How the Conscious Cairene Fell in Love With Fitness
We have only a few days left in 2018! Which means it’s time to evaluate, reflect, and set some goals for 2019.
One of my goals in 2018 was to start taking my exercise seriously again ( as seriously as I take my food). So I could really get in tune with myself and figure out a good balance where I’m actually enjoying what I’m doing again.
As a kid, sports were a part of my daily routine. My parents had me juggling between tennis, swimming, and horseback riding all within the same week, and I loved it. Can you even imagine a kid that genuinely enjoyed swimming practice? I did. I loved how it felt when you’d take the extra stride in with one breath, or how good it felt to get that perfect jump start landing into the water. I was so into learning new skills which led me to try every sport there was growing up. From Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Gymnastics, and Track and field. You name it, I’ve probably tried it at some point.
In high school, a daily run or cycling was the only way I could make it through the stresses of the infamous IB diploma (International Baccalaureate). Going horseback riding was the only way I could keep a spring to my step. I loved how challenging it was to work within my football team. All in all, a daily workout, whatever it may be, was integral and I cherished that one hour exercise dedicated to myself on the daily. I loved how good it felt to feel the serotonin rushing through my body, and sweat trickling down my skin. It felt like the sense of accomplishment I needed, in the kind of academic environment I was in.
Over my first two years of university, I really got to see how integral sports and exercise really are to my happiness, my confidence, my digestion, it just generally makes me feel a whole lot better. I can feel the difference in the way I carry myself through my day when I’m regularly and happily exercising. Most importantly I really got to see how your mindset and view towards exercise makes a huge difference in how much you actually learn and enjoy your practice.
“University life” got the best of me. My priorities were to make new friends, cook for myself, manage to buy groceries, do my laundry, and somehow get my coursework done. I was suddenly required to be a self-sufficient independent individual after growing up in a pretty sheltered environment, where I got all the help I needed. Between all the new tasks I was suddenly juggling in a new country might I add, I seemed to lose sight of what I loved to do most.
I still worked out regularly but it didn’t feel as good. It wasn’t about learning something new, or challenging my body, or about getting to know myself anymore. It was about hitting the gym, and checking it off my to-do list for the day (I hate the gym). I wasn’t being pushed to my limits, or challenged, or learning something new. I wasn’t connected to every motion my body took. I started to get caught up in the superficiality of it all. Which I found very unhealthy for my own mind and self-perception. I was more worried about how a certain exercise will make me look instead of how can I get to the perfect headstand or finish a whole lap in record time. I was challenged but for all the wrong reasons. It took a toll on my self-perception and my willingness to get my body going.
That’s when I knew it was time to find the balance I lost. It was time to find joy in going for a run again. I needed to find a passion for something new. Something to put me back into that healthy mindset. It was time to find a new regimen that I would love as much as I loved riding or swimming. Right around then is when I really fell for the practice of yoga. That curious mind willing to push itself to get stronger and healthier was starting to grow again. Later on, in the year I also started practicing cross-fit training which I was surprised to really love. I felt challenged and motivated by my coaches where I workout so I really believe that made all the difference.
Here I am with only a few days left to the year, and it’s pretty safe to say I really did meet my goal. It’s become my priority to really find that high again. That one where you feel satisfied and strong, willing to go for one more go because it made you feel so good. That’s when I know I’ve found a good rhythm again. When I’m willingly getting into my workout clothes, and loving what I’m doing. When I’ve found a joy that goes beyond the superficiality of a good workout. So what I’m trying to say is find a routine you truly enjoy, the lean arms and abs will follow. Don’t get too caught up in the pressure of getting that summer-ready body. Every body is a summer-ready body anyway. That’s not what working out is about. It’s about nourishing your mind body and soul in ways food can’t. It’s about getting that boost of confidence, and that spring in your step. Learn something new. You’d be surprised at what your body is capable of.