Fitness Doesn't Have to be a Punishment.
Growing up, the only women I knew who stuck to a fitness regime were ladies who walked.
Every morning in our neighborhood, we'd see the Red-Rover-like formation gossiping, swapping parenting tips, and sharing coffee over laps around the block.
“Who’s walking today? Gotta burn off that wine and cheese from last night!” was a refrain I heard regularly.
Like so many others, I surmised that exercise existed to make me smaller — nothing more than a penance for my nutritional sins.
I played organized sports for most of my childhood and adolescence. You’d think that that would have helped combat that narrative.
You’d be wrong: swimming was a guarantee I wouldn’t skip confession. If I had a team expecting me to be there, I’d show up, but not because I didn’t want to let them down. I was there largely because if I wasn’t, they would know that I wasn’t atoning for my body, which would surely balloon if I missed more than a day of practice. I’d be the latest gossip fodder as these women did their laps not around the block, but in the pool.
These thoughts often seem absurd to us, when spoken (or written) aloud.
Obviously, it isn’t as simple as, “one walk = wine and cheese binge” or, “one missed practice = +20 pounds."
But we convince ourselves of outlandish things when we feel the pressure to conform to a standard and a routine that we don’t choose for ourselves.
We justify, blame, and shame. We wholeheartedly believe that our bodies aren’t getting smaller, and, therefore, we are failures.
We can choose another way.
Fitness doesn’t have to be a punishment.
It’s not the Visa for food binges. No debt collectors will come calling.
You’re allowed to move in a way that makes you feel good, simply because it makes you feel good.
You can discover your desires, your fears, your passion, and your power in the gym, all without changing a damn thing about your body if you don’t want to. And you can change and sculpt your body without the current iteration being “bad,” “wrong,” or, “gross,” if you so choose.
It’s all available to you — no cover charge.
PS- one of my go-to workouts when I’m feeling ready to come back to myself:
2-4 sets of 8 moderately heavy squats (KB, goblet, dumbbell, barbell — whatever you’ve got!)
Perform vertically (1 set of each, then go back through and do one more of each):
2 sets of 10 dead bugs
2 sets of 10 rows
2 sets of 10 medicine ball slams
EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 10 minutes:
20 KB swings