I've long appreciated a noncompetitive and gratitude-centered approach to movement and "exercise," but until recently it was more of an aspiration for me instead of a regular practice.
It's hard when the outcome of your physical performance is so entangled in your identity. My skill in mid-long distance running was all I had in high school. I was not interested in school, in making friends, in pursuing hobbies- I was single minded and unbalanced. I am so grateful that my D1 track career and Olympic dreams came crashing down (I will eventually write more on this). After more than a year of feeling like a fish out of water, I found so much more of myself than "Julie the runner" or "Julie the fitness Guru." It's so freeing because I am now grounded in who I am- that does not waver based on race results, tricep definition, or how "perfect" your plate looks.
The athletic and fitness communities are constantly clouded with comparison, ranking, and judgment. Can't we all just celebrate that every human body is amazing without turning it into a competition? It's preached as if your performance is a demonstration of your character. It's not. It's that simple. The speed at which you travel from point A to point B, the heavy stuff you can lift over your head, or your perfect six-pack does not matter one bit. The method by or degree to which you decide to train your body is no indication of the beautiful soul it carries.
I don't intend to discount the myriad of benefits associated with athletics and training. Don't get me wrong- physical activity is vital. But I'm just trying to remind you, and myself, that sport is merely a game and physical fitness is not a moral. Realizing I am a personal trainer, you might think my views on fitness are contradictory or hypocritical but it’s quite the contrary. I use my profession as a trainer to teach people about intuitive exercise and body appreciation. It is my hope that people come to me for the typical reasons- wanting to lose the last 5lbs, get toned, or gear up for an event, but will find so much more of themselves in the process. The quick path to weight loss or performance is relatively simple; it is balance that is difficult. Finding balance for myself has been a continuous and arduous journey but has brought much more health and happiness to my life than the sum of all my race victories. I want you to experience the same. As a trainer I want to train you to be gracious for your functioning body, train you in the balancing act, and train you on the path to health and happiness.
“You have a freedom, a lightness, an energy that simply craves movement and experience, completely detached from results or competition. Let it move through you. Let it escape.”