In my celebration of maintenance--being where I want to be on my fitness journey, for now--I have begun to tally a list of markers of fitness for me to note, track, but most importantly, celebrate. I am a highly intentional person, by most accounts, and maintenance-intention is rather dull. Finding new markers of fitness might become a way for me to keep awake, keep myself lively.
Like...fitness is being able to go on a five mile run, if you want to. I can already hear a friend's voice in my ear--are you high!?!--and maybe so. But this doesn't need to be a regular event, by any means. Yesterday, I wanted to move but it was cold outside. Nothing inspired me in the downstairs workout area, so I decided to take my running shoes to the indoor track at a local Rec Center. You can use the track for a couple bucks, whenever you want. Hardly anyone was using the track, and I enjoyed a delightful hour on the padded track, tending to running form, stretching and breaking every 1/2 mile or so. I pushed myself a bit at the end, I realized, because FIVE miles?! was within reach. And I walked it off for a bit, went home, and enjoyed an on-plan meal with a couple tv shows after. Fitness is being able to go on a five mile run, if you want to. Didn't require training up to it. The day after hasn't been a sore one. Fit.
As I sat with the notion of fitness is being able to do whatever you want to do, in your own skin, I bumped into a bit of a conundrum. What we want to do in our own bodies is shaped largely by past experience and the sense of possibility/impossibility we feel about it all. Most of us stay in our comfort zones, and create worlds and rationales for why that is, and what we can (or can't) and want (don't want) to do in our own bodies. Those who engage physical movement the least can often have the most narrow assessment of what it is possible for them/their bodies to do. And if they never get curious, as they age, this capability will get narrower and narrower. Most of us don't know what we can do in our own bodies, particularly if we have lived a mostly sedentary life, if movement in our bodies has been associated with pain, shame, failure, or trauma of some kind.
I didn't enter into CrossFit with a goal of jumping on a 20" box, for instance. Didn't even have the desire until recently, when I decided I wanted to challenge myself a little more than I had been. I didn't want to do that particular movement for a long time, so didn't. I assumed that I could not, or that it was simply not safe enough for me to try. Except now I know I can, and can for at least 100 reps. My sense of body-capacity expanded because space was held for me to stretch into More. Now I'm enjoying this sense of fitness, celebrating being able to jump higher on a box than I ever thought I could.
What does it require for human beings to get curious about their health, getting engaged in feeling good in their bodies? I know it took me fifty years to finally land in a relationship with food that feels sustainable and healthy. I guess it takes as long as it takes...and every one is empress/emperor of their body domain.
In the end, better to celebrate what we can celebrate... Crafted this way, there need be no sensitivities or judgment at all.
Fitness is celebrating...
being able to go for a five-mile run if I want to
feeling most myself when I'm moving and "playing" in the movement
having all the energy I need to do all I love to do
staying curious about what I love to do AND what I am more afraid to try
leaning into discomforts of new things, in the camaraderie of friends and safely held spaces
maintaining weight and body composition, roughly, with good clean eating
continuously learning within my own and others' experiences...
[Feel free to add wisdom in the comments...!]