“Hey I can feel my abs today! I had no idea the pain could feel so good.” My now widened eyes stared at her. Feel so good. Those words kept resonating in my head. I had put this girl through a couple of mild core routines at our gym in the previous week. But was she serious? Feel so good… Realizing I had just introduced one of my best friends to the addictive world of fitness, excitement rushed through me much like the adrenalin after completing a set in the gym. My friend finally understood the pleasure behind working hard to feel stronger.
Fitness. For more people than we realize, this can be an intimidating concept. Some of us can look at a rather toned individual and immediately feel insecure. Our brain is bombarded with flashing neon lights of negativity. “Why can’t I be like that? I’ll never get to that level. What did they do to even look like that? They must be born with a high metabolism. Yeah, that’s too much work – I’m content with how I am now.” It’s absurd how quickly we sell ourselves short.
But we cannot be okay with this. Contentment is the beginning of the end in a world which is evolving on the edge of each new advancement. If the world around us continues to advance and improve, why not give ourselves the same chance to become better? Be it for our careers, our families, our relationships, or our bank accounts – we tirelessly (or not so tirelessly) fight to make a better tomorrow. But if we’re working so hard on making a better tomorrow, why can’t we work on our bodies being better than they were yesterday?
Being better than yesterday. I have devoted my life to this concept. This intimidating concept. It’s what drives me to continue learning and working in the field of sports medicine, health and fitness. No one is perfect, as I have come to realize over many trials and tribulations of my own. (Note to self: never eliminate chocolate from diet ever again, unless I’m OK with another world war in the house.) But that journey to self-improvement is what “perfection” is all about. I want to help those people, who are just as enthusiastic about the act of self-improvement and drive out those flashy, negative thoughts from of our society’s collective thought-bubble.
“Why can’t I be like that?” This question does not exist. You can be anything you want – clichés and all!
“I’ll never get to that level.” Yes you can, and you will. All it needs is practice. Put anything into practice, and it becomes a habit; the habit becomes a part of who you are. You just have to start somewhere.
“What did they do to even look like that?” Nothing extraordinary. No crazy concept that we don’t already know. Just simple dedication. Decide that you want to be healthier, feel better, look leaner, be stronger. Then, just act. And keep acting upon your goals every single day. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing today contributing to my overall goal?” The individuals whom you see carry about an attractive aura of self-confidence are just like everybody else. They just decided to ask themselves this question a little earlier and act on it. That’s all!
“They must be born with a high metabolism.” Fitness is not something you are born with. Everyone starts off with a bunch of baby fat and a beautifully designed digestive system. What happens as we grow older is up to us. If you find yourself twenty years too deep into fast food and soda, there is good news still. The body is designed to adapt; change your habits starting immediately, and the results will come. Every single person can become fit, strong, and healthy. No one is born with it.
“Yeah, that’s too much work – I’m content with how I am now.” Inaction is our cheapest commodity. But you get what you pay for. Again, contentment is lethal to our mental growth and body’s development. There is a simple check you can perform any time for this. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable with yourself. If you’re too comfortable, change something. Introducing ourselves to uncomfortable situations helps teach us about ourselves.
That day, my best friend had a taste of what it was like to feel stronger, and feel better. She kept telling me how she simply didn’t feel like eating junk food, because the soreness from her abs reminded her of her hard work that week. I was still wide-eyed and beaming.
Keep learning. Never stop improving. Go. Go. GO.
Nisha Jani attended the University of Miami for college and graduate school, leaving with a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine. Currently an athletic trainer in Miami, she is devoted to the study of exercise and kinesiology. Nisha also has a passion for creative forms of expression including dance, design and motivational reading and writing.