4.20.2021

Takeaways from my Imperfect Fitness Journey

Let me preface this post by saying that we are all on our unique and personal "fitness" journeys. I realize that "fitness" can be loosely used to define the condition of someone's physical health, but can be more broadly rejected for its way of standardizing what is determined as "healthy" or "toned" or "strong". For the purposes of this post, the word "fitness" to me is unique to my own experiences with feeling good in my body and the progress that I'm making every day to achieve it. Hence, my "imperfect" fitness journey felt suit to my current feelings about my physicality and overall wellbeing. 

This has been one of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing year for all of us. Days where I would digress into negativity and forget to treat myself well before serving others. I found that what I needed was a new grip on strengthening myself in more ways than one. I lost a part of me that I used to love, cherish, and commit too. But I also gained a part of me that allowed for rest, self-forgiveness, and a moment for me to realign with what truly mattered to me and my body in that given moment. 

Exercise, for one thing, has been a way for me to cope, release these pent up emotions, and do something bigger and better for my body and mental health coming out of a time that was and still is bearing a weight on all that we do. So, my imperfect fitness journey—throughout this year and many years—has brought forth a few honest takeaways. Ones that I hope will inspire the inner warrior in all of us. 

Above all else, commit to yourself 

One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that you have to be your own cheerleader and advocate for the betterment of yourself. It starts with how you envision your best and most healthiest self. Yes, you could scroll on every single fitness guru and influencer's Instagram hoping to manifest whatever good juju they're running on OR you can focus on what will truly help you in reaching realistic and mindful goals you want to achieve. This starts with choices. 

Tiny tiny choices that have big big big impact. Switching sugary cereal with protein packed breakfasts. Choosing water over soda. Getting to bed earlier than usual. Doing one more rep. Or deciding that today is the day you'll go back to the gym. It's all about perspective and active choices you are making in the present moment. But sometimes, these choices are indulging in delicious pasta, having an extra cocktail, sleeping in until noon (or five, you choose), and these choices shouldn't be something you base your "fitness" on but rather how good doing these things make you feel. Check in with yourself, set your limits, establish healthy boundaries and stick to it. Above all else, listen to yourself and do what works for YOU. 

Let Others Lift You Up

The environment that we're in has a remarkable effect on our current feelings about ourselves and what makes us feel good. We all know the saying that the people we surround ourselves with reflect on us and our own self perceptions. But this time, I mean it in a good way. For many, like myself, we've been home alone and remiss of social interactions—positive, motivating, and encouraging social interaction. With REAL people! Whether it be in your inner circle or at work, there are always opportunities to find those select few who will also be your cheerleaders when times are tough. 

Your fitness journey does not have to be a lonely one. You can competitively connect with friends on your Apple watch, social distance run with your dad, or join a virtual fitness group that constantly meets. There are many people trying to also better themselves and feel good, so why should you be alone in the process? In my experience, group workouts and team exercise has been the most empowering when it comes to finding the power within myself to stay motivated, challenged, and to be honest, less bored because of it. I'm rooting for you and so many other people are, too. 

Keep Showing Up
When waking up at 6 in the morning sounds like an utter nightmare, let alone having to run at 6 in the morning. If there's anything I know to be true, it's that no matter what I do and at what energy or motivation level, there is always something to gain from showing up. Knowing that I was able to make time to focus on one part of my body, one mental issue I was dealing with, or zoning out in my tired mind and putting in the work just because I was there and didn't want to waste my membership. It's time to accept that all of your days, workout days, are going to be different. Things are going to hurt, things are going to swell, things are going to ache, but things are also going to feel good as hell. You need to be one with the process and be able to forget achieving perfection and achieve for progress. Taking each new day as a reset button and doing the most you can! 
Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

There will always be fear when it means making yourself vulnerable, specifically pushing your body in ways you never have before. I understand it's different for everyone and is definitely something I constantly feel and face when I'm experiencing a new workout, trying a new yoga pose, or going past a limit I know I may or may not be capable of. What we've learned from this year is that we are afraid of everything that is uncertain to us—isn't that how fear works? To hell with fear! 


We have learned so much this year about how to adapt to uncertainty. At times, getting too comfortable in our bubbles, but mainly because we had to! We are coming out of our cocoons, not really knowing which direction to go in, but yet we go anyway because anywhere is better than that depressing and claustrophobic cocoon of comfort. Take a leap of faith and have trust in yourself and the process. There may be dust in the wind for sure, but getting through it is how you grow into a beautifully independent and empowered butterfly that is you! 


Breathe and Let Be

You are exactly where you were meant to be. Your time will come and it's okay to let yourself take a moment to pause. And do what you need to do in this exact moment. More stretching less pressing, smaller reps, a slower pace, one less mile, and all at one step at a time. You will have moments of doubt, regret, anger, jealousy, you pick your poison. Acknowledge it. Use it. 


Breath has the power to transform your mindset, your strength, and motivation. Use your breath in harmony with and not against your progress to becoming a better you. Scream. Literally scream. You'll feel much better, I swear ;) You are going to have really rough sets, lousy reps, and just outright lazy days. Recognize how it makes you feel. Reflect and use this frustration or self-doubt to drive positive and more considerate thoughts. Breathe in the good and out the bad. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you.

  There is only one way to go—forward. No matter how you get there. Working out and focusing on your personal fitness, however you define it, doesn't have to be justified by measure of appearances or fulfilling a standard of what you "think" being fit is. Ultimately, the goal of reaching your best fitness is treating your body in ways that, at the end of the day, make you feel bubbly inside, smile more, and feeds your soul! 


My fitness journey doesn't speak to everybody's, but if I can lift just one person up to make the next best moves for themself, I hope we can all radiate a collective understanding and tolerance for accepting our truest selves. By becoming vulnerable to our strengths and weaknesses, finding encouraging support systems, and trusting the process of each of our unique and imperfect journeys. 

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