What Happened When I Stopped Pretending: Fitness & Workouts
To be honest, I had a bit of a crisis this past August (2017). For the first time since starting this balancednfit lifestyle I felt this weird feeling...this feeling that maybe I don’t love to workout.
Cue: *GASP* WTF I’m balancednfit...this is not ok!!
Well backing up a bit for context, this thought popped into my mind while I was laying sprawled out on my couch after my little (not so little-- actually terrifying) hiking incident in early August. That story deserves its own post, but long story short while on a hike, my body freaked out, lost control & strength and left me almost unable to walk for over a week. My ex-boyfriend literally held me while limping back to the car. Throw in a couple visits to the ER over the next couple weeks, a diagnosis of an allergic reaction to an antibiotic I HAD to take, and ZAMMMM: welcome to my reality tv show life 😂 that’s why I’m LA’s Morning Dove. I swear the drama here is real in the best of ways.
Anywho, this was the first time I was physically unable to workout for more than 2 days and my mind went to some weird, dark places. Unable to go about my normal routine, I had a lot of time to think about everything and this one thought kept surfacing:
" I am not a real “fitspo.”
Ok, I know how irritating that sounds at first glance, but for someone who has built an identity as someone who loves fitness, feeling like you just aren't one of "them" is unsettling. Basically, for longer than I'd like to admit, I engaged in a lot of mental gymnastics...comparing myself to "fitspos" on Instagram thinking, "damn, I don't spend hours at the gym...I don't want to workout every free hour I get. I’d rather go, get what I want out of it, and be move on with my day. 😱"
This thought continued to just ruminate in my head while I recovered and eventually I had a legitimate epiphany (I have a lot of those lol)!
The fact that I use working out as a TOOL to fuel my mood, energy and confidence in other areas of my life is why I work out. It's why I got into fitness in the first place. I never intended to have a six-pack or live at the squat rack. I get what I want out of working out, whether or not it fits the criteria of being a what social media has defined as a tried and true “fit person.” To be quite honest, going to cycling everyday or running X amount of miles every morning just isn’t my thing. Period. Now, do I shun certain activities because I feel like I can only do what I'm used to? No, I always keep an open mind, but I know my body and personally, it doesn't need or love body-breaking workouts.
—that being said, since this realization, I’ve never been or felt “fitter.” How? Well I'm always amazed by the power of our minds. Prior to the epiphany my brain continually used compassion as a means of making me feel like I wasn't fit enough. Now that I had re-defined what fitness meant to me, I met my own criteria and there was nothing to feel discouraged about! It was literally a change in perspective!! I now wake up excited to workout because I’ve defined what that means for me & no longer have to pursue this goal of fitness that I don't even want! I have defined fitness as level of activity that keeps me physically and mentally healthy *what a concept*. Sometimes, it’s a brisk walk to the store and back and a day full of errand running, other days it’s cardio & a date with the weights. Whatever fits my day...my week...my needs.
So my point in saying all this, is that from someone who is considered a "health freak" and who is literally studying the subject in school, don't allow social media to scare you away from getting fit or taking on new health habits because the bar seems too high because guess what? It's not. Take away wifi and all of a sudden fitness is based completely on how you fit in your clothes and how good and energetic you feel. So if you are just testing out the "fit waters" remember, set your own goal before you automatically determine you want to look like x,y,z, instagram fitness model. Think about your lifestyle and what you are really looking for to make you happy. If it is being able to squat 200lbs, you go girl and we will support you! If it's to go to yoga 4 times a week, we will support you! This is not an all or nothing lifestyle, nor is it defined as being ripped—you can still workout and be fit without labeling yourself a gym rat.
I personally workout when & how I want for reasons other than getting super strong or tracking miles.
My definition of fitness is one that allows you to live yo best life, crush yo goals and feel bomb AF in whatever you want to wear ...and you don’t have to live and breathe the squat rack to do so.
So, biggest takeaway here is that you don’t have to pretend to be fitness obsessed or waste time dreading long hours in the gym. Find your sweet spot—where you feel best, do that, stay open minded to new ways to be active, but don't feel pressured to be doing it all!