Time for a pep talk. And not from some impressively shredded fitness guru — although we all applaud her discipline and passion — but from someone maybe a little more on your level. I published a guest post a while back on What kind of yoga is right for your body, and quite a few of you reached out to ask for my take on fitness. So, I've gathered you all here today for a little #fitspo pep talk to share some behind the scenes on my own fitness journey, plus give you some tips for staying motivated.
Finding your Fitness inspo
If you're like me, the word "fitness" makes you feel a little guilty, a little inadequate, and sometimes even a little insecure. I'm not in bad shape, but I know I have more to give. I know I could make the effort to take better care of my body and hit the gym just a little more often. Regardless of how I look, it has to do with the way I feel.
Fitness has been a weird journey for me — and a lot of other people might feel the same way. Having a weird relationship with fitness is pretty common: after all, we lead busy lives and for many of us, fitness doesn't always make it into the list of out top daily priorities. For me, its a weird relationship because I've lived both extremes – from counting every calorie and multiple workouts a day, to going a year without stepping foot in a gym or telling myself no when I wanted a second (or third) cupcake.
Why the drastic swings? Because for the longest time, fitness for me was only about how I looked. Yes, it made me feel great - happier and healthier - but my daily workout was to "loose weight" or "get more toned" and focused only on the results I was seeing in the mirror. The moral of that story is it's not healthy and not motivation enough for you to fully embrace being fit as a lifestyle vs. something that you have to guilt yourself into based on how you're feeling about your body that day.
❝ Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.❞
Exercise is a way to get in touch with how strong you are — it's a celebration of what your body can do and not a punishment for what you ate. This is the core of finding your fitness motivation. All that hard work and pushing yourself through it is not a painful punishment for your body not looking how you want it to, but instead a way to both care for yourself and get in touch with how strong you can be.
It's a way to test your own limits, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and grow your physical and mental stamina. Once you really grasp the fact that a workout is one of the biggest forms of self-care, that's when the game changes. For the longest time I felt like if I was in I had to be "all in" — if I was going to commit to working out then my body needed to reflect that commitment: i needed to look hella shredded and hella in shape because otherwise what was the point? I totally missed that the point was loving on my body thorough physical activity and letting that transform the way I felt, looks aside.
Fall in love with taking care of your body
Seriously, I want to give a shoutout to all the girls out there working on loving their bodies, because it's hard and I'm proud of you. If you're not there yet, that's totally ok. For a (long) time I was in that same boat and it's totally not easy to just change your mindset — but it can be done. Be kind to yourself and hold yourself to a standard of grace not perfection.
❝ Shoutout to all the girls out there working on loving their bodies — that's hard and I'm proud of you❞
The other big thing is realizing that fitness looks different for everyone. Now, that might sound obvious when you hear it out loud, but it's a lot harder to implement into your own life. What it means for you is that it's going to take some trial and error to find the right class, what feels good for your body, and even finding the right tribe that is going to help uplift you and motivate you.
It's seriously a whole lifestyle and not just something you can squish into your schedule when you're feeling guilty about how you've been eating lately. Prioritize it, but in a way that is healthy and intentional. Because fitness is not what it looks like, it's about what it feels like — but do still check your mirror for proper form if you're attempting something advanced because we do still want to avoid injury.
My tips for staying motivated
1Find your why.
Before you start your workout or fitness journey, do a little checkin about why you're doing this. If it's to fit into X piece of cloting or to loose X pounds, try again. You're setting yourself up for failure with those arbitrary but specific goals. Fitness is wholistic, so your reason for getting in shape or maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle shouldn't be one-dimensional. And look, I'm not saying you're not allowed to have goals about how you look, but I am saying let's not have that be our main focus. Let's create dynamic goals that really reflect the complex and amazing people we are, not just what we look like or what size we'd like to be.
2Make it a priority.
Look girlboss, I know your schedule is cray and you barely have time to squeeze things in, but your body is working 24/7 for you to keep you going everyday. It's only fair that we give it a little time of its own to focus on staying healthy and strong. Make some intentional time in your sched. for a workout and stick to it, because you're worth it.
3Be a damn winner
Its a contest: old you vs. the new you. Thats the only person you play the comparison game with and the only person on earth you have to beat. You don't have time to be looking around at what other people are doing or their progress, you've got an old you to beat. So keep your head down, and track your progress — because you've got to beat her to grow and become better.
4Focus on positivity
"Think happy thoughts" — but really. When you're tired and have lost motivation, and that little "I can't" asshole of a thought tries to creep in and park it in your head move it right along with a little positivity. Focus on your progress, how strong you are, how grateful you are to have a body that can do such amazing things, just find something positive and play that thought on repeat louder than any other one. Cue the cliche gym poster but, "Your only limit is you."
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photography by jenna sparks
Have some body-positive fitness advice? Have some tips for staying motivated? Leave a comment below, or use #NeverSkipBrunch
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