Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me
Hi LOVES! I know I’ve been a little sporadic with my posting schedule lately, but I promise it’s for good reason. I’m getting my life, personal health, blog, social channels, YouTube, writing sched, goals, apartment space and mind organized. It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s been a long time since I have felt this much clarity. And man, does clarity take a lot of time & effort! The most worth it kind, for sure. Absolutely cannot wait to share more with you guys on all of that, but for now… A post that popped into my head on my way to OrangeTheory the other day that I must, must write about today!
Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. That’s a pretty serious statement, I know. And it’s so TBB of me to call myself an “addict” rather than an enthusiast or a passionate person or simply interested (ew, boring word)… But I am an addict and I am proud of it. I think it’s okay to be wholeheartedly addicted to something that aids in keeping you mentally and physically healthy. You wouldn’t want to be addicted to the point of giving yourself an injury, but that’s a whole other story.
There’s a way to be a BALANCED exercise addict. Ya feel me? You can’t run 20 miles every single day (even if you want to), but you CAN run 20 miles on a Saturday and wind down with some restorative yoga that night or the next day. (Depending on where you are in your fitness journey — don’t go out and run 20 miles if you haven’t been training!) It’s all about learning how to be kind to yourself and make decisions that will leave you feeling wonderful in the long term. We’re not talking about short term health and fitness here. When you start thinking in the short term, that’s when you make drastic decisions that result in crashing and burning in the worst of ways. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I have thought a lot about why being a fitness addict has shaped who I am in every aspect of my life, and as all of my reasons came to fruition in my mind I legit typed this all out on my phone while walking from my apartment to OrangeTheory the other morning. For your reference, that is about a 3.5 minute walk. Less than a quarter of a mile. That is how crazy I get when a blog post (or any writing, for that matter) is ready to pour itself out of my brain and into this space. My friend and I call it “#EPlife,” short for “extreme personality life”… and if you’ve read my book, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
( *BTW, this post was semi-inspired from my 24 Reasons Why You Should Date a Girl Who Practices Yoga post from 2 years ago. I rediscovered it the other night and have been reading and re-reading it. I love writing real talk, detailed lists that those of you who are also “addicted” to fitness can relate to. Expect more of these this year! This is what I’m talkin’ about with organization. It requires doing research to the point of reading my own blog posts years back. Weird? Yeah. Necessary? Yes.* )
Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me
1. It’s how I’ve met some of the best people that I know. And no, it is not a coincidence that I have chosen to make this perhaps unexpected reason #1 on the list. At the end of the day, this sole part of the equation is reason enough to be addicted to fitness. It’s the way that I spend a good portion of my time, so naturally I have met a lot of really fantastic, inspirational, likeminded people through the various studios that I belong to and wellness events that I go to. But it really goes beyond that… It’s not just about knowing these people, it’s about developing relationships with them in and out of the fitness world. It’s about surrounding myself with people who are interested in the same things that I am — so I don’t feel alone or like the “odd one out” for prioritizing fitness and wellness the way that I do. When you surround yourself with people who understand the vast benefits of maintaining a solid fitness routine, you are inevitably surrounding yourself with people who have a good outlook on life, will challenge you to be your best and will GET you in a way that some others just can’t. They are prioritizing their health — meaning they are prioritizing their own happiness in one way or another… They aren’t allowing themselves to get lost in the shuffle or get swallowed up by the sedentary life that is so socially “normal” in our society. They will encourage you to be the best version of yourself, and you’ll always have a workout buddy and someone to lean on when you need extra motivation. I’m not saying that people who are addicted to fitness are all awesome people and/or more likely to be inspiring than people who are NOT into it, but I am saying if you look for them in the fitness community you will find them, bond with them, and align yourself with them. It’s a pretty magical quality — and that bonding is certainly sped up in the yoga community because of the overall inclusive vibe of yoga itself.
A) And as a small sub-category of #1, because I got very general there for a minute: the reason why I personally put this at the top of the list is because once I actually got involved in the fitness community rather than just being into it for a long time but walking in and out of every studio pretty much with blinders on to the people I could meet… that’s when everything changed. I credit part of that shift to my yoga teacher training in 2011, when I realized that there were tons of people who were looking to transform their lives through fitness and yoga, and in part to joining OrangeTheory last year and meeting so many incredible people through that studio. One person in particular that I met through OTF has become my marathon coach, and several others have become some of my very closest friends. I have found a lot of support in that community of people and I also love having people to share my passions with (or addictions, lol) — it helps me stay on track with my goals and intentions in life — wellness being at the top of that list!
It prevents me from being an addict of unhealthy things. If you have an addictive personality like I do, there is a lot of room to potentially develop addictions or obsessions in not-so-healthy areas. I have been there, like when I was addicted to restricting my food intake and also addicted to eating nothing but pure, healthy, clean, organic vegetables from the earth. It might sound twistedly sort of healthy, but it wasn’t. I was depriving my body of necessary nutrients, healthy fats, protein, and ultimately calories in order to survive and thrive. I don’t think that I personally would be the type to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, mainly because I really dislike both of them, but you never know. I have also become addicted to sugar at different points in my life which has been particularly upsetting and frustrating, because it gets in the way of my fitness routine! When you’re bogged down on sugar, you don’t feel good and don’t have the same type of energy and stamina to workout. Being addicted to fitness has sculpted my routine into a very positive one all around.
I have to fuel my body properly in order to have the energy to train and recover. In regards to what I mentioned above, it has taken quite a bit of diligence for me to find a new normal when it comes to fueling my body in the RIGHT way. First I was borderline anorexic with orthorexia, then I let go of the restrictions and forced myself to eat unhealthy foods to prove to myself that I was recovering/recovered from my eating disorder. Now that I am finally back in the swing of my fitness routine, eating well and eating enough is not a problem. I have to make the active decision to fuel myself properly every single day, eating nutrient-dense foods that replenish my body and give me energy to recover from my workouts. There is a science to it, and I have done more research than I can explain in order to find out what works best for me and also what works best to help me recover from and train for the different types of workouts that I do. This is a truly awesome aspect and it’s high up on this list because nutrition and fitness go hand in hand with one another, and when practiced in a smart and balanced way, you will find the healthiest version of yourself.
4. I sleep better. Well, this is huge because without physically working my body to the bone every day I suffer from serious sleep issues. It can be hard for me to turn my anxious mind off at night, and for some reason I tend to think about everything I need to do for the next 38473849 days the moment that I lay down to go to sleep. When I am exhausted from a long run, a sweaty yoga sesh, a HIIT class, Pilates, etc. then I actually for once in my life sleep like a baby. I also know that I need to sleep well in order to have energy for the next day’s workout, and it’s like a test for my subconscious to figure out how worth it it is to allow my brain to slow down so I can fall asleep and wake up to do what I love. It turns into this weird mind-body brain exercise where my whole body starts working as one (as it should) to allow me to get a good night’s sleep for the greater good of being able to maintain my daily routine. It’s amazing when it actually works — and it always works if I’ve worked out hard enough.
5. I stay more hydrated. We all know the importance of good hydration. It’s pertinent for the optimal functioning of our digestive system, it’s necessary for our skin on both a surface and cellular level, it keeps us alert and high functioning, and also keeps our hunger in check when we are properly hydrated. I drink a ton of water upon waking up so that I will be hydrated for my workouts, and while I workout I chug. After I workout I chug, too. Working out certainly helps in the hydration department.
6. Endorphin highs!! This is a fun one. It’s so fun that it gets two exclamation points! I am sure you’ve heard the Legally Blonde quote, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” — Good ol’ Elle Woods. (Lol). But it’s true. If you’ve ever experienced a workout rigorous enough to give you that rockin’ endorphin high, then you totally know what I am talking about. I thrive off of those endorphins, and actually when I don’t work out in the beginning part of my day I really miss that adrenaline high. It gives me alertness and energy for my day and also point blank makes me happier. It also has something to do with feeling accomplished, and endorphins certainly do make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
7. It’s a great way to see LA & a great way to travel. I have a whole new appreciation for this after running 18 miles on foot last Saturday with my LA Marathon training team (#TeamNutribullet, represent!). I ran from West LA / Brentwood through Century City, down Rodeo Drive and deep into Beverly Hills close to West Hollywood before I turned around and ended back in Brentwood. Some of my teammates got all the way to the Chinese theatre before turning back around! I have also had this experience when I have been traveling. Even if I’m not running, checking out a workout studio in a new city is a great way to experience what life is like as a local. One of my best memories doing that was in the tiny town of Carmel by the Sea in Nor Cal, when I went to a local yoga studio with my brother-in-law on Thanksgiving morning. It was SO COOL for us to see how all the yogis in that tiny little town came together to practice an awesome flow that morning, and a bunch of them even brought their little kids since it was a holiday. I’ll never forget how charming it was to see them all interacting with each other and getting a glimpse into what it would be like to live there — it was such a cool sight because most of the people I’d ever observed in Carmel were tourists on vacation like us. I love to feel like a local and get a glimpse into what life is like in little pockets around the world… It’s the hyper-observant (or nosy?) writer in me. 😉 (Side note: I did the same thing in Florence, Italy but it was less enjoyable… Yoga there is not like yoga here! The other cool thing about this is you find what works for you and what doesn’t.)8. Being in shape is a huge confidence booster. It’s the truth, and I’d say this to anyone. Whenever someone asks me how I achieve happiness and feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, I say WORKOUT and get into shape. Everyone has their own definition of being “in shape,” and for me of course since I am an addict I take this idea to a whole other level (without putting pressure on myself, I swear — I have fun with it). But getting into shape for you might mean going on walks after dinner instead of sitting on the couch and eating ice cream, or trying a new studio or routine that has scared you for a long time because you don’t think you’re ready enough for it. Let me tell you: there is no perfect time to try something new. You have to just DO IT. Tomorrow won’t seem any easier than today. Do it now, and be stronger than your excuses. It will be so worth it. 🙂
9. It is a de-stressor and will add more compassion to your life. Exercise is an obvious de-stressor. This is both science-based and experience-based. Working out gets your heart pumping and helps lessen your anxiety levels if you suffer from anxiety, and it gets you out of your HEAD. I believe working out has brought a whole lot of compassion into my life for a lot of reasons. I have been in a position many times where I come back to a particular kind of workout after not doing it for a long time, and it’s very frustrating. I have had a lot of health problems over the years that at times have knocked me down… And it’s intimidating to start from the bottom again. Every single time. Then you work your way back up. I’ve also seen a lot of other people do this, and in many cases I’ve seen people do it who come from a very unhealthy background and have absolutely nothing to lose and everything not to. When I see someone taking the plunge to exercise when it clearly intimidates them, I want to cry from happiness / give them a huge hug and a high five / write them a letter to tell them how awesome they are / tell their family to be proud of them / help them track their progress / on and on. It may sound like a little much, but I KNOW how hard it is to just START. That’s why I am always encouraging you guys to just begin. It has added a major layer of compassion and appreciation for others’ journeys to A) have my own fitness addiction/journey, B) be in the presence of so many others who are working to transform their lives through fitness.
10. IT HELPS SHAPE YOUR ROUTINE! Have you noticed that the word “routine” is my word of the YEAR so far? I am obsessed with it. I am in the process of transforming my routine and it has been so life changing I could cry just thinking about it. I have been running a lot more, (#marathontraining), waking up earlier, going to bed far earlier, carving out chunks of time to spend with the people who REALLY matter and who support my goals and intentions, doing as much yoga as I used to (or trying to), and giving myself more “me time” to hone in on what I really want out of this precious and awesome life. It really all circles back to the wellness factor and having this fitness routine that helps shape not only my days but my weeks, months, and year. It shapes my travel schedule, my relationships and my nutrition/sleep/hydration/blog work/creativity flow/etc. And not in a bad way or an obsessive way… It gives me structure where I otherwise may not have it. I have an alternative job, remember?! Fitness helps me structure my day in a very positive way.
You might not see me above unless you look hard… I’m hiding behind Mike’s shoulder! Working it out at OTF. 🙂
So, fitness addicts — what do you think?! Am I accurate? Is there something big that I missed / any points that you agree or disagree with? Would love to hear your thoughts! Soon I want to do a post on all of the fitness gear that I love / feel is necessary to developing a serious fitness addiction and workout routine. Let me know if you have any suggestions! Lots of love!! Xx