Ronda Rousey was recently on Jimmy Fallon and the photo that was released for promos was retouched. The photo editor made her biceps smaller because God forbid a woman who kicks butt for a living actually have muscles. With every magazine and media outlet encouraging us to have flat abs, blast our cellulite and have buns of steel, its hard not to think of working out as a means to achieve this ideal body. But is that what fitness is even about? Working out and any type of activity is never going to get you the body you see on a cover of a magazine because that body is no one’s actual body. It is so airbrushed and changed to this super fake thing that none of us are ever going to achieve with out the help of Adobe. We will always be able to find the imperfections in our tissues, the blemishes here and there; things that only we notice and can see, but that will continually bother us. what if fitness wasn’t about trying to have a better body? Because I’ll never have the body of a model on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I think fitness is more than that.
A video by Mike Vacanti has been circulating on the internet about why fitness matters and Mike could not be more right. The reason why I work out and stay active is not so that I can have washboard abs, which genetically, I’m never going to have, and I’m ok with that. Its also not so I’ll have a smaller anything because that’s just not going to happen. I’m also ok with that!
I work out and move my body daily so that I can keep moving. As we age, shriveling up and wasting away is not an inevitable future that awaits us all – it’s a reflection of how much you move. If you look at people who move and challenge their bodies throughout their entire life, they stay fit and active. They are not an anomaly! It is possible for everybody. Plain and simple, if you move your body for ever, you will retain the ability to keep moving. We need to expand our idea of what fitness entails – its not just going to the gym and lifting weights, but moving your body through space in as many different ways as possible and challenging yourself daily. Fitness is about being able to live the life that you want to live, to do the things that you want to do, and to do all of them pain free.
Gravity is inevitable, and we’re always going to have to work against it, so why not be strong enough so that gravity is not an obstacle? Why not be strong enough so getting up off your chair or off the toilet isn’t a struggle? Getting up off the toilet or out of your chair is nothing more than half of a body weight squat – a human movement that you were able to do as a child but have perhaps lost from lack of use.
Instead of a half squat being the greatest physical challenge you exert yourself to each day, what about a squat with 10 lbs or 5 lbs? Or maybe you just focus on your alignment and squat down to pick something up or send a quick text message? Maybe you do it because you want to maintain full range of motion in your hips, ankles and knees (which it does!).
Fitness is not about a rocking bod, because we’re never going to be satisfied with what we have when the media keeps forcing us to believe that this unattainable ideal is what we should all be trying to achieve. Move because it allows you to do the things you want to do and feel awesome in your skin.
I work out and I lift weights because it makes me feel awesome to live in my skin knowing the things I am capable of doing. I’m no different from you – you too are capable! I also have excuses of why I can’t move, but movement is a priority for me and now I the opposite is not an option.
In the traditional sense of the word “fitness” I only go to the gym about 2 hours a week. Yes, I workout and lift weights, but I also sit on the floor as much as possible and I monitor my posture at all times. The other 166 hours a week I am moving (or sleeping), which is 100% more important than torturing yourself on the elliptical for 20 minutes. Just moving your DNA through space in a ton of different ways gives your cells and tissues the signals they need to stay healthy. Not sure what I mean? Here’s an awesome interview with Katy Bowman, a biomechanist who wrote a book called Move Your DNA that should be required reading for all humans, in a video interview where she talks about how exercise is not movement.
Make movement your priority – and it doesn’t have to only happen at a gym with your gym clothes on. You can move when you’re on the phone. You can move in the kitchen. Just move. It truly can be as simple as that.
Enjoy the video below and let me know what you think. What does fitness mean to you? Why do you stay active? If you’re not active, what is keeping you from living the life you want to live?
- February 28: Banish Back Pain (Yoga Vibe at the Village, Glendale CA)
- March 12: The Roll Model® Method: The Science of Rolling (CrossFit SolCity, Hollywood CA)
- March 20: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Unfold Yoga, Brea CA)
- April 2: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Yoga Soup, Santa Barbara CA)
- April 3: The Roll Model® Method: The Science of Rolling (Yoga Soup, Santa Barbara CA)
- May 15: Chew on This! A TMJ Tune Up (Yoga Vibe at the Village, Glendale CA)