I have started this post 3 times and can’t find the right words. Seldom do I feel judged about my fitness choices or workout routines. I also try my very best to make no judgments about the choices others make, especially when I’m at work. I know everyone is on a different “path” and have all come to fitness for different reasons. Some people are looking for strength others for stretch, some want to relax while others want to socialize. We are all at different places seeking for various results and some of us will be on the trail longer then others… for some it will be a steep climb while for others an enjoyable stroll. The fact is that we are all working to better ourselves and only we can do that. Where we are on the path is not always clear but with support and encouragement from those around us, we will succeed and have amazing results.
Something I’ve almost always loved about working in the fitness community is the built in support system. Not everyone but most people will share a supportive nod or wave when passing on the running trail… a nice compliment after class… or a commiserating smile while in SPIN class. For those that partake in this “fitness karma” it’s a community and a way of life. We know it’s hard but we are all there doing our best and we are all getting through it, together. It feels good to support and be supported by others around us.
Sure, I’ve worked in the posh gym environment where everyone walks around in their LuLuLemon outfits (not slamming Lulu, I love their stuff!), the body builders strut so pumped up they can’t put their arms by their sides, and the men show off their trophy wives while discussing which country club they will be golfing at that weekend. Yes, these can be the less friendly places to be… but in the dead of winter when you are out for a 6 mile run along a one way path of packed ice, wearing more layers then you know what to do with (and none of them match) and a runner coming the opposite way shouts “keep it up, great job”, it feels pretty good. That’s the only other person you pass that day and you both know what a brutal but rewarding run it was.
I digress, where was I going with this?
Oh yes- so I work in yoga and mindful fitness and I see people of all ages, walks of life, and fitness levels taking all kinds of classes.
A few weeks ago I had a very interesting experience that I haven’t been able to shake.
I show up at work and discuss with one co-worker her great bike ride that morning and my TRX class that weekend. Now, I don’t bike very much and she hasn’t done a TRX class- so we are talking about very different things but can easily relate to the heat, the work, and the reward after. A third coworker pipes up… this is where it gets good.
“Oh my god!” she says, “You do TRX? You take that class? TRX, isn’t it like so hard and like it hurts your upper body? That’s like, so much work. It like, works your arms and like really hurts.” Her face says it all, the disgust of the thought, as she grips her biceps in figurative pain, and keeps talking… “I can’t believe you do that. It’s so bad, like, it really hurts your arms and, like, is a lot of work and like, you sweat.”
I shut it down quick and retreat into my office. I can’t listen to it. It’s perfectly fine to say “wow that’s intense, I couldn’t take a class like that but it’s intense that you do” or just keep your mouth shut…
Yes, I LOVE taking TRX class. I LOVE going for a 6-10 mile run. I LOVE sweating and hurting like crazy. Cause you know what? The sweat washes right off and the pain only lasts a few days but the results last much longer.
And I don’t care if it’s not for you. If you find your best self in a restorative yoga class- amazing! I want you to know I’m not going to stop you after class and say, “Oh gosh, you take that class? It’s like SO boring and like you hardly move. Like, I don’t understand how anyone could do that”. (I would never say this anyway because I TAKE restorative yoga at least once a week for by body and sanity)…. but the point is made. I hope.
When I was at the beach earlier this summer the best thing- even more then the sun and my resulting tan, the phone free time, or the air-conditioned abode- it was by body. For the first time in a long time I felt really confident in my bikini. THAT makes all the pain and sweat and cursing under my breath in TRX and on long runs all worth it. And I get to thank myself for that.
I love being strong. It’s a point of pride when I can life more weight then the men around me and seemingly feel more confident in my body then most women my age. That I have bicep and tricep definition as well as abs. That I’m not mousy and can carry myself with confidence- cause I know if you come at me, I can (and will) defeat myself. That I can carry my bag and do my own projects. This is why I work out, why I strive to better myself and develop the best version of me.
Closing words to wrap up this insightful little rant? Let me do me and I’ll let you do you. At the end of the day we all got up and out to do something for ourselves, no matter what that is.
What do you do for yourself? Rant and share!