While I am still committed to not letting this blog become a ‘fitness’ blog, certain thoughts related to the subject have been invading my mind. As a person who finds it nearly impossible to just ignore thoughts, I feel it important to write them out. So, here goes:
First of all, at the end of the day, what’s the point? Not of being ‘active’ but of actual, routine exercise? Let’s face it, this whole concept of ‘exercising’ is pretty new when considering the span of time – I highly doubt homo erectus, Greek philosophers, or the Queen of England ever said: ‘well, okay… hunting and gather/entomological discussion/the ruling of England will just have to wait forty-five minutes… I need to get my daily run in’. Yet, should we look at all these individuals, we see not their weight, nor the fitness level, but we see a person (or, a person with a slightly predominant brow and very little forehead).
With the exclusion of the nomad who undoubtedly got his work out in chasing after food and weapon resources, it would appear the physical fitness was not in the forefront of these individual’s minds. True, we cannot say with full certainty that, but I feel pretty confident that even in the event that they did partake in physical activity, it was less about their overall physical appearance and more to do with their way of life. Or, in other words, actively living.
Yet, today, we’ve created machines… timers… counters… monitors, in order to measure how ‘active’ we are. I just don’t get it. While I know I am not really one to talk (actively participating in planned and scheduled workouts), lately while down there I can not help but ask myself: why?
As a result of my past, I have made a commitment to myself: if I can not answer why I am doing some form of exercise, I have to stop doing it. The reason for this is quite simple, if you have no goal in mind, no reason for partaking in something, you’re just… going through the motions, right? And furthermore, if you have not benefit you’re trying to attain in an activity, you are probably only doing it because you think you must. Another example of this could be going to University, without an idea of what you want to do. You simply go because you want to fit into society’s mold of what is or is not acceptable.
So, for the past week or some, the moment I think: why am I doing this? I stop. There are three forms of exercise that I have been able to answer each time:
Why am I doing this?
Yoga: mind and body connection
You probably knew this one would be first. If you did not, well, shame on you. During my low points, the only thing that made me feel at all blissful was yoga. The moves, the connection of breath, the feeling of strength without force. There is a certain grace to yoga, that I love. Yoga is one thing I do not only for my body, but for my mind. I feel beautiful when I do yoga. Me… I feel beautiful.
I hate weights. Well, heavy ones. I can’t explain why, I just do not care for them. They’re so… well, heavy. First of all, they’re hard to pick up. Then, after that I’m expected to nearly set them down just to lift them up again? What kind of self-inflicted torture is that? Furthermore, I really don’t get any kind of a rush or thrill in doing it. Barre exercises (which usually consist of 2-4lb weights) on the other hand…
First of all, I love isometric training. I am not going to get into the science of it, but essentially, it’s a lot of strength through stillness (which is disciplinary) and small movements (which enable to attack smaller, less reachable muscles). For me, a balance of barre workouts and yoga is ideal. I love the feeling of working my muscles to fatigue, just… in a much more delicate fashion. Barre3, BodyBarre, CoreFushion and Ballet Beautiful are my favorites, however. I think the reason why I’ve become so… enthralled in the barre movement is because of the message it sends out to women: it isn’t about being skinny, it isn’t about being strong… it’s about being balanced, healthy and comfortable in your own skin. I love it. This is the message I not only want to send to others, but the one I want to focus on myself.
Moderate-level aerobic activity (light jog, brisk walk, brisk biking)
I used to be addicted to HIITs. Not because I liked them, but because I hate cardio and feel I need it. Of course, I do; everyone needs cardio. But not everyone needs HIIT. HIIT is a great way to burn fat fast. Me, I don’t need to burn fat at all. After several months of doing HIIT, I decided to ask myself why I was going SO hard. I could not answer the question. Was I trying to burn fat? No. Am I an endurance athlete looking to improve? Really no. So, why? I also discovered that I enjoyed my down times a lot more than anything else. I would look at my interval timer and see :10 left on my low interval and think ‘aww shit’. In my low intervals, my heart right would be up at a comfortable pace and I would be enjoying the moves, without feeling… pressured.
So, I stopped doing HIITs.
I think this is an exercise that, in so many ways, will help me to become the person I truly want to be. I guess all I am trying to convey is that… before working out, make sure you know why you’re doing it, okay? And from there, ensure that your reasons follow the word ‘want’, rather than’ need’.