Welcome to my annual fitness recap!
I must say, 2015 was a damn good year. I did a lot, saw a lot, conquered a lot (vini vidi vici!) and feel really motivated to do so much more in the next year. The things I’ve learned stretch across a bunch of different areas (I mean, I could really go in on things I’ve learned about my relationship, social issues, career lessons…sooo much), but to stick to the theme of what we discuss around here, I’ll talk about the fitness-related things.
These are some of the things that been most profound for me in 2015.
Screw all measurements of my body
Like screw them ALL. Somewhere between going on a major workout hiatus and then starting again, I decided that I no longer want to step on a scale or measure myself. Let me tell you: it has been the best change I’ve made in my fitness routine in a long time. Some people do great with daily weigh-ins and tracking their progress, and I appreciate that if it works. For me, however, I’ve learned that it just doesn’t work. I’m way to hard on myself, way too data-driven, and too competitive, so the numbers drive me absolutely insane. Completely unnecessary stress and extra responsibility (because despite my Type A qualities, I’m actually very chill and Type B).
I’ve learned that the best measurement for my health is how I feel. This naturally translates into looking better too. It’s kind of like brushing your teeth everyday, or cutting split ends. You don’t check for the progress everyday or measure the actual progress (well, some people do, but that’s not so common). You just do the right things and the right things happen in return. That’s the logic I’m applying to my workouts and to my diet and it’s working beautifully.
In 2016: I’ll continue to Feeling as the main indicator of my health – screw the scale and the measuring tape. I may allow myself one check-in and do all of my measurements (body fat, measurements, weight), but other than that, I’ll stay away from the numbers.
Failing sucks…but keep it moving
Earlier this year, I went on vacation and decided to get a scuba diving certification. I just kind of took for granted that I would kill it. I’ve always been pretty athletic and a decent swimmer. I figured, how hard could it be? Much harder than expected! I had a total meltdown on my second dive (and trust me – I wanted to melt down way earlier than that). I cried and had a total pity party on the boat while the rest of my scuba class went on to complete their certification. I felt like a total failure.
I want to tell the rest of this story, and talk about how I was able to bring it back and get my certification. And I will at some point. But right now, I just want to reflect on the fact that it really does suck to fail and simply acknowledge it. I’ve failed at other things over the past year, but this was a straight up, binary pass/fail situation, so I can’t even sugar-coat it and call it a not-really-a-failure. It gave me a new perspective on how people feel when they completely miss the mark, especially with fitness goals. We’re all going to fail at some point, and honestly, if you’re not failing, you’re probably not challenging yourself. You’ll fail, you’ll live to tell about it, and you’ll recover. Success story coming soon.
In 2016: I’ll take more risks and make myself open to failing. Sure, there will be more tears pity parties, it’s worth the growth.
I can only tell my own story, and it feels much better that way
I started this blog in 2014 and I’ve been at it for almost 2 years now. I’ve never really had the clearest direction of what I wanted it to be, and I still don’t. I just know that I like fitness, other people are interested in fitness, and I have my own perspective. However, at some point I sort of lost that perspective and started following the large plethora of blogging advice out there, and tried to make SweshFit into what everyone else seemed to be doing. That’s when blogging got super confusing and felt more like a chore than ever.
I’ve since decided that I need to just speak in my own voice. I’m a 30-something, professional woman, that likes fitness but I’m far from obsessed with it. I’m also pretty laid back (meaning, not a screamer or drill sergeant) and have had a pretty consistent weight most of my life (so no major weight loss story). So I decided I just need to be that! All of the content that comes with that perspective is just naturally genuine, and I enjoy telling it that way.
In 2016: I’m going to create things when I feel motivated to do it, and speak from the heart. This blog post, for example, came at a point where I felt very reflective and grateful. It’s more for me than for anyone else, and we seem to all benefit from it when it works that way.
The Black Fitness movement is everything
Two things get me very excited when it comes to fitness: when people are intensely involved in their workouts and good music. Put these two together and you have the best workout ever – in fact, it doesn’t even feel like a workout. It’s just a good time where you happen to be sweating. That’s what I think about when I think of the Black Fitness Movement.
I actually wrote a blog post for Blavity (another really cool thing that happened this year!) that talks about Soulful Classes That Will Get You Fit and I talk about 6 classes where I know you can get a nice, turnt, crunked-out workout. I’ve even come to realize that I would rather work out by myself with good music, than go to a class with mediocre music. Unfortunately, my preference is hip-hop/R&B and not house/pop, which is what is featured in most classes. Not to say that you can only get that type of music in black fitness classes, but it is usually a good indicator of having the best music…and the best energy.
In 2016: I’m going to find more of these classes! If I can’t find a true hip-hop, soulful class, I’ll find the closest thing. That means you may not find me in many barre or Zumba classes (sorry, not a fan!) but I’ll spend more time doing the workouts I love.
Thick fitness is also everything
Living in the Bay Area has given me a new appreciation of my body. Since there aren’t a lot of people of color, we are actually kind of exotic out there, and I feel like the curves just blow people’s minds! Since I was a kid, I’ve honestly been spoonfed a lot of B.S. that has had me convinced that thick and curvy = fat. A lot of women feel this way, and it’s unfortunate. It’s also unfortunate that it took people like the Kardashians to make curves cool.
Either way, I now embrace my body in a totally different way. I actually don’t hate the thickness of my thighs any more – although they give me a really hard time with any pants that aren’t stretchy (thus, I’ve given up on non-stretchy pants!). I’ve also started doing a lot more lifting and a lot less cardio. So, basically I’m more focused on toning my body, opposed to making it smaller. This is awesome because I can also eat and have a much less restrictive diet this way. In general, I’m making myself more awesome instead of trying to change into something I’m not. I’m loving this journey so much more!
In 2016: I’m going to continue to appreciate my body – curves and non-conforming thighs included. Fortunately, this goes right along with my goal to not measure myself.
Life is so much better when you’re having fun
This year I…
- Traveled out of the country to the Mexico, Indonesia, and Jamaica
- Traveled within the country to a bunch of places (Charlotte, Asheville, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Washington DC, New York…probably others I’m forgetting)
- Went on 3 girls trips
- Went scuba diving and snorkeling
- Went hiking through a bunch of different trails along the Pacific Ocean
- Rode a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
- Tasted all types of new wines and ate at a bunch of new restaurants
- Got a car for the first time in 8 years
- Made a bunch of new friends…from all walks of life
- Moved to a new city and started working at a new company
- Attended a fitness conference and learned a lot of new stuff
- Started a fitness studio…a really cool project that I totally don’t regret
- Went to some cool concerts like Dwele and an old school R&B one (Blackstreet! 112!)
- Went to the games of champions: Golden State Warriors (I’m a converted fan!) and Chicago Blackhawks
- There’s more but I can’t even list it all…
I don’t put this list together to brag, but just to say that life is pretty darn amazing. There’s always so much to explore and experience – I’m simply floored by the possibilities. So all health and fitness aside, this is what matters: it’s all about enjoying this precious thing called Life. Good health allows us to enjoy it even longer, and to be able to do more. If that’s not motivation to take care of your body, I don’t know what is.
In 2016: I’m going to continue to do dope sh*t! Catch me if you can people 🙂