Personal trainer and Pilates instructor Phyl London has taught me a lot about working out: Keep your head up, stay aligned in the feet and hips, tuck the ribs, bend the knees, BREATH. But last night when we were working out, I had an "aha" moment. The question: "Why do you workout?" is a loaded one. Often, people begin workout routines because they want to lose weight, or they feel guilty for eating a high calorie meal, or they have an upcoming event that they want to lose weight for, or they simply have an ongoing goal to look better. But the benefits of exercise run so much deeper than these reasons.
My conversations about health and fitness with Phyl have revealed something to me about my mental connection to being physically active. Though exercise, I have gotten stronger, more confident in my physical capabilities, more serious about my muscle and skeletal health, and I look toward a future of flexibility and strength in my older age. I used to agonize over a missed workout, because I thought that taking a day or two off for some rest meant I was lazy. Now I realize that rest is extremely important and valuable to both our physical and mental states. Your relationship with exercise, just like your relationship with food, is an important place to explore your relationship with yourself.
I treat working out in Phyl's classes like a sports team practicing, because each week we build on our skills and challenge ourselves a little more. And even if we fall or fail, we try it again and again until we master it. And that's what working out means to me: To challenge my body, my mind, and my confidence. And that's Guiltless.