Fitness is a Journey Not a Destination
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photo by Paul Bica

Vacations for me are often an exercise in patience.  I have a hard time relaxing. I like schedules and plans. I like knowing what’s coming so I can stay 3 steps ahead. I hate lateness because I was taught it was disrespectful of others – implying your time is more important than someone else’s.

This works well for running a business or creating solidly designed fitness programs. It does not work well for any trip requiring air travel or beaches.

In fact, I am writing this post on my way to Maui. I am writing as we are trying to make up time in the air (this idea scares me by the way – how do you do that safely at 34,000 feet?) because we left the airport in Seattle an hour and a half late. Someone apparently forget to put gas in the tank and then Mother Nature decided to make it impossible to refill.

In the days prior to the trip, I finally started reading the Lonely Planet guidebook we had purchased months ago. I had put off reading it because I knew it would send me into planning overdrive. Also, I was so busy trying to get everything done prior to leaving that reading was a luxury I didn’t have a lot of time for.

The time I was putting in, making sure everyone got their workouts in during the condensed week and the strenuous workouts I had been putting myself through (no pressure living in a bikini for 2 weeks, right?), was taking a toll on me. I was forgetting things more than usual and my legs felt like lead. While I was so looking forward to the trip, I was also starting to think about the end, how little time there was to take it all in. Then I read a blog post that made me stop and check myself. It was written by someone who used to live in Maui and returns every year for visit. She makes fitness a priority in her life, works hard and plays hard too. But she was vowing to soak in her visit, to be present for each day, each moment. Her words helped me to understand something very important.

If I didn’t stop worrying about everything I might miss I was sure to miss everything.

I found the idea profound and ironic. I am, after all, the one constantly reminding clients to leave the stress of the day at the studio door and focus just on themselves for that hour. I have to tell them to breathe, to slow down, focus not on the last rep or the next one but just the one they are currently doing.

Yet I was approaching my vacation as others often approach a workout. Here is the list of things to accomplish. Let’s get in, get it done and move on to the next one.

Workouts (and life) should be about the present moment. After all, a fitness journey really is about the journey and not just the destination. If you let it whip by without finding relaxation in movement and joy in the small changes and steps accomplished then the point is actually lost. Diets are about end results; fitness is about living each day.

Now, as I finish this post at the end of my trip, I am so glad I gained some perspective before we landed. Each day was long but in a good way. Each day I awoke when my body told me it was time and let the day unfold before me. There were beautiful beaches, hikes and adventures I couldn’t have even imagined a week ago.  This is the spirit I, and everyone else, needs to remember each day in our “real lives”. Certainly the future needs to be considered and planned for but not at the expense of the present.

Hele me kahau ‘oli  (Go with Joy)

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