Reframing Exercise

Before my break, I used to have “Crossfit” as a task on my to-do list every day. Not because I would forget, but because it was a time commitment I needed to account for. My training was, and is, a personal priority for me. Planning allowed me to make sure I could carve out time to focus on my training most days.

These days, a lot of my training takes place at home: mobility work, yoga, physical therapy exercises, bodyweight strength training, walking, and (in many ways) sleeping. How I view exercise has completely shifted. Instead of relating to it from a sense of discipline, I’ve now shifted back to seeing it purely as a way of engaging with my health and body.

Healthy vs. athletic

It took me some time to realize that my training had shifted from regular fitness to that of a competitive athlete. For about a year, I was training Crossfit about five to six days a week. For six months, I was training two times a day for about four days per week, primarily to prep for competitions.

I don’t think this difference is highlighted enough. Not because athletes are impressively fit and we should all strive to be that strong/fast/muscular/explosive/etc. More so because most of us don’t know exactly how much we “should” be exercising. Training to be an athlete, at a certain point, isn’t actually that healthy. At the very least, it requires a lot of more recovery in order to better recoup from the extreme conditions you’re putting your body in.

Is that a bad thing? Nope. But, while humans are naturally active, I will never find myself in nature trying to improve my Fran time. It’s just a different type of fitness.

What is wellness?

Exercising for health is different from training competitively. For me, “health” means feeling good in my body, being able to move and stretch comfortable, having stamina for my day-to-day life, and sleeping well.

These past few months, that’s meant doing some sort of low-impact cardio workout – like going for a walk, rowing, or using the elliptical – about two to three times a week, with physical therapy and some bodyweight-based strength training thrown in there about twice a week for so. Plus, meditation and yoga in the mornings. Nothing longer than a half-hour to an hour, depending on how I’m feeling.

It’s a far cry from my schedule about three months ago, where I’d typically spend about two hours in the gym doing a mixture of strength training and what amounted to about three or four WODs in a day.

It’s easy to want to label one as “good” and the other “bad.” In reality, it depends. When I first started a more intense training schedule, I felt great. It worked well with my schedule, my goals, and my health at the time. Circumstances change. We change. What felt healthy at one point is no longer working for me. So I shifted, and I’ll shift again – in one direction or another – soon enough.

Reframing what exercise means

These days, my to-do list no longer says “Crossfit.” Instead, I have a daily task: movement.

Even when taking a break from more athletic endeavors, I know that moving my body is what makes me feel good. By nature, I tend to be all or nothing. All of my instincts scream that if I can’t train, I should do nothing at all.

Finding moderation is a good thing.

Right now, it’s teaching me to learn when my body needs a complete rest. It’s teaching me how to differentiate between what types of movement I may need in a day. It’s showing me that there’s an alternative to “fitness fanatic athlete” where I can still connect with my body, appreciate its strength and endurance, and continue to give it the time and space to heal.

Exercise, working out, and even training can all sound like punishments or obligations. Movement, on the other hand, is a word that feels more open to me.

All I’m asking myself is how I want to move today and then we go from there.

3 thoughts on “Reframing Exercise

  1. Anne McCarthy says:

    This is the exact realization I had around my idea of health too 🙂 Fun to see your take evolve – curious to see where it all leads in the future. Always appreciate your thoughts, friend.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.