People often ask me what I do for fitness. I usually respond by saying yoga or running, but that's a lie. I don't do anything specific for fitness. I believe that a person's level of fitness is a result of the lifestyle they've chosen to live, not a result of the sport or activity they perform for 30 minutes each day.
So what do I actually do for fitness?
I live a life of play and movement. I never go to the gym to work on my body. I go to the gym because I want to play. I do sports because I want to have fun. I run because I like to test the limits of my mind and body. I practice yoga because I'm eager to strengthen my sense of spirituality.
By living a life where you play more, your body and fitness will improve without all of the stress that normally comes along with getting into shape. Stop trying to work on your body, and start playing, all day, everyday. If you do this, I promise that you'll not only feel better physically, but your mind will become clearer than you ever thought possible.
Instead of asking the question "how can I get fit," ask "how can I live a life where I play more, and worry less?"
Here are four ways you can make fitness fun again:
I first found Crossfit a little over a year ago and was pleasantly surprised by the lifestyle it promotes. Crossfit gyms (commonly known as boxes) offer competition-style events in a community setting with every single class. Although the classes themselves are excellent workouts, my mentality is almost never that I'm going to be training or working out when I walk into a box. Rather, it feels like I'm going to be playing a game and competing with a community of good friends.
One of the things I miss most about my youth is being able to challenge my friends to handstand contents, running races, and wresting matches. Crossfit gave me a way to bring that sense of competition and fun back into my life. Crossfit's mission encourages functional and constantly varied movements so it's not unlikely that you'll find yourself climbing ropes, running, rowing, doing handstands or even throwing baseballs in a class. Not every workout has to be thought of as competition, but it definitely does bring the fun back into fitness for me.
For those in the Ann Arbor area, check out Crossfit Treetown. Some of the most fun and adventurous spirits I know are members there.
Girls: Don't be afraid to walk into a Crossfit box just because of what the media tells you. Crossfit is one of the leading advocates of the campaign "strong is the new skinny." The community encourages girls to build lean muscle and live a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to supporting the stick-skinny photoshopped image that is featured in beauty magazines.
2. Pick Up Soccer or Club Sports
One of my favorite activities to do in a new town is to find a local basketball or soccer game and join it. Almost every city in the states offers local meetups (meetup.com) related to sports that you can join within minutes.
If going for a run alone bores you, find a local sports team. You'll meet people, engage in friendly games, and get all of your fitness needs met. The average soccer player runs six miles in a full ninety minute match. Although you'll probably play for half of that time, you can add several miles to your shoes in a single game without even realizing it. Some of my best memories with friends have come from moments we spent in friendly competition.
3. Vinyasa Yoga
Of all the fitness communities I've been a part of in my life, none have been as welcoming, open, and friendly as RED Yoga in Ann Arbor. Although I rarely think of yoga as a workout, my body has never felt better than when I was practicing yoga daily.
Guys: Don't be afraid to do yoga just because you lack flexibility or think of it as a feminine activity. Yoga is proving to be one the best supplements to many male dominated sports, such as weightlifting and football. Athletes like Lebron James and Victor Cruz have been using yoga for years to better their game and improve their focus.
The number of people showing up to vinyasa yoga is exploding due to an increased number of scientific studies on its benefits. Yoga is even being used as treatment for extremely sick pulmonary and cancer patients.
Many yoga studios today offer classes with up-beat music and additional cardio movements. Instead of stretching and doing sit ups in your basement, join a yoga studio for a community of people who will encourage and inspire you daily.
4. Adventure Sports
Participating in adventure sports is my favorite way to make fitness fun. Whether you go white water rafting, skiing, surfing, rock climbing, or mountain biking, you'll get a killer workout while having the time of your life. I spent a week in San Gil, Colombia, doing nothing but adventure sports and felt unstoppable.
There is nothing like the feeling you get while paddling a raft through level four rapids, surfing two-meter-tall waves, or climbing to the top of a mile-high mountain.
Check the web for adventure sports near your hometown and sign up today. If nothing else, you'll learn a new skill and meet some awesome people.
Making Fitness Fun
The one thing I would suggest to anybody struggling to keep up their fitness is to stop thinking of activities in terms of fitness. Don't do things with the sole purpose of "getting in a workout" or improving your body. Fitness will come if you live a lifestyle of fun and adventure. Go make friends and play, and I promise you'll get into the best shape of your life, both physically and mentally.
Do you have any other ways you make fitness fun? Let us know in the comments!
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