|Photo source: Soulseeds|
More than once I've heard people tell me, "I like you classes because you keep it real, you are challenging yet understanding, you give great modifications so I never feel like a loser, and you drink wine." WOW, that's quite the compliment! But what does keeping it real really mean in the fitness world?
Well, I'm not a model, I don't have buns of steel, nor do I sport washboard abs. I will be the first to say, "I'm sore," or, "that was a hard workout" to members of my class. I love to eat good food and can't seem to give up my glass of wine or chocolate in the name of the chiseled look. I'm your average woman who happens to really enjoy teaching fitness to others in a really fun way. I have been on the other end of the six week beach body workout and this diet or that detox only to realize that I was miserable trying to achieve "fitness" and was not having any fun—emotionally, I was done. So what's the point of always trying to achieve fitness if I'm unhappy in the process, always worried about what to eat or drink or how many calories are in this, how much sugar is in that.... It was so frustrating to try to keep track of everything that I just stopped doing anything with friends and no one in my house was eating ice cream—at least not in front of me!
I grew up and decided that every day was going to be a good day regardless of what I did. I will choose when and if I will have ice cream or cake or wine, knowing full well that I also need to exercise on a regular basis. I realize this may seem like I'm pushing junk food, but I'm not. My goal is to help people realize that they still have to love themselves TODAY, and they have to enjoy who they are in the moment. Fitness and happiness are not destinations.
There are some basic rules, in my opinion...
1. Know what you're eating—Read the labels, read up on foods without labels, become aware of how much you should be eating and what you can do to improve your daily food consumption so that when you do eat that cookie or ice cream or drink that wine you actually enjoy it. Listen to your body and know how you feel when you eat certain foods. Realize that food is fuel, and while we want to enjoy our meals, we also need to fuel the body. (e.g. eating whole foods: almonds instead of almond butter, apples instead of apple juice, whole grains instead of processed)
2. Stop dieting—Just eat as fresh and as whole as possible and take your time. Once in a while, we all want food fast (pizza) or we want to go out to eat and that's perfectly OK. This becomes a problem when it's all you're doing. On a regular basis, you eat at home. Just take your time cooking or preparing and know what is going in your meals: We love our Mac and Cheese nights, so we make it from scratch and choose our cheese and pasta wisely. You don't have to give up any one food group (unless medically recommended) to live a healthy life every day, but you can change some things so that you enjoy that food group and get the nutritional benefit as well.
3. Drink your fluids—By fluids, I mean water. Infuse your water with fruits or vegetables, give it a twist of lemon or lime, have your tea, have your coffee. Occasionally you will have a soda because it's hard to have a rum and coke without coke; otherwise, it's just a shot! Ha! But seriously, make your liquids work with your body, not against it. It is always best to eat your fruit and drink water instead of juice or sugary drinks, of course it is, but in reality, once in a while you will crave something other than water. Do not beat yourself up over it. Give yourself a treat and move on.
4. Exercise—Do whatever makes you happy: do it with friends, your family, while cleaning the house, or while cutting the grass. Exercise doesn't have to only take place in the gym and it doesn't ever have to require equipment. You don't have to kill yourself for an hour only to give up because you're too sore. Count all of your activities as exercise—kayaking, swimming, walking the dog, playing ball with the kids, etc. Being active is what really matters. Once you find that one thing you really love to do, you'd be surprised how you become almost addicted and want to do more and do it better because it works for you.
5. Rest—I can't say this enough. Stretch, foam roll, massage, put your feet up and just chill out. You don't have to be engaged in some physical activity several times a day, every day. It's unhealthy and leads to injuries. Take that time to reflect, to read up on new healthy and delicious recipes, check out that yoga class, connect with family and friends.
So yes, I keep it real. Everything in moderation. My goal is to live a healthy life every day without the expectation of reaching the elusive Fitness destination someday. I'm already here, living it, every day!