30 Apr I’m Never Dieting Again: Fitness is a Journey
‘Fitness is a journey.’ Seriously? How mundanely repetitive is this getting? Tell me something I don’t know. Like when the Walking Dead will finally end. Which season are we on again? Or what was going through Kanye’s head when he was writing the Yeezus album? Or, what is going on in Kanye’s head in GENERAL? Or how I can physiologically get long, lean muscles like the ToneItUp girls promise? I need a much more concrete piece of advice than ‘Fitness is a journey’ to put me at ease with my oscillating fluctuations in physique and strength.
Whether you’re a psychologist or a professional in the fitness industry (I consider myself BOTH), you can only toss around this “fitness is a journey” mantra so much until your clients are getting so annoyed even Buddy the Elf can’t put a smile on their faces.
And people are never really going to get comfortable with the journey and *get* its meaning, unless you hit them with some obscure analogy that is totally out there.
With that, how about the phrase “I’m never drinking again.” Of course! We allllllll can relate to that. 🙂
So let’s think back to your wildest, most adventurous, most spontaneous night out in college. Whether it was the night of a deadly four hour open bar sorority formal, the night of the an 80s themed frat party and 40 plus gallons of jungle juice, the night you played flip cup with wine against the men’s soccer team as your two hour pre-game, the night you celebrated the end of finals, or the night you graduated and got your degree and got so shit faced you forgot what your major was and where you lived as a freshman on campus. Pick one of these nights that resonates the most – the memories, the people you were with, the awkward yet exciting interactions, the night with the best series of events that you could practically write a short storybook (pictures NOT to be included) about. What were the highlights of your night? What were the most exciting moments? And, how did the night…END?
Our brightest moments on a night out are gradually splashed onto a blank canvas as the night unfolds. We have no clue about the exihilirating happenings about to occur. So we buckle up and it all begins….
We go through a million outfits before our crew of friends decides on the showstopper. We drink beer in the shower as we are getting ready because…why not? We pre-game and sing “I Don’t F*ck With Youuuuu” as if we are Big Sean and his entourage. We giddily discuss members of opposite sex that we will see later on (and hopefully get our flirt on with). We get in an Uber and head downtown and have philosophical talks with the stranger driving the car, as we are chugging rum and coke in a to-go water bottle before we arrive at the bar. We refreshingly sigh with relief after we get away with a fake ID at the door. We dance on tables, sing, and believe we are the next American Idol winner. We fall off and don’t realize our tailbone could be broken. That’s the liquor talking. We casually pretend to do the electric slide but that’s only to shuffle away from the creepy guy grinding on our back. Or we just say “Be right back, I have to pee” when we really mean “I’m not coming back, idiot.” We realize the guy/girl we were talking to all night wasn’t that cute after the last-call lights come on. And then maybe our night gets crazier. We run from the campus police. We climb on campus buildings. We participate in our longest of keg stands, defying and understanding gravity more than our physics exam earlier that day. We win 20 straight games of beer pong and somehow make behind-the-back shots. It’s still the liquor talking. We simply become entangled in one reckless episode after another.
Yes, me in my glory days. And we were very cool with purple solo cups.
Alas, all good things come to an end, so we head home for the evening. All the madness throughout the night winds down into an anti climatic ending. We pass out alone with a box of pizza next to our bed. We end up hugging our toilet and wake up on our bathroom floor half naked. We wake up in a fraternity basement with the lovely, rancid smell of warm Keystone Light. We sleep in until 2PM and waste the day. We do the “walk of shame” home in someone else’s sweatpants. And when we go home to discuss with our roommates our night, the grandest of moments told all came from the night’s journey – all of the tiny events that brought smiles, laughter, and joy. You don’t start your story off with “remember that time when I passed out and my night ended and it was AWESOME.” No. You dive into the juicy stuff – all of the legendary events that go down in the record books as the apex of the college experience. Indeed, your night was one giant Tucker Max book of ridiculous circumstances and play-by-plays that deserve a standing ovation or perhaps a Jerry Springer feature.
And when we link this all to fitness, what are the greatest moments? When you take slow steps to breaking dead lift personal records, when you experiment with new training volumes, when you move from machine assisted pull ups to real pull ups, when you quit CrossFit and become $129 richer a month, when you flexible diet and get lean while eating fruit loops, then cleanse, then you enjoy a vacation, then come back with a vengeance to get fitter than ever. When you try hot yoga for the first time. Or couples yoga. When you stick to the ToneItUP girls program for four weeks and realize you aren’t toned up like they are. Shocker. Then, you try REAL strength training. You gradually become stronger. So you enter a powerlifting competition. Or get on stage in front of thousands for a bikini show. Or walk into a room with confidence. You’re getting somewhere in life. You’re learning, evolving, and soaking up the process just like you did on your night out. THESE are the times that are truly the most glorious. More epic than the majority of fitness ‘endings’ that can be detrimental to your health and mental clarity. You do reach your 15 pound weight drop, but then you rebound. Suddenly, you stop your sad attempt at a no carb diet. And the end…well, give me alllllll the cupcakes. And the 10 pounds of weight back on. What next? The journey goes on, and on, and on, and on.
When you are attuned to the journey, you are provided with tremendous joy through small wins, new experiences, and lessons learned about yourself. You are not attached to the end. You aren’t fixated on that 10 pound drop in the strict regimen of two weeks time. You aren’t hoping for the Bikini Series with Karina and Katrina to get you to model status. Because you don’t give a damn about the ending. It’s not fun. It doesn’t MAKE YOU AS A PERSON. It doesn’t foster self growth. What you do give a damn about is character building. Improving and not plateauing in your programming. Switching things up. You give a damn about continuing on a lively, dynamic continuum that promotes confidence. You give a damn about the breakthrough experiences like you had in college. These are the memories that stay embedded in your essence of self for a lifetime.
The journey always has your back. So get comfortable with being the storyteller, the creator, the reckless, carefree college kid stumbling upon every adventure and just going with the flow. Like a night out, the most valuable moments happen along the path – the moments that shape who you are, elevate your self esteem, make you stronger, make you burst with laughter, scream with joy, replay amazing memories and smiles that you tell your friends from home – the moments that are so priceless the ending ain’t even that exciting. With that said, “I’m never dieting