Today’s workout involved dragging myself out for 2.5 miles in between writing really intense, detailed and technical emails (on subjects on which I’m not an expert, of course). It’s not even noon yet and I’m wiped out!
Yesterday’s grumpy post about not looking like a fitness people apparently attracted a lot of drive-by unsolicited advice. I mean, we all love giving advice, right? At least I do– I get to feel all wise and knowledgeable and it gives me a warm glow to know that I’ve helped someone along their path. This is a place where I’ve worked on some stuff; part of my personal growth has been to start to recognize when my advice is unsolicited or unwelcome or un-useful, and keep it to myself instead.
Usually when I get unsolicited workout advice, it’s from people who don’t know me and don’t know why I exercise or what my goals are. They project a set of assumptions onto me and my body, and make conclusions and issue advice based on that. They might assume that I’m at the gym because I’m trying to lose weight, especially since I’m fat.
Of course, it doesn’t help if I make tongue-in-cheek commentary about my poor body image on that day, especially when folks don’t know any of my backstory or philosophy. That’s always a cue for insert-weight-loss-advice-here.
For me, right at this moment, my fitness goals are to be consistent with some kind of near-daily exercise because it makes me feel good, and to maintain my strength and endurance work. Ideally I’d tack some flexibility goals onto that, though I haven’t been great about sticking to yoga practice. In the longer term, increasing my running endurance and hitting some new lifting bests would be pretty cool, though I’m still trying to figure out which of those to pursue first (and how), since it’s not feasible to do both at once. Getting faster would be cool too, but right now I’d rather work on running farther than faster. Oh, and swimming season’s coming up!
By now, you’ve probably realized that nowhere in that list is weight loss, fat loss (which is different from weight loss how?) or trying to make my body look a certain way. Certainly my body has changed as I continue to exercise, but that’s a side effect not a goal. I mean, I wouldn’t complain much if I started looking like a fitness people, but it’s pretty unlikely and it’s much better for my motivation and my mental health if I keep my activity decoupled from how I look.
Sometimes I feel like I keep repeating this stuff, but I guess it bears repeating. I hope someday we might see a cultural shift away from making assumptions about people based upon how they look and actually ask them about their lives and their goals. Not just at the gym, but everywhere.