I sat under a Starbucks green umbrella, sipping coffee with my sunglasses on and catching up with a friend, when she confessed to me, “I haven’t gone to my favorite spin class a single time this week. When I consider how I can’t go all my usual days this week, I’m like, ‘screw it, there’s no point in going just today.’”
Do you see the irrationality in this statement? I saw so much of myself in her backwards behavior. And I’m noticing this way of thinking about exercise is a trend with many women in my life: We don’t go at all because we can’t go every time.
The #NoExcuses fitness culture has morphed from motivator to excuse!
We internalize #NoExcuses as a mantra of “all or nothing,” which slides right into our perfectionist tendencies. Once snuggled up in your psyche, #NoExcuses steals the opportunity to, you know, just do the thing, whenever, wherever, however you can.
I’m a movement nerd (which is different from a gym rat. I read studies on spinal health for fun and have never consumed Muscle Milk). I operate from the belief that movement is our birthright, a gift, a spiritual act of divine harmony with nature (not to be dramatic). I’ve tried every training style, workout program, and studio class out there. And I’ve fallen head over heels for many of them, even many that turn my face purple with exertion and leave me unable to take off my sports bra because I can’t lift my arms over my head.
But, this enthusiasm for movement and exercise only came after I made space for my inner Lazy Lady.
Now’s a good time for me to pause and clarify:
There are no Fitness Police.
Similarly, there are no Food Police, Lifestyle Police, or Fashion Police (wear whatever you want! Please! I’m hungry for some visual originality!).
It’s none of my business or anyone else’s how fit you are. It’s none of our concern if you don’t care about exercise any more than I care about the iPhone X – that is to say, not at all, it’s the same pony just new tricks, stop trying to make me sign up.
But if you are interested in moving more, if you have the itch to explore a new skill, if you hear your physical body asking you for some more attention, then it would be my honor to explain the best way to make that happen.
You’ve got to make room for your inner Lazy Lady.
Because she’s coming with you on this journey whether you acknowledge her sitting shotgun or not. And she requires bathroom breaks, meal stops, and tourist detours. She demands them.
Holistic yoga classes often preach honoring your needs, even if what you need is to lay with your legs up the wall in the back of class for 30 minutes. (And, in case you’re wondering, the other yogis in your class do not care. Any time I see a woman in child’s pose while the rest of us hold crescent lunge for what feels like eternity, I love it! I’m quickly becoming addicted to the company of women who aren’t concerned with other women’s opinions. Confidence is contagious.)
We need more gyms take this holistic, self-care approach. More cross-fitters, more barre studios, more private clubs, more spin psychos (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), and yes, even more bodybuilders. Especially the bodybuilders.
Because this keeps people coming back! This will keep you coming back!
Acknowledging your inner Lazy Lady is not an #excuse! It’s your humanness. Good luck out-running, out-training, or outpacing that.
Here’s what honoring your inner Lazy Lady looks like:
Did you have a much needed Wine Night with the girls and cannot handle your planned Leg Day today? Swap it for a stroll out-freaking-side with an exciting new book on tape.
Resume training as planned tomorrow.
Are you banging your head on the steering wheel at the thought of hot power yoga after your 10 hour workday? Go home. Roll your mat out on the living room floor, turn the lights low, turn on Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G minor, and do some floor stretches.
Resume yoga as planned tomorrow.
Did trying hang cleans during your free trial week at Crossfit leave you unable to walk for four days? Tell the trainer and his/her yellow Reebok’s, “Thank you very much, but I need to start slower.” Try a Bodypump classes at your local gym instead.
Resume your exploration of weight lifting as planned.
Your fitness journey is not measured in calories burned, muscle built, or personal records set. It’s not about the miles you covered on the Fitness Highway, it’s about the adventure. Ugh, it’s so cliche. Also, it’s so true.
Let your Lazy Lady take her pit stops, and she won’t yank the steering wheel out of your grip and crash the car.
Be real with yourself about your humanness. There are 99 numbers between 0 and 100. The journey you can have at 45 miles per hour will amaze you. Give yourself permission to just do the thing, even if it’s not the fullest expression of that thing.
Fitness is not all or nothing.
Gives new meaning to #NoExcuses, doesn’t it?