Fitness Identity

First things first: Happy Birthday to my wonderful father! Thank you for raising me, and may your day be filled with as many desserts as your age. (Who needs a candle for every year? How about a dessert for every year?)

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It suddenly feels like fall here! And it’s so, so nice.I actually could have used a jacket today, but I decided I wanted to embrace the cold. Hot soup at lunch was amazing though!

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Welcome to fall at the zoo!

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There are pumpkins literally EVERYWHERE around the zoo, and I love it. The animals seemed to like the brisk weather as well, a lot of them were out and especially active today!
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^painted dogs

Another thing that kind of made my day was that I found this on my windshield:

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I kind of love it, and have no idea why it was there. But I should probably turn it in to the lost and found.

Plus, adding to the fall ambiance is baseball stress. GAHH

Before I get onto today’s main topic, I wanted to share my dinner.

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I had a repeat of yesterday’s dinner (leftover chili) but this time with 2% cheddar instead of fat free cheddar. Because today I decided that life is too short for fat free cheddar. It is definitely not worth it, especially in this context!

Dessert was super awesome too. I bought a giant can of pumpkin pie filling, and mixed a serving with egg whites and threw it in the microwave. Then, I topped it with whipped cream, and it was basically pumpkin pie. SO delicious. I think I’m ready for pumpkin!

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Now onto today’s topic. I went to a yoga class today. I don’t think I’ve been to yoga since, oh, I don’t know, January? This class was a super slow and restorative class, but the stretch felt awesome. Also, something about these cool, dark nights makes me crave yoga.

The teacher mentioned she was going to a fitness conference this weekend for continuing education stuff, and it got me thinking about IDEA World that I went to last summer. It was honestly one of the best weekends of my life. (Recap 1, 2, 3, 4.)

The conference came at an interesting point in my life. I had been teaching spin for nearly a year at that point, but fitness wise I was off. Ever since I got involved intensely in sports and fitness in high school, fitness was part of my identity. And honestly, it was clear from my muscular, athletic build that this was the case.

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(^that picture will always be one of my favorites)

When I started college, I was still that girl. I was rowing and was in crazy good shape. (I also started my blog!) But with mono came a lot of changes. I suddenly found myself overweight and in the worst shape of my life. Throughout college, as I carried around extra fluff, I felt like it was covered more than just my body, but who I was. I didn’t quite feel like myself. Like something was off. While I still valued and worked towards fitness, I didn’t have the same fitness identity overall (some stretches I felt closer than others).

The summer after my junior year was particularly tough. I was really sick with my stomach issues, and I was the heaviest I’d been in my life.

That conference was amazing for me. Not just because of all the things I learned and awesome people I met, but also because while taking 5000 spin workshops, I felt like a fit person again. Suddenly, I caught a glimmer of myself. Just to be clear, I don’t base my entire identity on fitness. At all. Others things are definitely (more) important. But I almost felt like I was living a double life with this “fitness blog” and a lack of fitness. I know I was still a fitter than average person, but I still felt off.

Sitting in yoga class today though, I thought about things. Throughout the past year, I feel like I’ve found myself again. My fitness identity. I feel confident in myself. I can do pretty much everything in Crossfit (yay pull ups!). I sometimes am one of those semi-obnoxious people working out in spandex (sometimes it’s just easier!). It’s like I’m finally myself again. The interesting part is what makes my fitness identity has shifted. And continues to shift.

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I used to think I had to do double days of workouts to be “fit enough.” But I’ve learned that to actually feel fit in workouts, rest is important and I have to balance my workout schedule. My fitness identity is every-changing. One month I might be a super hero at burpees and sprints, while the next I might be knocking out pull ups and bench presses, or maybe I’m killing the running game (relatively, of course). I’ve been to 4 different Crossfit boxes regularly over the past few months, and every single one gives me a different type of fitness, based on their focuses. It used to worry me that when I switched away, I would lose everything and all the fitness I gained, but I’ve come to embrace the journey. Honestly, my fitness is for my own enjoyment, and I don’t take weightlifting too seriously. By this, I mean I’m not trying to win any weightlifting meets. I want to get stronger, but I don’t feel the need to track much more than my PRs.

My fitness identity has changed, but finally, I feel like myself again. And it feels pretty good.