For my whole life, as long as I can remember, in the entire history of “Michelle Does Exercise,” I’ve been drawn to heat.
Fire. Intensity. Sweat.
If I ran, I ran as fast and as far and as often as I could. I’d run a 5k, fly somewhere and run four legs of a 200 mile relay then come home and knock out an obstacle race the next weekend.
If I lifted, I lifted as much as I possibly could, as quickly as I was able to, and with very little aptitude at form. Just do it. Get the weight up. Finish the task. Wipe the sweat. Cover the blisters. Repeat.
If I practiced, I practiced expansively. For every pose offered, I’d go as deep and far as I knew how, and if I didn’t know how, I’d try anyway until I could. I’d suggest others take rest when they practiced, and refuse to offer my own body that same reprieve.
I’d warm up for practice with a workout and chase it with a run. Because… I could? Because it was a storyline I felt safe in repeating.
“I’m tough. I’m strong. I am not a quitter. I got this. Pain is just weakness leaving the body. . .”
Only, actually, pain was my body, telling me when it was weak.
Fitness offers so much possibility — it feels good, it’s fun, progress is easy to see, it makes so many other things in life accessible and easier, and, to be honest, it’s something I’ve always just been, “good” at doing, if that can be a thing.
Except, of course, what is good? Or rather, what’s good enough?
When does the target stop moving? What is the real end goal? Every moment of pride from reaching a new PR has been immediately be followed with a “now what? What’s next? Where do I go after this?”
Fitness became a test with no sustainable reward. Constant dissatisfaction, and completely void of compassion.
That’s missing the whole fucking point.
It’s supposed to feel good, from the inside out. To connect to the present, to the body, to what’s going on up there in that space between your ears. Fitness is supposed to be about caring for your body.
Not beating it up. Not pushing it into a corner, scolding it for not going fast enough and then punishing it for not being as thin/strong/flexible/ as it was “supposed to be.”
I am not a professional athlete, I do not get paid for being a certain size or following a certain regimen, and I don’t want to. The only motivation I want to bring into my daily movement is
to feel good.
That will look different from day to day. It might mean a good long hard run, or it might mean yin yoga. It might mean strength training, or it might be a leisurely bike ride. It might look like a day on the slopes, or it could be a family walk. It might mean a whole class based on arm balances, or it might be, maybe, a whole class in child’s pose.
What it won’t look like, is hurt.
Hurt is different than pain; one invites judgment, the other, growth. One risks injury, the other identifies edges. One strikes, the other speaks.
Fitness isn’t supposed to hurt. Hurt doesn’t feel good. Fitness, is supposed to FEEL GOOD.
This year, I’m listening, I’m redefining my fitness, and I’m committing to feeling good.
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