I was recently asked to take part in the #MySportsPhilosophy campaign by the gorgeous Tashi Skervin. This campaign has been set up to provide a hashtag to share the positive and empowering side of fitness with instagram and hopefully inspire people to live a healthy and happy life, in response to the recent bad weather around fitness bloggers and the fitness community.
This is really important for me because fitness is a really important part of my life, both in terms of how I spend my time and what it means for me, as I find it incredibly empowering.
Empowering is a word that is getting increasingly thrown around, so I’m going to spell out exactly why I love running and being fit. My fitness and my ability to run is something that I have created entirely myself, through sheer persistence and hard work, and the knowledge of this empowers me to be brave when I feel insecure and confident of who I am when I feel a little lost. It means that the other benefits of exercise become incidental to this feeling of strength.
So, what’s my Sports Philosophy?
My Sports Philosophy is to forget about body image.
Whilst this is really tricky, particularly if you have a specific goal, I think you have to take body image out of the equation, because with this as your priority any results will never last or will never be good enough for you. If you can’t quite do this yet, and it has taken me years and running a marathon to relax, try and use it as a metric of reaching a goal rather than a goal itself.
It isn’t easy to always push yourself to go for a run or a workout, but the real strength of pushing through on those occasions is not strength in your core or bum but strength in your mind.
I have no idea what life is going to throw at me today, tomorrow, next year or in ten years, but knowing that I have run a marathon because I wanted to do it and worked so hard to achieve this gives me so much confidence in myself. It’s almost like I have created a little legacy of myself as someone who is strong and someone who can and will succeed, so I know exactly who I am when the going gets tough.
For me loving my body is not about loving the way that I look because it is unrealistic to always have great body image, but instead prioritising a body that feels good and does good because it’s so much easier to love your body this way than if you focus on a body that looks good.
This means that I don’t lose my motivation to keep going or workout because I’m not trying to punish my body for not looking the way I want it to or there isn’t ‘progress’ and it’s ‘not working’.
If you only think of the effect fitness is going to have on your appearance then unfortunately you’re missing the point, and it will be so hard to remain happy with reaching a goal because your mind will play tricks on you and nothing will ever be ‘enough’.
For me the high of getting faster or stronger from a good workout, or the exhaustion and endorphins from working out when I didn’t want to or I didn’t do as well as I wanted, is a profoundly positive experience because it feels like a job well done. I personally don’t get that high from staring in the mirror searching for abs.
My Sports Philosophy is to love your body and exercise because you love it rather than as a form of punishment. The rest will fall into place.