Thinking you might join a gym to get in shape this year? Know this: Reported by Men’s Health and according to a study by the University of Arkansas, the number of injuries sustained at the gym in recent years has increased by a whopping 35%. That’s a lot of hurt hammies…
There is an epidemic poisoning the idea of fitness today, and it’s one that puts our minds, our bodies, and most importantly our intention at risk.
When was the last time you saw an advertisement to join a gym? Did the ad tell you that ‘Now is the time!’ ‘Stop making excuses!’ ‘Get into the ‘game’ of being fit, and you’ll be sexy and happy!’ All of these messages ask us to buy into one simple truth:
That we should be at war with our own bodies.
Since when did we divorce our mind from our bodies, making the two enemies? Since when did we begin believing we have to force our bodies to join a gym, hurt through workouts, burn and push and lift till it aches, and don’t you dare think about giving in to what your body says in the process? (like: “ouch” or “I hate this”). As a result, the most natural of conditions have become sinful: women’s bodies are no longer allowed to have curvacious hips that help bear children, breasts are no longer allowed to change form (well, droop actually) from age 20 on. In that sense, the new credo behind ‘being fit’ seems to go against evolution. Telling our bodies not to age or how or where to hold on to weight is about as sensical as telling the earth not to be round anymore because square is so much sexier. It begs the question: if ‘being fit’ is so important, then why aren’t we asking what we’re being fit for anymore?
But health and fitness doesn’t have to be this way, another reason you reconsider before you join a gym. If we refocus our approach to ‘health’ as the practice that gives us the vibrance and energy to experience our lives, we give ourselves the potential and permission to praise our bodies rather than punish them.
Fitness routines that are focused on attaining perfection exclusively set us up for failure. Because perfection relies on there being a single right outcome, we set our sights on becoming something we can never be: like anyone else. There’s a reason they call it sample size: it’s the size of ‘the mold’, or the static, never changing and very predictable example. And it’s as boring as a narrow highway through the Badlands.
Conversely, routines that are focused on preparing our bodies for the demands of our ideal lives allows us to enjoy our existence more, and hate our trainers less. That might mean making us strong enough to lift up our children, take long meditative walks, or be intimate with someone we love well into our golden years. In this mode of thought, fitness is not only a preparatory activity, but a praising one. Every workout becomes an act of gratitude for the life we have, and to our beautiful, unique bodies for allowing us to experience it.
And why do you deserve to feel happy instead of like a rat on a never-ending treadmill? Because you are gorgeous. Because your body is gorgeous too. Because you are sexy, and beautiful, and fierce and feminine and more than enough exactly as you are right now. Because you don’t need to be perfect, because you are better than perfect, you are one-of-a-kind, unique, and drop dead irresistible. Because that body you’re working out, the one that looks incredible in your favorite jeans and can seduce like no one else in a pair of red pumps, that body deserves to be enjoyed. Yes, you deserve that!
In blunt but honest terms, the body you reside in was created to exist, reproduce, and pass away. The time in between these acts are left up to you. And the fact that your body is able to do any of these three acts is a miracle. It is the universe saying “I’ve created life in this physical form so that it can have time to dance upon the earth.” And happily, you can treasure that body as the universe coming together to create form, and honor that gift by treating it well.
As Eckhart Tolle once wrote:
Keep your body strong enough to move to your own rhythm, and make your dance one of joy.