An athlete's reflection on the ultimate goal of fitness
Why do you engage in fitness? What motivates you to work out? Many people would say they want to get in shape. Some would say they wanted to be healthy and additionally wanted to look good.
Most people see fitness as a painful process. To get in shape, one must endure restrictive diets associated with painful and tedious exercises.
It is time to deconstruct that.
First, in what shape do we want to get into?
According to the popular view, the ultimate goal of fitness is to get in shape; one must ask the question: in the shape of what?
I think we all know the answer. The lean, toned body is seen daily on TV shows, Instagram fees, or on the cover of health magazines. If that is the target of most, no wonder why many fall short in their fitness journey.
Each one of us has a unique and extraordinary body. As the wise Jim Ron once said:
"Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live." - Jim Ron
Fitness should not be seen as the pursuit of the perfect body but rather as a journey of self-discovery. We get to know, understand and love who we are and seek to grow into a better version of ourselves.
This journey does require us to be willing to play outside of our comfort zones. Still, it can be an enjoyable climb in which we learn a great deal about ourselves, stretch the limits of our bodies, celebrate small and big victories, and meet incredible people.
Getting in shape should not be the ultimate goal of fitness. This way of thinking seems to offer a shallow purpose and an elusive goal.
Working out to "get in shape" is like chasing the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It is always moving away from you no matter how fast you go.
Perhaps we should redefine our relationship with fitness by thinking of it as a process that makes us feel good, so we can look good according to our own standards.
We are always one workout away from having a great day, right?!
What can we learn from Jiu-Jitsu?
One of the essential mindset lessons we bring from Jiu-Jitsu to BarraFIT focuses primarily on the process rather than the goal.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) training is an arduous journey. Students take almost a decade to achieve a black belt. One cannot endure BJJ if too obsessed with a specific goal. The goal gives a sense of direction, but the greatest joy is found in overcoming daily obstacles on the mats and the growth that comes with it.
What makes Jiu-Jitsu worth it is not just the black belt at the finish line but the growth in the process.
The same applies to fitness; what makes our fitness journey worth it is not just the great body we can achieve down the line but the growth, health, and joy we can enjoy along the way.
Try shifting our mindset from "How do I look" to "How do I feel." This simple change of perspective can improve your relationship with your workouts, diet, and ultimately with your body.
After all, we all want to look good, so we can feel good. But if we think differently, we can accomplish so much more by making sure our workouts are helping us feel good so we can look good.
Professor Vivi Almeida, Brazilian Jiu-JItsu Black Belt
Co-Founder and Head Coach of the BarraFIT Studio of Scottsdale
BarraFIT in Scottsdale Arizona
BarraFIT, a top-ranked fitness studio in Scottsdale, Arizona offers programs inspired by martial arts and driven by science to help you achieve your fitness goals while feeling great.
Fitness should not be a chore. By emphasizing the progress that occurs when we are outside of our comfort zones, we teach our athletes to discover comfort in discomfort. It's rewarding since you can derive pride and confidence from daily practice.
If you are curious about our unique approach to fitness, book a class with us below.