I talk to a lot of people about fitness on Twitter, Facebook and in Real Life. I’m hearing more and more about how people lose enthusiasm for exercising because they don’t see results fast enough or how they stop running completely if they don’t have a race to train for.
I’m hearing this and I can sort of understand but I cannot relate. I must be a total nut job. I love to be active, despite the fact that my body shape hasn’t really changed much since I took up running 4 years ago or Crossfit 19 months ago (6 years of daily cycling in Australia before either of those activities took care of most of my excess pounds from my early 20s). I still love going to Crossfit and I always run a few times a week, whether I have race to train for or not.
Some days I almost think that I need goals, I need to take before and after photos, I need targets, I need to ‘go hard, or go home’… but then I chill out and shrug all of that off because it just isn’t me. I do push myself hard when I know I’m capable of it but there are many days when I run really slowly because my body and/or mind needs it like that, or I don’t go for the Rx weights in Crossfit because I don’t want to run the risk of injuring myself if I don’t feel ready for those weights.
Slow and steady is my game. Enjoying whatever I’m doing is my game. Improvements do come but slowly (I ran for the first 3 years at essentially the same pace, only in the last year have I started to speed up), muscles do get stronger but slowly (it’s taken me 19 months to be able to do one strict chin up).
I don’t really have a problem with that. I’m not in any rush, really, life is long.
Last week I had a bit of a vanity Jane moment and I posted a picture of my midriff on Instagram. I probably shouldn’t have done it, I know pictures of abs make most people cringe but like I said – vanity Jane. People commented that I should be proud of all the hard work that’s gone into it and I got thinking – it does feel nice to finally not feel like my insides are falling out every time I lie down on my side (which I felt like for a long time after I had had my second baby – no core strength whatsoever) but a sixpack has never been my goal (and I’m very far from it). My hope has been that one day I won’t feel like total mush in the middle and like I’m about to spill my guts (literally) when I lie down. I’m pretty much there now. Five and a half years after my youngest child was born.
But like I said – there is no rush and I don’t believe in fast.
Fast weight loss is not sustainable (been there, done that), wanting to run fast after just a few months will probably lead to injury, as will jumping head first into weight training and wanting killer traps (P.S. love traps :)) after a month.
For me there’s so much joy in just plodding along slow and steady, just enjoying the journey and not fretting about the destination.
That has to be the corniest sentence I have ever written but it’s so freaking true – I think more of us need to remember that we actually are pretty perfect just the way we are. We can always get stronger or faster but there is no rush, there is no deadline.
If we use and treat our bodies well every day, then we’ll enjoy being in them every day and one day we’ll look back and realise that we have actually become stronger or faster but the journey’s been so much fun that it’s kind of crept up on us and who doesn’t like surprises? :) (I personally wouldn’t mind the surprise of waking up one day and realising that I look like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet ;)*
What do you think? Did my ramble make any sense to you?
*I’m joking! I know it will not happen and I’m ok with that.