The Fitness Stereotype
I am a 56 year old personal trainer and believe that my industry and the fitness media do such a disservice to those of us who are “slightly older.” The images suggest that you have to be young and ripped to participate in fitness. The marketers tell us we must get in touch with our athletic gene in order to succeed in achieving our fitness goals. And the talk seems to be all about “fixing” us, showing us where we are falling short.
I also do a disservice to myself. All of those things that I blame on the industry and media swirl around in my own mind as well. I have tried to recapture my youth and workout like a 30 year old, trying to compete with young men and women.
I have beaten myself up for not pushing the limits on the weights I lift and for not working out so hard that I feel like puking. And I have not had many kind words for myself as I watch the scale creep up once again after I have successfully taken off 25 pounds.
The Fitness Reality: I Don’t Need to be Fixed
It has taken me to get to the ripe “older” age of 56, to finally say the heck with all of this. I am not broken. I donʼt need to be “fixed.” I donʼt need to push my athletic and physical potential in order to be fit. I donʼt have to take my cues in fitness from the media or the latest fitness trend. And I am not a bad or shameful person if there is more “jiggle” on my body than I would hope or that the scale doesn’t say what I want it to say. Time to get real. And time to get honest.
Donʼt get me wrong. This shift in mindset has not come easily. I still carry fond memories and, on occasion, long for those days where I could keep up with crazy, intense workouts. I get melancholy for the days where I was making significant gains in the amount of weight I could lift, still swimming and moving faster in the pool, and could see (albeit it) a slight outline of a six pack on my abdomen. And I absolutely loved it when my body comp was at 16%. Lean feels great!
But it is time to move on. While my fitness journey was re-ignited in my 40ʻs – I was going strong, living in a lean body, defying my age, and loving how my muscles looked and felt, – in my 50ʼs it is now about refocusing and renewing. There is no way I could keep up the pace of my 40ʼs. Even if I could, I have no interest in doing so. My mind is just not in it that way anymore.
Finding Meaning in Fitness
At 56, I now focus on the deeper meaning fitness has in my life. Rather than a means of proving myself and achieving certain goals, fitness is now a great enabler of how I want to live. Instead of benchmarking myself against an arbitrary number on the scale or whether I can get close to how I performed in my 40ʻs, I am now more focused on how I feel.
I am strong. I am fit. I am Pam. And that is pretty darn good. In fact, it is fabulous. Yes, I still get a kick out of defying my age in the gym. But what makes me come alive is feeling my strength, feeling the power of moving with confidence, and being in touch with how great my body feels.
The Creativity of Fitness
At 56, I focus upon the creative aspects of my fitness journey. I often ask myself what I can create with my fitness. As I lift weights, run, cycle, swim, walk, stretch, and meditate, I experience improvements in how I focus and concentrate. Thatʼs pretty cool. When I eat well, I am less stressed and have a more relaxed brain. Yeah! I think better; I make better decisions. Fabulous! With proper sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition, I know I am managing the stress and the distractions in my life as effectively as possible. I am happy and grounded. High five! My fitness journey has fueled a more open mind, a greater willingness to relax and take time off, and a greater faith that “all will be okay.” Priceless!
I now feel better about my body now than I ever remember. Once I gave up the superficial goals, the shame and guilt I carried in my body (and in the extra weight) slipped away. What the scale says is still important, but the trust I have gained in my body and in myself is far more important than any number on the scale. I feel lighter and leaner. And that feels wonderful.
At Strand Fitness, we believe the fitness journey is about a strong, fit body and mind!
Call Pam (630-653-8152 or email email@example.com) to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation fitness consultation. Find out how we can make fitness work for you!
Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs.
To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630-653-8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation.
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