boss was not pleased. At the time I couldn’t believe she didn’t understand my reasoning for leaving and coming back — it was my HEALTH after all. No, Calee, it wasn’t. It was the number on the scale you were obsessed with at the time.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it!
Hi there. I'm Calee (pronounced CAL-e). If that's too hard, just call me Cal. Also known as chimes or the chimes. I'm 28ish, a designer, a runner, a self-proclaimed fitness queen, a craftster, a foodie, a music snob — some might call me a hipster. Here's the unabridged version.
Enter your e-mail address:
Delivered by FeedBurner