I am watching one of my favorite athletes work out–my stepson, Brad. I have worked with Brad as a trainer and attended his basketball games as a fan. He is a wonderfully agile and graceful player, fascinating to watch–the kind of truly gifted athlete that can distract you from the concerns and worries of your life and even leave you a bit awestruck as you appreciate the skill that only years of sacrifice and hard work can cultivate. Brad was born with a unique talent: the ability to take on just about any sport and master it in a very brief period. This athletic ability defines him, in many ways. The endless hours at workouts, practices, games, and tournaments have paid many dividends. The time and effort he has invested has taught him self-discipline, made him strong, confident, and willing to strive. He is aware of his strengths and wants to work harder to discover and correct his weaknesses. Brad knows what many of us don’t, or perhaps have forgotten–the Power of Fitness.
If you watch children at any playground, you will see tiny bodies hurling themselves through space with reckless abandon. Children, when they play, don’t think about how many repetitions they have left, or if their heart rates are in the fat-burning zone. They are climbing, jumping, and running, not distracted by filling a time quota or concerned about how much stronger they are than someone else. They simply enjoy being able to use the abundant energy and abilities they were born with. My mom used to call it “getting the wiggles out.” Children understand on a deep level the Power of Fitness.
This Power is something that is inside every one of us. I sometimes call it the “Inner Athlete.” The need to move, to take on challenges, to make ourselves physically stronger, is inherent in each of us. Our bodies were designed for physical work. But many of us mistake mental exhaustion, boredom, distraction, or even laziness for exertion. We claim we’re too tired, not strong enough, or we don’t have the need to work out. This is a huge disservice to our bodies, and it can create disease, stiffen us and slow us down, and create minor or major injuries. It limits us, confines us to a level of existence at which we will never really be satisfied, because somewhere deep inside, our bodies are yearning to work, just like we did on the playground as kids–except then we called it play.
If you are not challenging yourself on a physical level, perhaps you should consider setting some new physical goals. Try a brisk evening walk instead of that glass or two of wine for winding down in the evening. Set the alarm a little earlier in the morning and do some cycling or core work. Invest in a few lunchtime Pilates classes. If you want a real challenge, Crossfit boxes are popping up all over the place, or try crossfit.com for the WoD, or the workout of the day, which you can do at home or in the gym. Additionally, I will always have ideas and suggestions for you at n2fitness.com.
The Power of Fitness can change your life. You will never know what kind of an athlete you truly are until you challenge some of your old beliefs about moving your body. Contrary to what you may think, sweat is not toxic and hard work isn’t beyond you. (If you haven’t worked out in a long time, or have physical or medical issues that need special attention, get a checkup from your MD and schedule a consultation with me for some helpful ideas. ) The strength and energy you get from discovering your Inner Athlete will transform your perspective on life. You will begin to cultivate personal and professional challenges and confidently face life’s obstacles as something to be mastered with diligence and perseverance, as you do in your workouts. The physical skills you acquire will enhance mental toughness and contribute to your peace of mind. And best of all, you will enjoy the clarity of knowing that you have harnessed the Power of Fitness, that your strong and capable body is working as it was meant to work. At the end of every day, the sigh you breathe as your head hits the pillow will be one of satisfied accomplishment. With a strong, fit body and a calm, focused mind, the Power of Fitness can help you achieve the life of your dreams!