I have this theory that almost no one in the general population really knows what it’s like to feel healthy. I know I didn’t for years. Much of this is a product of our society that values productivity over all else. The hustle is glorified and everyone is over-caffeinated and under-rested. To test this theory I present you this question:
If you had no idea what you looked like, no idea what your weight or B<I were, no idea how many times a week you worked out, no idea what your macros or calories were, no idea of your appearance: would you still think you were healthy? Would you still feel healthy?
Because I hate to tell you but it doesn’t matter how often you workout, how many smoothies or shakes you drink, how skinny or not skinny you are, how much you can squat, or how many miles you can run if you still feel like shit.
In college was when I first started working out. I would jam workouts between classes, work, sororities, studying, and maintaining a full college social life. I thought that being healthy and fit meant feeling tired, dry scooping pre workout to get through a lift, being sore 24/7, feeling slightly hungry (that’s a calorie deficit, right?) all the time, and rushing home after the gym for my protein shake (the window, yknow?). I was tired constantly. But this was what busy, productive, healthy people did… or so I thought.
Fast forward about 3 years I’m just starting off as a personal trainer. I love every second of working with clients and allow myself to be scheduled as early as 5am and as late as 7:30pm on some days. On top of that I am bartending a few nights a week, and working a retail shift at the mall. There are nights I sleep as little as 5 hours, and lunchtime naps are my only saving grace. Coffee, then pre workout, then an energy drink are my normal. I eat as well as I can but often forget or get too busy to actually get meals in. I am getting workouts in when I can, and think that this is healthy and normal.
I am not saying that I have a perfectly healthy routine and feel amazing 100% of the time. No one does. But what I didn’t realize before is that feeling good is so much more important than looking good, and that feeling good is 100% possible. It is possible to get through the day without feeling crazy tired, it is possible to feel energetic and rested when you wake up in the mornings, it is possible to train hard without muscle soreness or stiffness. It is possible to fuel your body with nutrient dense foods that leave you feeling satisfied and full while still making room for your favorite foods.
Your fitness and health behaviors are supposed to make you feel BETTER, not worse. Your fitness is supposed to be life giving and pain relieving. You’re supposed to be able to eat your favorite foods, get a full night’s sleep, and have time to spend with your kids. You’re supposed to be able to feel good. And you’re supposed to be able to feel good without spending tons of money on vitamins, supplements, yoga classes, energy drinks, juice cleanses, etc.
That’s not to say that that fitness isn’t hard. Burpees still suck. Pushups still suck. I never said easy. But at the end of the day are your health behaviors making you feel better or worse? Do you sleep well at night? Are you in constant pain? Are you abusing caffeine to get through a workout? It is so possible to feel rested, energetic, strong, full of life but unfortunately it won’t come from any sexy solutions or price tagged promises.