Do you move from a place of joy?

When many of us think of fitness it's six packs, weight loss journeys and aspiring bodies. And hey, that could be a nice little bonus outcome to our fitness regime potentially! But how about we physically move with joy rather than move to get to a certain temporary extrinsic outcome? How about we move because we want to, rather than we feel we have to?! What about looking forward to our exercise rather than rolling our eyes and starting to battle with excuses in our head?

Now listen, I’m not shaming those who want to exercise to achieve a certain weight or figure, for many this is a great motivator that can then go onto form a healthy habit and enjoyment for exercise. However, the more common outcome that I witness is that people develop a toxic relationship with exercise. For example, fitness/training/exercise can often be used as a punishment after an indulgent weekend. Used as a means to an end on their weight loss journey (and then people wonder why they gain the weight back when they stop…) Or it can be binged excessively to tick off a peer pressured event/bucket list task as part of a mid life crisis campaign (which often results in an injury or someone utterly sickened of that exercise after the binge).

If your exercise routine comes with the same stereotyped feelings as a Monday morning, it’s probably time to think of a new kind of movement to try! For me, I love nature and exercise put together. You won’t see a bigger smile on my face than chasing a sunrise on the bike with friends on a clear crisp morning followed by a social croissant and chai latte. Likewise, I’m buzzing when paddleboarding on a calm lake or eating lunch ontop of a mountain top after a long ascent. However, I know that I can’t casually squeeze in a mountain hike on a Sunday afternoon when at my apartment in Amsterdam, additionally, the Dutch weather doesn’t always allow very enjoyable nature based activities. So I shake it up! Sometimes it’s a yoga studio, sometimes it’s a local run, sometimes it’s at home mobility, sometimes it’s strength training, sometimes I jump into the water for a swim!

But here is the kicker, I move because I want to, not because I feel I have to. Just like I have my chocolate cake because I want it, not because I earned it by running X number of kms.

Some suggestions on how I move from a place of joy:

(Of course this isn’t exhaustive, but perhaps it relates to you)

Variety – Variety is the spice of life! And it can really help keep you interested in movement! If you ate the same dinner every night you would get bored, no matter how much you loved it. So why do the same with your exercise? Additionally variety also often means better results as your body is constantly adapting and developing to new stimulus, this helps prevent ‘fitness plateaus’.

This is a big one for me. I love yoga, swimming, cycling, running, hiking, strength training, dancing and of course mobility! And the more I switch them up on a day to day basis, the stronger my body is and the more I love them.   

Vibes – Some days I am a cardio queen, other days it’s grounded strength and conditioning. Depending on my mood, time, stress levels and agenda, I switch up my exercise to support my nervous system and environment. Our bodies are also very good at telling you what it may or may not need/want. Sometimes you do need to ‘just do it’ (as Nike would say), but other times when you stop and listen to the story your body and nervous system tells you, that’s when the best workouts occur. For example that’s often when I get the runs where I feel like I’m gliding through the air on clouds rather than dragging my feet through porridge.

Location – City life might mean more chic studio time and at convenient home workouts! When on holidays it could be more like trail runs, ocean dips, kayaking down rivers etc or taking your classes out to the pool side! Location doesn’t mean that your movement stops, it just means that you can try something different to the surroundings.  

Weather – If it rains, I’m feeling cosy at home with a workout in the living room. If the sun shines, I’m outdoors grabbing the Vitamin D whilst training. I have no shame in saying that I don’t push through in bad weather. I find no joy in cycling against the rain and wind on a race bike to tick off some training program. In fact I wrote another blog about why I don’t believe in the saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.’ When I accepted that I am serious about movement, love my sports but not an elite athlete, I found an incredible increase in my level of enjoyment/motivation for my sports in adapting to the weather conditions. Don’t skip movement, get creative with alternatives!

Some people love to get outdoors when it is stormy and if that’s where you find your joy, please go dance in the rain 😊. My partner enjoys a rainy run and he is up and out in it when I’m in the living room rolling out the yoga mat for strength and mobility.

Find a tribe/connect with a trainer – When you have a little crew to share your successes with and support you in accountability, this can help motivate you to continue! Sign into a Wednesday evening Live Strength and Mobility class with myself and my wonderful regulars, hit the pavements for a run with the local club, feeling part of something can help give us and our exercise routine a sense a fulfillment.

Having a trainer who speaks to you, connects with you and relates to you can be magical! I want to know your name, I want to know your goals and I want to know how I can help you. You aren’t a number on a spreadsheet but a person who is moving with joy alongside me. Perhaps I am a good fit for you, perhaps there is someone better suited! Regardless, if you don’t connect with a trainer, I urge you to keep searching as it can truly help create fitness and movement magic for you and your body. 

Movement shouldn’t be a punishment, a ticket to an indulgent food treat or an eye rolling ‘urrrgh do I have to?’

Movement should be a celebration, feeling appreciation and admiration towards your body and health.

Movement from a place of joy will serve your body and yourself best!

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