The [Fitness] Mistake I See Every Year

Good Morning! For those of you that celebrate (read: eat and cook lots of things you wouldn’t eat or cook otherwise-honestly, whoTF cooks an entire Turkey in June) this day, have a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m not going to begin a rant about antiquated pseudo-holidays with a muddled history. That one sentence mini-rant was enough. (See what I did there?) Just know that one day a year will never be enough to express proper gratitude for the people and experiences in your life.

Now, after reading that appetizing title, I’m sure you’re salivating for the big reveal. What’s the mistake that so many people make every year (every goddamned year)!? It’s a mistake that manifests many times throughout the year. But, the day after Thanksgiving kicks this mistake into high gear. The mistake is guilt. ‘Tis the season to eat all of the things. Eat everything that you want from apples to artichokes, kale to kumquats, and pies to pussy & poutine (separately or risk one weird mess). *insert Dave Chappelle’s Rick James* “ENJOY YO SELF!”

Meme

When you celebrate (without breaking any laws or jaws) own your pleasure. Guilty guilt is stupid fucking guilt. Dude, you ate a whole pie. Take your favorite book into the library (read: the shitter) and work it out. No guilt.

Here’s where the guilt of enjoying food turns into a fitness mistake. Everyone is quick to claim no regrets, but most people won’t acknowledge the actions they’ve taken out of guilt. I often coach the day after Thanksgiving and there are times when I turn people away. One year, I taught four consecutive exercise classes (because other’s called in sick-I’m not THAT crazy). There were a few people that I turned away for fear of over training. When I asked them why they were trying to workout in a second consecutive high intensity class their answers were both alarming and amusing. All of them expressed some form of guilt around how much they’d eaten on Thursday. They were trying to work it all off by working out twice as hard. WTF!? Yeah, exercise doesn’t work that way. While it may be true that working out more (or with greater intensity) may burn more calories. That doesn’t change the fact that you ate an entire mixing bowl of monkey hips and grits. You run a higher risk of injuring yourself after the most sedentary day of the year, eating, drinking, sitting, talking shit, taking shits, competing with your siblings to see who unbuckles the belt (or finishes the third helping) first, and other gluttonous adventures that you may hold as esteemed traditions.

I often talk to clients about the importance of rest and consistency. If you miss a workout day, don’t guilt yourself into a double workout the following day only to be stuck and stiff in bed the day after. If you miss a day, just stay consistent with the other days of the week. If you consistently miss the same day, change your workout schedule. The same idea applies to the national day of gluttony. Don’t guilt yourself into working harder than you normally would. I’ll be coaching today and tomorrow. I hope that people will be kind to their bodies by not over training. I hope that people will be kind to their spirit and avoid guilt.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! Even though you may feel your abdomen distend, no one has ever gotten fatter due to one meal. [If any sexist family member says, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”, just punch them in their pie hole.] I’m not going to suggest moderation. You’re an adult, you know not to force feed yourself. Your only takeaway from this post should be that guilt tends to be a catalyst for bad decisions. Own your choices, eat that slice of pie, pick up your training on your next scheduled training day without compensating for guilt.

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Have You Started To Love Your Body Yet?

“How does it affect you?” It was a simple question that changed the way I thought (about everyone else). Some years ago, I was blathering on about how that person over there was doing that one thing that was annoying me. My GFATT (Girl Friend At The Time), asked the question that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t remember what I was complaining about. But, I do recall that I was in the habit of expressing (misdirected) anger through criticism of others. That was about a decade ago. I make better use of my energy these days. I still hear her voice in my head, repeating the simple question. I hear it when I make an unnecessary judgment. I hear it when others judge people.

“She is too old to be wearing THAT! I mean come on!” How does it affect you?
“Is he really wearing THOSE pants!?” How does it affect you?
“Is that a man or a woman?” How does it affect you?
“Are you really going to eat THAT?” How does it affect you?
“I hear that they have one of those open marriages!” How does it affect you?

“Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? Controversy.” -Prince

How does it affect you? *spoiler alert* It. Does. Not. None of our judgments of other people’s habits, fashions, lifestyles, sexual orientations, dietary choices, etc. are worth the mental effort. I care if other people smoke, litter, or jaywalk. Those are just a few examples of things that have an indirect effect on my life. But, I have three challenges for you.

First, acknowledge your judgments. Yes, I am judging that person. What insecurity of mine am I using as a weapon with which to judge this person? Perhaps the judgment you make on others is a subconscious judgment you’ve made on yourself. Are you unhappy with your body? Acknowledge that if you find yourself criticizing someone else’s body.

Second, ask yourself the question. How does it affect you? If it doesn’t, then remind yourself that your energy could be focused on much more positive things. Try focusing the energy of judgment on yourself. No, that does not mean that you should judge/criticize yourself in lieu of strangers. It means that you can take that energy and uplift yourself.

Third, uplift others. Find the (aesthetic) good in others. As I walk through any crowd, I find it easier (read: less stressful) to seek the positive in everyone’s appearance and/or disposition. I’m usually the smiling face that’s swimming up stream thinking about what I like about the people I see. I’m not going to type any false sunshine and claim that *insert mocking tone* “I find everyone beautiful in their own special way”. While I can find something that makes me smile in every soul and on every body, there are times that I meet a donkey (read: jack ass) and I choose to keep my distance. Sometimes, I meet someone that has a penis growing out of his forehead *untrue story*. When that happens I remind myself in rhyme, “if I can’t think of anything nice to SAY sometimes it’s best to look AWAY”.

“Have you started to love your body yet?” It’s a question that I ask potential clients. I make it a policy to only accept clients that are focused on long-term fitness, self-love, rehabilitation, and training to be prepared for anything. The saying goes, “workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.” I’m not sure who said it. But, in my experience, I’ve never seen success come from a negative motivator. Will you run faster if a dog is chasing you? No doubt. Should you imagine that a dog is chasing you every time you go for a run? Please don’t. You’ll hate running faster than it will take you to finish a mile. Love your body, love your effort, love your motivation.

The most beautiful people I’ve ever seen were naked. Every so often, I find myself in a “clothing optional” environment. In those environments, I see self- love whenever someone sheds their clothes. The nudists realize that nothing on their body will affect the eye of the beholder. How will it affect them? The nudist gives zero fucks. In that apathy, I see beauty. The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive. I’d like to re-type that, “The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive.” You can’t just say, “I know I look good, Honey!” No, you must live, breathe, and embody self-love. Have you ever met a confident human with a strong will and positive self-esteem? If you have, then you know what I mean. That human is s-e-x-y. Not because of hair color, fashion sense, height, weight, muscular definition, or any other aesthetic. Nope. That human is attractive because they have no self-doubt. They hear the phrase “clothing optional” and rejoice in the freedom of nudity. The nudists are those humans that don’t concern themselves with the judgments of others. Now, before you assume that all of these nudists, to whom I refer, fit into some societal standard of beauty check yourself. The majority of the naked people that I’ve seen at these resorts would never be asked to grace the cover of a magazine. However, they were the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen because they found themselves attractive enough to not be concerned by the opinion of others.

The never-nudes were the odd balls. Walking through a group of naked people with your clothes on highlights your insecurities. There are many places you can visit with clothing requirements. Why make the journey to a place (that’s not easy to find) just to leave your clothes on? One person even wore a sweater… in August. This person wore a goddamned sweater! How did it affect me? It didn’t. I just found it confusing. Being beautiful begins (and ends) with self-love. Have you started to love your body yet? Have you taken the time to celebrate your naked and lovely body in the mirror? Well, maybe it’s time that you found yourself sexy. Just a thought.