I Burn Calories.
I Have Fun.
It's a Movement Practice.
How we choose to identify our movement practice can play a role in how much we enjoy what we do and our happiness. For years, I trained to be faster and more agile. Then after competing as an athlete, I started to focus more on quantity over quality. Before I knew it, my enjoyment to move evolved into an obsession of tallying up calories, how high I could get my heart rate and how deserving I was of food.
The more time I spend in the “fitness industry” the more my definition of health and exercise migrate more towards my values and away from phrases like “no pain, no gain”. Think of it this way, our values set the stage for our life. They're not only the building blocks, but the infrastructure that keep us supported. Therefore, the more closely we live in accordance to our values system, the happier and more fulfilled we’ll be.
For instance, if my values are based around kindness and compassion, yet everyday I head to the gym to “grind out” a workout regardless of how tired I am. Am I really living in alignment with my values? Certainly NOT. Now imagine repeating that cycle day in and day out?
The constant clashing of who we want to be, with our reality is what often leaves many of us frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious, more stressed and unhappy.
So why is it important to consider how we label our movement practice?
Well, I’d like to think of it as Step 1.
If we start by swapping out words like exercise, working out, sweating or even the phrase kicking my butt with other phrases like moving, practicing, playing, or having fun, we give ourselves the opportunity to associate a positive connection with “exercise” and a window to see how our values fit with how we train. Am I practicing? Am I having fun? Am I learning?
I’d encourage you to take a moment to think about how you label your movement practice. Maybe it’s a combination of playing and training? Maybe it’s simply for pursuit of a higher heart rate and feeling sweaty?
However you are choosing to call it, just remember that there is nothing wrong with how you label your movement practice. However, I would encourage you to be mindful of words driven by fear, guilt, shame or punishment. Exercise, working out, playing, and moving are all beautiful ways to experience the world via our body.
Therefore, the next time you tell a friend you’re going to go “exercise”, try saying “I’m going to go have fun”.
Below is a quick movement practice I did in December. My body felt like moving. So I spent 30 minutes with my body and a kettlebell exploring different ranges of motion. Each session, I aim to learn what my body is saying and how it needs to move for that day. A practice. Sometimes my practice can be practicing learning how to listen to my body, practice learning how to mobilize a joint better, practice positive self talk during a session. A practice, so that I am always a student and always learning.