Saturday, May 9, 2015

What You Can When You Can #WYCWYC

Conventional fitness wisdom says that if you want to get in/stay in shape you better join CrossFit, go Paleo or Vegan. You better do those Insanity/P90X workouts at least six days a week with an active recovery day, run marathons, obstacle runs and only eat "clean." You'll only get results if you give up alcohol, sugar, gluten, carbs and any hint of fun or pleasure in your life. Sounds enticing. Are you in?

The problem with these messages is that they exclude everyone who wants to have a normal life outside of their health and fitness routine. They exclude people who prioritize their families, friends and careers over hours in the gym. We don't all have the time and energy to pursue the look of professional fitness models. It doesn't mean we don't want to be fit and healthy.

What about the working mom? The busy professional? And the rest of the people that have active fulfilling lives outside of their workouts? What about the person who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle, but doesn't want the pursuit of health to take over their entire life, where does that leave them?

These extreme messages say if you can't go on a 21 day juice cleanse detox or attend a 5am extreme bootcamp seven days a week then you might as well accept the fact that you will be a fat, lazy, failure for the rest of your life. Isn't that uplifting? Motivating, right? Stop being so lazy. These messages say that it's your own fault that you don't look like a fitness model. You must not have enough willpower.

Then there is common sense. Or should it be called uncommon sense? Because it doesn't seem all that common in the fitness world. Why take extremes when you can take a sensible "What You Can When You Can" approach?

There is nothing wrong with prioritizing fitness, hard workouts or strict diets if that is what you want to do. But if these things are too overwhelming, too time consuming or above your current abilities or desires, it doesn't mean you can't still live a healthy active life. There is also nothing wrong with living an active lifestyle on your own terms.

I read Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone's book "What You Can When You Can" and it was a complete breath of fresh air. It is all so simple and uncomplicated. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Let's stop trippin' on guilt. Let's start loving ourselves and accepting that we are not perfect (no one is) and never will be. Let's seize every opportunity to do what we can (but only when we can). Let's not beat ourselves up when we fall short. Let's celebrate ourselves (and others) when we totally rock it!

When I first heard about this book, I didn't think that I was the target audience. I work out regularly, I eat healthfully most of the time. I thought this book was for people who were just beginning their fitness journey, people who didn't know where to begin.

But I was wrong. It is so much more than that. It's a mind shift. It's a lifestyle. I read this book on my flight to Pittsburgh for the half marathon and I realized that this book is for everyone. This book is for me. Especially for me and people like me that struggle with moderation. It's for everyone who ever had the dreaded all-or-nothing mentality. It is for everyone who strives to live a healthier life. Everyone who wants to improve and progress, no matter where they are in their fitness journey.

It's learning that all the little things add up to big things. It's realizing that a ten minute run (or walk) is better than an hour of not running. It's doing wall sits while you brush your teeth because that may be the only time you have to work out that day. It's enjoying (no guilt!) that slice of pizza (or two) at your kid's party and then (probably) eating a salad for dinner.  It means flossing one tooth a day because, while not ideal, it is still better than not flossing ever.

You don't have to be perfect. You don't even have to strive for perfection. You just have to make the best decision that you can at the time. Something is better than nothing. This is a health and fitness book that preaches common sense, moderation and self-love. Unheard of.

This book is a life-changer. #WYCWYC doesn't just apply to health and fitness. It is a whole new way of thinking that celebrates the small efforts, because small efforts repeated consistently over time snowball into big results. Mind blown.

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  1. Ummmmmm.
    I have absolutely no comments because I fear I want to marry this blog post. OH :-) Or better yet hire you to be our publicist. You've nailed it here entirely.

  2. I'm pretty sure I'm a convert. I'm WycWycan.

  3. I chose the healthy fitness (whatever you want to call it) path in 1970 when I (and a few friends) started a track team for girls at my small midwestern high school that spring (WAY before title nine btw). I fell in love with running, later cycling, swimming, weights, along with my career, my husband, my daughter and life in general…
    Anyone with a small amount of grey matter knows what to put in their bodies, and that bodies need motion. I continue to get up at 4 each day to wake up mind, body and soul before I head off to my job 45 min. away. So, why should I listen to two moms who have never had to juggle a real away from home work schedule, pay their own bills (I was a single mom for many years and just paid off out house), or actually get dressed to get their kids to school and then continue to a job where you actually interact with real people (dozens and dozens of them) during a day, and still find time to train to compete in marathons, triathlons, runs across the Grand Canyon, ultras, swims form Alcatraz, mountain bike, etc. etc. etc. Now THAT's a book I could get behind. Guess I better start writing!

  4. I sorta feel like it is a cop out and so keeping sorta quiet.


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