Life itself is a mixture of power and form, and will not bear the least excess of either. To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
aka no quick fixes. don't get me wrong - we ALL want easy. if that damn EASY button was a real thing, our lives would all be so much better. but there isn't. and even though we really really really want one, it's just not realistic. this is where i could digress into all the alternate reality bullshit, but i won't. but i will say, there are things that are verifiably true - and then there other things that we WISH were true, but arguably are not. and just so i stay in my lane here - i am going to just talk about fitness/exercise myths - for fun :)
Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
let me start with this overall truth.....you are NEVER done. there is no finish line. the finish line is dead. until that point, you need to move your body consistently. period. you do not have to work out like a crazy person, unless that is your thing. but you don't get to a certain place, and go "ok, now i'm done". because the minute you stop, you starting UNDOING all the good things that exercise does for you. does that suck? sure. but its just true. fitness is not a "phase". it is your life's work. if you want to age in such a way that you can live to play with your grandchildren, or rescue dogs, or just be mobile and self sufficient you must move your body consistently over time. PERIOD.
now i know it seems somewhat self-serving to say that, as a fitness business owner. but for the vast majority of my adult life this WASN'T my job. it's a passion - and always has been. but not many people know why. so here is the most honest answer you will ever get - i workout so that i do not end up sitting in a wheelchair in my 90s because i can no longer support my body weight. that's it. i'm throwing my Great Aunt June under the bus here, but she is a big part of what keeps me motivated. Aunt June lived well into her 90s, just like most of the other women in my family. we have longevity - which is awesome. but she was sedentary her whole life. office job, played the piano - and was an overall lovely human. one of the nicest women to ever live, as a matter of fact. but she was also a bit heavy. now i am not sure when that started to happen to Aunt June, all i know is that my entire adult life, i watched her get larger and less mobile. and by less mobile, i mean unable to get up and down. if she fell (which she did quite a bit), my dad would have to drive to her house to pick her up. and i vowed that that would never be me. THAT is what keeps me moving. sure, there are lots of other things i love about fitness and working out. my community saves my sanity. but the day in day out reason i work out is so that i do not become jabba the hut. is that extreme? sure. but it's true. we all take our heath for granted. it is not guaranteed - and we need to work for our longevity.
Moderate exercise is indispensable; exercise till the mind feels delight in reposing from the fatigue. ~Socrates
now for the more fun ones: working out will get rid of my belly flab. nope. there are a million reasons to exercise, but your belly flab is a direct result of the amount of food (or wine) you ingest. it could also have to do with hormones or medication or any number of other things. and when you are 20, maybe the gym can burn off those excess calories and you MIGHT see a change. but once you are a bit older and maybe have had a kid or two, this no longer really works. we have all heard the adage that abs are made in the kitchen. true. 100%. if you work out everyday but drink 2 bottles of wine every night, your belly flab is not going anywhere. it's all a balance. exercise is to make you STRONGER. your heart healthier - and maybe, eventually give you some definition (if that is what you are going for). but no one magically gets rid of their gut just thru exercise. what exercise DOES it motivate you to eat better. it usually (hopefully) goes hand in hand. so yes, you see results from the gym. and often amazing results. but i am gonna guess it was some combination of exercise and food.
tricep pushbacks (or extensions - take your pick) will fix my arm jelly. nope. you can do kickbacks with 5lb dumbbells til the cows come home. will they EVENTUALLY help, sure. but im going to bet that you give up way before you see the results you want. you cant spot fix shit. if you have flabby arms, you also probably have some flab someplace else. you need to tone it ALL. holistic approach all the way. my biggest personal pet peeve is all the "fitspo" experts out there telling you that "all you need is 10 mins a day" to have perfect arms/abs/legs/butts by doing these "simple" exercises. now there is a TEENY TINY portion of the population that is actually naturally thin. THESE people might be able to get some definition with 10 minutes of moderate strength training, but they are the only ones. if you need to lose your fluffly layer to get to the muscles that you want to get definition, 10 minutes is not going to get you there. is it a start? yes. and is it better than nothing? sure. but match your expectations with your effort level. if it sounds unrealistic (even tho the fitness person showing you has those muscles you want) it is. i can guarantee you none of those trainers/models/experts works out for 10 minutes a day = and then eats/drinks whatever they want. just not feasible in any way shape or form.
6 weeks is plenty of time to see results. this one is a bit of a gray area, as it depends on your definition of results. are you gonna be noticably skinnier in 6 weeks - nope. will you feel better? yes. will you be demonstrably lighter (on the scale) - nope. will you be stronger? yes. see where i am going with this? it is IMPERATIVE that you set realistic expectations when you are starting your fitness journey. if your one and only goal is to lose weight, get in touch with a dietician and learn how to eat correctly for your age/body type/lifestyle. if your goal is to be healthier, get into a regular fitness regimen and set both long and short term goals. showing up should always be #1 when you first start. then your timeline goals should look like 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year. you don't get to stop before then (and hopefully after that first year, you will be hooked!!). if your only goal is 6 weeks from now, you are doomed to failure. it did not take 6 weeks to get unhealthy - and it is not going to take 6 weeks to get healthy. it's a good start - but that is all it is. a start.
there is a magic weight loss pill (or shot). hard nope. this one is probably my biggest challenge. we ALL want it to be easier - every single one of us. but if there was a magic pill, we would alllllll know about it. are there "aids"? yup. are they good for you? debatable. but everytime some pharma company comes out with a drug that helps with a specific condition - then all of the sudden one of the side effects is weight loss - and lo & behold, everyone you know now needs this drug. (cough cough Fen Phen) if you are taking a drug for a condition that you actually have and one of the side effects is weight loss, good for you i guess. but if you are taking a drug that you dont need because you might lose weight without having to eat better or exercise, you need to reconsider your choices. now, using something like this as a jumpstart - ok. but do the work. make the changes necessary in your diet and/or exercise (or lack thereof) to get OFF the drugs that are giving you the jumpstart. long term sustainability is the goal. or should be. health is a lifelong endeavor, not a quick fix.
if i work out like him/her, i will look like him/her. really hard nope, again. if you are following someone or joining a gym to look a certain way, you are destined for frustration. unless of course you look like that person to begin with - then go you. but if you are a short stout person (ahem) and think the gym workout that some skinny chic uses to get arm definition is the answer for you, i am here to tell you it is not. we are all unique. our bodies will get smaller or bigger based on activity and nutrition, but you will still look like you. if you dont have a big booty to begin with, i dont care how many squats you do, you are still gonna have a small ass - it might be slightly bigger, but you will never become beyonce by squats. gyms have created this false aesthetic narrative that implies that you have to look a certain way to belong. you don't. you can look however you want. the goal is and should always be to be HEALTHY. skinny and healthy. thick and healthy. just healthy. if the aesthetic matters to you, then sure - work on that. we all want to look our best. but just be realistic. your best is YOUR best. don't compare yourself with anyone else. get started. do better. feel better. rinse and repeat.
once i get to my "goal weight" i will be done. NOPE. you are NEVER DONE. repeat that with me. never never never. and that sucks. i know. especially if you hate exercising. and love wine. or donuts. or crumbl cookies. but finding BALANCE is the goal. you dont have to be a gym bunny, or lift heavy weights if that is not your thing. especially as you age - you need to be kind to your body. but you still need to MOVE. yoga, water aerobics, paddleboarding, hiking - walking. whatever your thing is, do THAT. play pickleball or swim. walk your dogs or push your lawn. it all works - you just need to commit to moving your body FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. there is no finish line. this is a commitment TO YOU, FOR YOU that you need to prioritize for-fucking-ever.
My definition of fitness is to be able to carry out all of the activities in life that you desire, plus have a physical reserve at the end of the day to do something besides lie down and flip the remote. If you can do all that, if you're functional, then you're fit. It doesn't matter if you have great abs or can bench-press your body weight. Those things have nothing to do with real life. ~James Glinn,
Happiness is a place between too little and too much. ~Finnish proverb
but i will share this as well....you know what made me start to love it? my unwillingness to fix my food. which is TERRIBLE. but true. i would rather full on work out anytime if it means i don't have to stop eating cookies. or cupcakes. or ice cream. so i love the gym. because it makes me feel STRONG. and allows me to indulge in my favorite foods. i know i have an unhealthy relationship with food. i am actively trying to disprove the theory that you cant out-train a bad diet. but i am AWARE of the ridiculousness of that activity. its a fine line for me - because there is an inner jabba the hut that is always lurking just under the surface. but i know that we have an understanding. we are in this for the long run together. it's all about the balance.
for those of you who are struggling to get started (or think i'm an asshole), be honest with yourself about your reasons why you do (or don't) need to be healthier. you can start with the gym. or your food intake. but get started. good health waits for no one - and its the hardest thing to get back once you lose it. trust me, there is a community out there for you - that will support you and prop you up, and push you to keep moving. but you have to take that first step. which is always the hardest. but you got this!
I would make good health catching, instead of disease. ~Robert G. Ingersoll