My greatest fitness accomplishments: small, surprising stories that have nothing to do with weight.
I recently wrote an article for my good friends at Precision Nutrition about fitness and depression. The article explores how fitness (namely boxing) helped me literally fight my way out of depression. But there's more to it.
What I didn't share in that article was what happened after. Namely, the little, joyful, unexpected ways fitness has brought joy into my life.
You know, I love a good transformation story. It's cool to marvel at (and write about) grandiose change. But you don't need massive change or Olympic-sized accomplishments (or Olympic lifts, for that matter) to tell a good story.
You don't need those things to stop and savour the little mini-miracles in your life: those moments of magic that no one else would notice - and you might not notice, either, if you didn't pause and give them heed.
So here are a few of my favourite fitness things from the past year or so. They aren't about how much weight I've lifted or muscle I've gained or how far I've run or how many days I dragged myself out of bed early to go work out. (Which is good, because I don't track those kinds of stats, anyway.)
These are just some things that made me feel good, or surprised me, or motivate me to keep seeking out what's around the next corner.
My maybe-not-impressive-but-totally-awesome list:
- Rescuing a soccer ball from a tree for a kid who was playing solo. I climbed the tree, pulled myself up (OMG, chin-ups have a purpose!), pried the branches apart and pushed out the ball. I felt like a superhero that day.
- Doing yoga by myself on the beach in Hawaii as the sun slowly rose, after sipping the world's greatest espresso. I think about that moment when I need to relax.
- Helping a woman by carrying her heavy suitcase up a few flights of stairs. She didn't think I could do it so there may have been a wee bit of pride involved.
- Coaching my friend Katelyn through her first race (Terry Fox run). She killed it and I'm permanently proud of her.
- Climbing trees with my cousins and their kids and playing on the rope swing at a family reunion. I feel my best when I'm being a big kid.
- Finishing a serious run and sprint session with my sister Megan, her husband Marco, and their run group in Glasgow. Those Weegies are tough and the run kicked my ass. But it made me feel a part of her new life abroad.
- Doing an outdoor park workout and having little girls come up to me and ask what I'm doing, then show off their own moves and tell me they're strong. (One also said she thought I was a boy but I'll let that crack slide.)
- Doing my first front squat with Coach Steph. No weight on the bar. But a big breakthrough. Didn't think it was possible for me with a pacemaker. It is. Steph got teary, I got teary, then I did a happy dance (literally) in the change room when no one was looking.
- Doing somersaults with Coach Steph. This was on my 'list of things that scare me.' I never felt comfortable moving my body in that way and it had been many years since I'd tried. Steph guided me bit by bit and when I got there I felt like a door had been unlocked. Like childhood, but new.
- Sparring for the first time. Never thought I'd be able to do that, either. It was like being on a rollercoaster. Kinda scary, kinda queasy in parts, a little disorienting, and at the end you're like "that was awesome! Can we go again?"
- Going to Bootcamp with my mom. We lost my Grandma a little while ago. I was with my mom through the loss. There was a point where we needed a break from the stress and grief and wanted to burn off some steam. I like that I was there to help my mom and exercising together (and showing her how to do a proper Kettlebell swing) was one of the ways I could do this.
Okay, I'll stop there. I could go on - it's fun! You should try this!
What are some of the small things (they don't have to be fitness related) that you've done? The little things that fill you up, keep you going, make you smile, make you feel proud?
I highly recommend making a list.