Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine displays her dancing prowess? She heads out onto the dance floor and starts busting moves, none of which should ever be repeated. It's a train wreck. This is me. I can't dance to save my life. The few times I have stepped foot in a Zumba class, I had to hide in the back corner to save the rest of the class from the horror that is my rhythm.
I don't dance well. At all.
I'm also really bad at planning social events. Planning my 3 year old's birthday party gave me anxiety for months. (Ok maybe just days, because like I said, I don't plan these things.)
I also am the proud owner of a black thumb, generally killing most of my plants. Decorating is not my forte, either. I'm afraid of color so everything in my house is brown. I just don't have an eye for it, and the same goes for fashion. My only saving grace with fashion is that Athleta now exists, otherwise it would be sweatpants and spandex shorts 24/7. Actually, I guess it still is.
But, I can bust out some serious push-ups and burpees. I can take a workout and dominate that thing until the dumbbells start sweating. I have also been told that I'm a good coach, able to teach complicated concepts in simple and approachable ways. I have the ability to make fitness not so scary. I can also write…sort of…maybe?
And I really do love these things. I love to train, to sweat, to burn…just for the sake of it! I enjoy coaching, teaching and writing. But that’s just me. You may absolutely hate all of this, and that’s ok.
You have permission to be you.
Some of us have an impression that we should love working out. That being fit, active and sprinkled with chia seeds is the ideal woman today. Let me tell you that you don’t have to be perfectly fit. You don’t have to love exercise and meal planning. You DO NOT have to workout every day to measure up.
Never, ever feel guilty for not wanting to devote countless time and energy toward fitness. Because I guarantee you have felt guilt about this before. "I just don't love it! I'm a failure!"
Should I feel guilty for not liking dance, or being downright awful at it? Would it make any sense to pound myself into the ground to fit into some dancer-mold when I have zero passion for it? No, not at all!
Passionately you. What ARE your passions? What are your dreams? What gifts has God given to you? Perhaps you love to dance, you have a bold green thumb, or the parties you throw are to die for. Maybe you are a gifted teacher and have patience working with little kids. Or, do you love style, fashion and decorating?
Fitness is my passion, and that’s why I do it every day. It’s my jam, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Just do enough "fitness" to be healthy, but devote the rest of your time and energy towards what you love, what you’re good at, and what God has called you to be doing right now, in this season.
Just do enough to be healthy. At this point you may be wondering if I'm giving you a workout-hall-pass. "I'm off the hook!" Nope. It is absolutely necessary that you take care of your body. However, this responsibility does not mean you have to become a fitness fanatic.
If you hate fitness, this is what I recommend:
1. Set aside some time just twice a week to do a planned strengthening workout. This does not have to be long and involved, but you do need to strengthen your muscles. Without this strengthening, you are at risk for injuries as you get older, a metabolism that nose-dives, and a body that simply doesn’t function well. You need muscle. Within these workouts you can also work on your balance, coordination, and flexibility. Read more here about how to combine all the important aspects of fitness into one compact workout.
2. Everyday, just move. Don’t sit still. If you have a desk job, set an alarm every hour to get up and walk around. Go for a walk with your friend. Have an impromptu dance party (don’t invite me, please.) Don’t be afraid to swing on the swings and climb all over the playground with your kids. Play tag.
3. Make good nutrition as automatic as possible. Don’t even think about counting calories, weighing your food or measuring. You will hate this. Just aim for eating every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), eat protein with every meal (like eggs, chicken, fish or beef) and eat fresh produce with every meal. If you want to take it one step further, sprinkle some healthy fats into your meals in the form of avocados, nuts, seeds, different oils, olives and fish. Practice stopping when you’re not quite full. Listen to your body, make good choices, but don’t make a big deal out of it.
4. Sleep well. If you hate fitness, I’m sure you will at least like this one. If you’re sleep deprived, your body is in a constant state of stress. YOU NEED SLEEP. Nap if you must, go to bed earlier, create a nighttime routine…whatever it takes to achieve about 6-8 hours of sleep. If you have a baby that’s not sleeping well, learn to nap as much as possible. Understand how important rest is for you as a mom, and carve out the space and time to rest.
And that’s it. No more, no less. This is just enough to be reasonably healthy and responsible with your body.
Reality check. Understand that if you're doing the bare minimum like I just described, you cannot expect your body to be extremely fit, lean, athletic and incredibly strong. Do not expect to lose a significant amount of body fat. Do not expect to experience a remarkable transformation. It requires so much more than this.
Think long and hard about your goals before you decide if doing the bare minimum is all you want to do. If you have bigger goals, you better step up your game.
But if you truly hate fitness and the word exercise makes you cringe, then you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Don't try and be a fitness fanatic when that is the last thing you really want to be. Do the bare minimum, and then spend your time doing what God has called you to right now.
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Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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