Lately I’ve been contemplating fitness and what it means to me and wondering why I love it so much, even though these days I am working out alone in my basement.
Fitness to me has always meant being healthy, feeling good and having the ability to physically do whatever I want whenever I want. Sometimes that means training harder for a specific goal, or pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. It’s also about learning new things, trying to perfect them, working hard, and becoming better. But more importantly, it’s fun and involves new adventures that I can share with the people I love. It gives me strength and a sense that I can endure life when things are hard. It’s at the core of who I am. It gives me purpose and peace of mind that I am preparing for my future as I age. It’s one of my top priorities and the ultimate investment.
Almost 20 years ago I started on a life changing fitness journey when I went to Optimum Performance Training. I was always sporty, but after University I didn’t know know what to do and how to stay fit. Then luckily one day, my soon to be husband, set me up with a trainer. At the time it was just this guy, James FitzGerald, in his basement gym writing programs and training people like me. However, I found out later, it was so, so much more.
Being a creative person, I always found it difficult to embrace structure and routine. I remember James sitting down with me and marking on a calendar what days I was going to workout and what workouts I would do. Even that was overwhelming. It took a couple months (or maybe years) of struggling and being embarrassed by my lack of commitment, but I came around. It wasn’t easy, but I learned to be accountable. Definitely the backbone for success in anything.
Marriage, jobs and 2 babies later I’m still committed to my programs and workouts. James has moved on to new adventures, but lucky for me I inherited his brother, Michael Fitzgerald as my coach. I think the reason I love going so much is he pushes me to see my potential and capabilities. He forces me to be humble and learn new things, despite my lack of coordination and awkwardness.
Another reason I love fitness so much is it allows me to express myself. It’s more than just moving and getting your feelings out. Self-expression is actually defined as “the way that we share ourselves”. A great quote I found that sums it up is “freedom in allowing yourself to move in accordance with how you decide to move – creating your own flow and routine” DR. Mark Cheng. There’s so many feelings tied up in movements. From strength to vulnerability, weakness, pain and extreme feelings of elation. All of these emotions can be triggered in a workout, like a dance or a piece of music.
Fitness really is more than just being physically fit and healthy. It’s a journey. It has led me to discover myself and my values. I think we are all searching to find meaning in life. What is meaningful to you or where do you find meaning in your life? Does it connect you to others? Does it connect you to yourself? What does it tell you about who you are? I feel fitness connects me to the deepest part of myself. Show up. Commit. Work Hard. Sometimes shit is hard, but you have to persist. If you expect things to always be easy, doesn’t that make you entitled?
“Life matters because we exist within and among living things, as part of an enduring and incomprehensible chain of existence. Sometimes life is brutal, but meaning is derived from perseverance. The Tao says, “One who persists is a person of purpose.”” Ephrat Livni
Fitness is about getting in touch with who you are. Moreover, it’s about investing in yourself. And seeing that you are capable of so much more. I guess to sum it up, fitness allows me to connect to the best parts of myself and in return I feel good and am hopefully paving the road for a long healthy life. Like my Dad always use to say “A sound body is a sound mind.”
What does it mean to you?