Fitness is not a box we have to fit into.

I’ve been reflecting a little on my fitness journey. And one VERY simple element is becoming more apparent . . . . . our ideas of fitness are now forever changing and that is quite frankly amazing. When I first joined the gym, my idea of ‘gym people’ was either olympic weight lifting or a gruelling hour pounding on the treadmill with no options in-between. Now my ideas couldn’t be more different!

Fitness and Health are More Than Squats and Broccoli 

The fitness industry often portrays that if you’re a ‘gym person’ this is what you ‘do’ and this is what you ‘look’ like. But more and more my approach to fitness is becoming increasingly fluid. (And this applies to health in general!). Sleep, hydration, stress, relationships, work and many other aspects of our lives are often forgotten about when we look at our levels of fitness and health. I often go through times when my gym training isn’t going very well, despite eating well. Then after taking a step back I realise I’ve been significantly lacking good quality sleep or I’ve  been stressing over a situation, so it’s likely my body hasn’t been recovering how it should! Everything is interlinked and therefore everything is important. 

9F9CD5C5-4A03-45C2-900F-F8AC7427C70DFitness and Health are Individual

Fitness and health are not defined by training 5 times a week and living on a diet of chicken, rice and broccoli. If one day I feel like doing a high volume hypertrophy legs session and eating (my idea of) optimally I will. The next day I might feel like doing Yoga in my lounge, or I might go for a walk to get some fresh air and increase my steps. Not one type of fitness is superior over another, (other than the obvious athletes -if you’re a footballer, I don’t think playing golf will do much for your goal scoring abilities I’m afraid!!). – But all in all, for little ol’ me with fitness goals revolving around getting some headspace and enjoyment from the gym or my chosen exercise for the day, specificity principles don’t really apply.

Moving however, is of course very important for both exercise and physical activity purposes, which can have a positive impact on not only our physical health but also play a major role in our mental health. (See here for my previous post on Exercise for the Mind and Body) The American College of Sports Medicine recommended 30-60 minutes a day/ 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise and >2 strength sessions in addition to maintaining flexibility  -but HOW you meet these guidelines is up to YOU!!) . If attending box fit classes 3 times a week helps to exhale work stress and release endorphins then ding ding ding, round 1 lets go! If yoga and pilates are more your frequency great, your core strength will be unbeatable! Orrrrrr if like me you just like a bit of everything and love trying out new things there’s nothing wrong with doing Cross Fit on Monday, Hot yoga Tuesday, the gym Wednesday, Aqua classes Thursday and Combat MMA Friday, just do whatever you enjoy. My main point is LOVE whatever you choose to do to be your own kind of healthy, because everyone is an individual and health isn’t the same for everyone.

Defining Health

Back to the many aspects of health and how the fitness industry is less about fitting into boxes. The definition of health from The World Health Organisation is….

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

This definition reminds me of the holistic approach I believe we should be taking to our own health. There are five main aspects to holistic health;

  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Social

I’ll save an explanation of holistic health for another post, but in the meantime all in all this was just a little reminder that we don’t need to be trying to fit into fitness boxes or categories. Do exercise you enjoy. Move more. Eat well. Sleep better. Stress less. Be mindful.

Love J xoxo

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