In the age of social media, the fitness industry has morphed into a larger-than-life entity that lingers in online ads and influencer posts. It’s constantly bombarding you wherever you scroll. The pressure to “get fit” has become like an older relative passively-aggressively reminding you to call them more. Occasionally, you may want to throw your phone at a wall after the 20th time seeing the new Weight Watchers, ahem excuse me, “WW” ad.
Honestly, the fitness world can be frightening and frustrating (two F’s you never want to give), especially when you don’t know where to begin.
Before we go down the rabbit hole of the paradox of choice and why having too many options can actually stress you out more, let’s look at the upside to the abundance of the fitness world online.
The great thing about having so many options available online is that you never have to leave your house (I mean, let’s not pretend like we aren’t slightly traumatized by IRL socializing after a year and a half in quarantine!).
Jokes aside, starting off your fitness journey online, whether through an app or a website like YouTube, can be highly beneficial in creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Reducing the fitness world to a few apps on your phone can make working out and eating healthier more manageable and less intimidating, if only because there’s more wiggle room to discover what programs and routines are best for you. It’s certainly an excellent alternative for those of us who are apprehensive about jumping back into a gym. Even if you aspire to go to the gym one day, starting your workout journey online can set you up to meet that goal. For example, you can choose an online fitness program that incorporates weight training and get comfortable with the moves at home. And soon, you’ll be prepared to work out with the gym bros in no time.
Now, you may be thinking that starting your fitness journey online will be isolating and lonely. Well, that’s far from the case.
Almost every fitness program has a community.
Two very community-oriented apps are Equinox+ and Peloton. Equinox+ is owned by Equinox (which also owns Soul Cycle and a few other major fitness brands), and it includes an array of unique Equinox workouts. Along with access to Equinox workouts, the app also puts together different challenges that you can partake in alongside other members. In addition, there are Facebook and Instagram groups where members are encouraged to support and motivate each other. Aside from their infamous commercial, Peloton is a great way to bring the electric energy of a gym environment to your home. Peloton is excellent for individuals who like a lot of variety in their workouts but don’t want to sacrifice convenience. And while you might immediately just think of spinning/cycling when you hear Peloton, you might be very pleasantly surprised to see the huge variety of online workouts they offer, including meditations. Plus, part of Peloton’s success resides in its community features. From leaderboards to tags to “high fives,” Peloton offers plenty of avenues to help you stay connected while remaining focused on your goals.
If you’re looking for more affordable or free programs,
YouTube is a great source of fitness content with large communities at no cost. Blogilates (Casey Ho), Lilly Sabri, and Caroline Girvan are three fantastic fitness instructors that offer free weekly/monthly professional workout programs on their respective YouTube channels. Each instructor has their distinct workout style, with workouts ranging from beginner to advanced. They also promote sustainable healthy lifestyles with plenty of resources that are accessible for everyone.
Another essential component to overall fitness and health is food — dun dun dun *cue the lightning and ominous organ music*.
Food is often a scary subject, given that we treat it as a binary of bad and good. But food doesn’t have to be placed into such a discouraging perspective. Food should be seen as nourishment for both the body and soul. The key to attaining a healthy relationship with food is finding balance, and this, ladies and gents, is an individual process.
The key to finding that balance lies in listening to your body. It’s all about intuitiveness. Your body is telling you what it needs and it is not only a matter of becoming in tune with it but also honoring its signals.
A simple way to become more intuitive with your body is by tracking your food intake and how it makes you feel. My Fitness Pal and Noom are two nutrition tracking apps that are helpful in building mindfulness towards your eating habits. However, it’s easy to become fixated with measuring food and counting calories which will derail your path towards intuitive eating. If you notice yourself becoming overly preoccupied with tracking your food intake it’s time you take a step back and pause for a moment.
Remember health is an individualized journey. It’s not a competition or a race. There’s no finish line. It’s a lifestyle. It’s something for YOU and it’s not for anyone else. It’s not a punishment. It’s supposed to be something that makes YOU feel GOOD.
A lot of the time, working out and eating well turns into an agonizing duty. It becomes this thing that we “have” to do because if we don’t, then we’re “bad.” The most crucial component towards heath is the mindset with which you approach it. Think of health as a journey towards self love. Becoming active and eating well should be acts of care towards your body, not methods of torture. When it comes to your fitness and health, you are the main priority. Don’t forget it!