Is fitness fun?
This week as I hit the gym and the street for my own personal training, I couldn’t help but reflect on my relationship with fitness, both at the high performance level and now for my own personal goals. I have always LOVED working out. My motivation and drive to be better has allowed me to have a positive relationship with training – something that I recognize cannot be taken for granted. I know many people who only work out because they have to or feel poorly about themselves and see no other options. In my opinion, there are two sides to this story (maybe more). I have experienced both personally so hopefully can provide some insight.
On one end we have high performance athletes. Their job is to perform well at their designated sport. Resistance training and conditioning is something that comes along with that if the athletes want to reach that next level of competition. I have played with and witnessed multiple athletes in the gym complain, dreading workouts and not giving 100% during training sessions. But, give them a ball, stick, glove or whatever equipment and the intensity rises. Some athletes see training as a burden, wasting beloved time that could be spent on the court, field, or ice. However, what those athletes forget is that this training will help translate into improved performance on game day and help them recover faster and remain injury free. I was never one of these athletes. I embraced training. I recognized that if I wanted to give myself the opportunities to be the best I could be, training would be a part of my life. Some say that you don’t need to love every minute of the grind but to remember to focus on the end result of success and being the absolute best. If that is what gets athletes into the gym training, then go for it! For me, I recognized the hard work put in the gym is part of the journey to be the best and made sure that as much as I was being pushed I embraced it, giving my all, and loving every minute of it.
On the other end, we have those who have personal fitness and health goals. Maybe to lose weight, maybe run their first 5km race. Whatever it might be, these people, although might be competitive, are typically more recreational and train by personal choice. Now that I don’t play varsity field hockey, I fall into this category. Again, I LOVE anything fitness related. Whether it is teaching, doing weights in my condo gym, or attending a group fitness class with a girlfriend, I am there. Not only as an instructor, but a participant too, I feel amazing afterwards on the inside and out, and provide myself a space to escape whatever stressors are affecting me. It is my time to myself to do me and worry about nothing else.
It all seems easy, right? Go for a run, come back, feel great, repeat. But, I recognize that for most, initiating the actual getting up and going to the gym or out for a run can be a struggle. I also recognize that not everyone uses fitness as the same outlet for looking and feeling great like I do, but maybe because they lack confidence either on the inside or out and/or see it as a drag, or as the only option to change that. If you are reading this and thinking that is you, it’s okay. You are not alone, but, it is time you shift your attitude towards thinking something more positive.
To start, each and every one of us must accept ourselves for where we are at this exact moment. I have said this before, but if we don’t love ourselves now, it won’t matter how we change, because we will always have those negative feelings lingering. Now, make fitness fun. I know as high performance athletes it can’t always be fun and games and hard work must be put in, but gather your teammates to help push each other to those goals. Maybe it starts by finding a group fitness class you enjoy going to with friends. Find what drives you and run with it. Regardless of where you are at, whether you are a high performance athlete or just trying to make it to the gym 2 times a week, fitness should hold a positive space in your life. The benefits are endless physically, mentally, and emotionally. I live every day happy and healthy knowing that fitness holds a positive space in my life and I can use it as a tool to help maintain my positive mindset and outlook on life.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.