Is your definition or idea of a fitness journey based on “go hard or go home”? Or is it based on “showing up, no matter what”? And if this is so, is it driving you to find comfort, reward and pleasure in food? This so-called discipline can drive you to eat more and then to exercise more to burn what you ate, which you really didn’t need!

Do you believe you need a certain level of fitness in order to start going to the gym? But what if I told you that being unfit is the main reason you should go to the gym? Being strong is an outcome of going to the gym. Unfortunately, many students have admitted to me that they used to be intimidated by gyms before they came to Kinetic Living. They felt lost, not good enough or, worst of all, not thin enough to work out in public. This is what I mean about the atmosphere at Kinetic Living. We want our students to feel free to be themselves, to make mistakes, to make noise, to push their limits in a safe space.

Does boredom stop you from becoming consistent? What if I told you that you have got to be moving first, not working out? And moving could mean any movement. Do you suffer from inconsistency because you “don’t have the time”? But what if I told you even five minutes is better than zero minutes?

Do you depend a lot on “challenges” and “transformations” or “boot camps” or hop on to time-based strict programmes to bring you “back on track”?

Willpower can fuel consistency only in the short run.

Are you stuck in any of these cycles on a macro level? Do any of these cycles describe your fitness journey, which keeps looping? In many cases, the motivation or will to follow these programmes gets more and more depleted with every passing attempt! That’s because willpower is limited. You cannot depend on willpower for long-lasting fitness. If there is too much dependency on willpower or discipline, you will most likely oscillate between all and nothing or not get started at all! Is this true for you?

Another drawback of excessive reliance on discipline is that it leads to feelings of guilt or high self-judgement. It fosters unhealthy dependence on external standards of performance – kilograms lost, push-ups performed, kilometres run, percentage of fat loss, total number of inches lost, weight lifted, frequency of workouts, Instagram likes. They don’t consider you or your life phase. Hence, it’s extremely important to understand the Law of Connectedness and the ME Framework for Consistency.

The need of the hour is to change the way we look at fitness and our relationship with our bodies.

Is your body unhappy?

Unfortunately, in this efficiency-driven world, we have equated recreational fitness with competitive fitness. Even in general fitness, speaking in the context of health and not professional sports, why is it all about the fastest timings, heaviest lifts, lightest bodies or longest distances? Why is there no room for unique body shapes, the different life phases that one might be in, factors that won’t exactly match you and your gym buddy? Why is there absolutely no consideration or gratitude for what the body is on the inside? Why is recreational fitness equated with six-pack abs, weight loss and a certain body type?

The unfortunate part is we all know that the media and popular culture are to be blamed for this stereotyping, but instead of questioning them, we all secretly want to achieve the goals they promote. We refuse to accept our secret goals because even wanting to look desirable or attractive is not considered a sign of humility. So on the one side, we don’t like the way our body looks, and on the other, we don’t even openly accept that wanting to look good and attractive is totally fine! How can we work towards a goal that we cannot even fully accept?

Why are so many people shy about admitting they want to look sexy and attractive? But the same people will feel guilty for missing workouts and refer to food indulgence as their “cheat meal”. If we see anything that is remotely pleasurable, desirable or not so humble, it is spoken of in a hushed voice. Why? Are we embarrassed about our own goals? Do we feel guilty when we look at ourselves naked in the mirror? This is where awareness plays an important role when it comes to fitness. Let’s take a step back and look at fitness before it became “fitness”.

Our bodies were made to move. Our bodies were built to run, to lift substantially heavy loads, to push stuff around, carry and walk with heavy loads, climb hills, wade through water. We have been doing this for millennia. Now, just as our diets have changed from natural food to more industrially produced food, our lifestyles have become more and more sedentary. It is said, sitting is the new smoking!

Hence arose the need to dedicate concentrated chunks of time to physical training. Enter fitness. Now, when we can brush our teeth, take a bath and eat for survival, we need to also move our bodies to survive and thrive.

Research has now shown that just exercising for an hour a day and vegetating for the rest of the day is also bad for us. For optimum fat oxidation, we need to be mildly active throughout the day in small spurts! That means, from an evolutionary point of view, moving our bodies is essential for our lives.

Excerpted with permission from Kinetic Living: Your Fitness Revolution, Urmi Kothari, Bloomsbury India.