Let's Work It Out: How To Up Your Fitness Game (Without Breaking a Sweat)

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This is not a post about working out, I assure you. I would not pretend to know what the optimal picture of physical fitness/health looks like for you or what your body needs to feel alive and balanced. Everyone’s needs vary.

What I do know, however, from decades of trial and error, passionate research, and education is one very simple concept: messaging and intention are everything.

What does that even mean?  

It means that you and I readily respond to messages that speak to our core values and desires. Based on those messages, we respond in action through intention. We identify what we want, and we intentionally set out to achieve that thing.

I’ll put some skin on this one.

The diet and exercise industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Yes, the “B” word.

It caters to the desire in you and me to look and feel our best, albeit sometimes through the vehicle of shame. You know the drill, “Once you lose those last ten pounds, you will be happy—you will be okay.”  

They tell us all about the latest fitness trends, green juice, protein shakes, cool down stretches, and recovery meals so we can stay on top of our game.

Guess what?

The messaging works. Their savvy adverts successfully appeal to the desires of consumers everywhere, hence the “B” word. My recent personal favorite messaging trend is: “Sitting is the new smoking.” So good, right?

There is a massive gap though.

We live in the most overfed, undernourished, obese, and sedentary culture in American history.

The intention may very well be present, but the action is missing.

I believe this speaks to a heart problem, not a willpower problem.

You see, I believe we’re going about it in reverse. I believe we need to take this brilliant fitness messaging model and apply it to our emotions before we put all our eggs in the fifteen-minute magic routine you saw in the latest Shape magazine.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an exercise evangelist. I started running at age twelve and have made daily physical movement a part of my life ever since. For me, it transcended vanity a long time ago, providing me the much-needed sanity space and release to balance out the crazy in my head.

I bet you know a thing or two about physical fitness, even if you hate working out. This is due to the constant messaging; It’s everywhere.

What we often fail to realize is our emotional health doesn’t run on autopilot, and the messaging here is a bit more subtle if not lacking.

We must develop an emotional fitness regime just as we do a physical fitness one. We must learn where the pitfalls are and when we typically hit the proverbial wall and have a meltdown. We must learn what makes us anxious and how to preemptively practice mindfulness and deep breathing along the way so as to keep it in check. We must learn to rest and practice self-compassion.

Awhile back, I interviewed Miles Adcox, CEO of Onsite Workshops (among a zillion other impressive things), for my podcast. He explained how this concept of emotional fitness must start small, with tiny two-degree shifts in mindset and behavior as opposed to extreme overhauls that typically don’t stick (think: New Year’s Resolutions). To hear that interview,click here.

Later on this week, I’ll be giving you a few practical tools for tweaking your emotional fitness regime, so stay tuned for that.

If this all sounds airy-fairy and frustrating, take heart; it is very much a process. Just as it takes months and often years to get in tune with your body and what it needs, so is the case with our emotional journey. It’s not perfect by any means—humans are messy.

However, I can promise you this process will help take some of the guesswork out of what it looks like to consistently feel better from day to day

You see? This was painless, treadmill-free, and I bet you didn’t even break a sweat!

Love & Gratitude,