“Integrated Fitness”

I’m not entirely sure what I mean by the title of this post: Integrated fitness.

But bear with me. Let’s see where it goes.

A few months back, I did fitness assessment at my local Goodlife Fitness. I wrote about it here.

The message that I took from that day is the importance of more than just physical fitness. This is nothing new. It’s the idea that real, fulsome fitness practices go beyond the physical workout, and even beyond nutrition. It’s about the big ball of everything that contributes to one feeling “well”…movement, food, nutrients, stress management, sleep, connection, stretching, mind set, staying present.  All at once.

But, man, working on all the stuff all at the same time is hard.

It’s been a busy few weeks for me at work. I’m finally seeing the finish line this weekend. I know…whatever. Big whoop. We’re all busy and running around like crazy people half the time.

The the last time I had a work stretch like this, I slept little, ate poorly, and didn’t work out. I worked 19 hours a day over a period of about 2 weeks. Within days I got a cold. I was a hacking, agitated, exhausted train wreck by the time project was done.

This time I swore I would do it differently. And in some respects, I did.

Over the last two weeks, I didn’t miss a workout. Even if it was just 30 minutes, I got a blast of adrenalin and good old sweat each day. That helped me feel sane.

I slept. Though I had a few mornings of bolting awake (and getting up for the day) at 3:30 a.m., with the to-do list bombarding my mind, more nights than not I got some decent shut-eye.

I ate ok. Though I had my moments of carbohydrate-related stress-relief. For example, my body is suggesting I could have done without the large volumes of pizza and cookies yesterday.

I made time to take my kids to school and pick them up, and take them to swimming and dancing and such. My husband and I said more than “hey, how’s it going?” to one another on occasion.

So all in all, I’ve emerged out of this period relatively unscathed.

Yet I feel slightly off.

So this is what I know…

“Integrated fitness” is hard. You can do a lot of things right, yet still feel slightly off. “Slightly off” I believe is a part of the human experience. No need to panic. I think it just means that the next choice, the next decision will be driven by the next immediate need. Like for me, that means…for the love of God…I won’t eat pizza and cookies today. I will eat vegetables and fruit. And drink a lot of water. Then I will get some exercise. And I will hug my kids. And hold hands with my husband. And I won’t work (much).

Then I’ll get some fresh air.

And I’ll notice how the fresh blanket of snow that fell last night glints in the sun.

And I will count my blessings.

Yeah, you know…I will integrate.

Deep wellness, in the end, is more than the sum of its parts.

This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own

 

 

I’m Right Here

There is a natural ebb and flow to parenting.

The flow? That’s the strong desire to be near your kids, to protect them from everything, hold them tight forever.

The ebb? Well, that is the equally strong desire to be nowhere near them. The desire to lock oneself in bathroom so you don’t have to deal with the non-stop sh*t-show that is most weekdays between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.

As my kids get older, I find myself caught between the ebb and the flow more often.

Sophie (aged just-turned-six) started swimming lessons last Saturday. Off she and I trundled for the 9:00 a.m. start at our local recreation centre. In lessons past, both girls are typically with me. So there’s the management and prep of the active child in tandem with the management and entertainment of the non-active child. Or, on certain super-lucky occasions, the co-management, co-prep and co-entertainment of both children with lessons at the same place at staggered times.

But this time, no. Given the Saturday situation, Isabelle stayed at home with her dad. And I – finally – was about to become one of those parents with 30 minutes to myself during the lesson.

When my kids were really little, I used to look enviously and curiously at the parents sitting in the deck chairs on the side of the pool, when I was into my 45th minute of charging up and down the water slide and sitting in the kids’ hot tub trying hard not to think about how much pee I seriously must be sitting in. When does that happen, I’d wonder? When do I sit quietly with my magazine and my coffee and my flip-flops? Because that looks like heaven right now.

Last Saturday, let the record show, I arrived at the deck chair phase.

I was ready. I smuggled my coffee out on the pool deck, choosing to ignore the many no food or beverages signs. I brought my iPhone and some reading material. I assumed the position behind the little wall on a deck chair, in my flip-flops and rolled up jeans. The cloud of damp heat and smell of chlorine enveloped me like a relaxing hug, as Sophie waded enthusiastically into the pool with her instructor and four other kids.

Her happy wade-in made me happy. Sophie, in her little life, has had the tendency to get huge anxiety and shut down at certain “performance-based” events. Like concerts, recitals or sporting situations.  This happened at the start of her last swimming lessons. I had to peel her off my leg. I watched her from the other side of the glass, as she stood in refusal – arms crossed tightly across her chest and lip curled - on the pool deck for the entire 30 minutes.  Both of us, devastated.

But last Saturday – once I saw that she was going to be ok - I settled into the perfection of the remaining 28 minutes.

But for all my coffee, reading material, iTunes podcasts, and do-what-I-want-ness… perfection presented itself differently.

I just watched Sophie.

I watched Sophie jumping off the wall. Doing her star-floats. Doing her flutter board kicks, all without a trace of hesitation or anxiety. Occasionally her voice echoed loudly above the many others in the pool. She was probably proudly telling her classmates about all the places she has done star-floats and promoting her new orange polka-dot bathing suit. The little show-off. I watched Sophie being Sophie, and not needing me, this incredible creature that I made but that is not mine.

What do her arms wrapped around my leg feel like again? Her tired head burrowed in my neck?

But, every few minutes, she’d look over at me from across the pool and wave.

Still looking for me. For now.

I’m right here, kiddo.

I’m right here.

 

Why Would You Do That?

Maybe because it’s been minus a hundred around here a lot lately, but I’m fantasizing about running outside. And thinking about motivation.

I remember talking to one of my neighbours a couple of years ago out on our street after my husband and I returned from a 25-km trail run. It was a late spring afternoon. We’d taken the afternoon off work to go to the mountains to run, getting back just in time to pick the girls up from school. It was the last long training run before the Sinister 7 relay, and we’d pushed ourselves hard before the taper.

We pulled into our driveway and piled out of the van onto our cul-de-sac, finding other neighbourhood kids and parents out enjoying the sunshine. We wandered into the street to join the conversation, as we often do. I love that about our cul-de-sac…that it becomes a playground/meeting ground on warm, sunny evenings.

I was sweaty, dirty and walking a little gingerly.

My neighbor asked me if I was alright.

I laughed and mentioned what we’d just done.

A look of concern/confusion flashed across her face.

“Why would you do that?” she asked, in all seriousness and without a trace of malice.

I couldn’t answer the question. I couldn’t explain it.

But I loved the question. I still love the question.

Why does anybody do anything, when it comes to fitness or sports?

Right now, all I know this…

To move is to feel alive.

That still doesn’t explain why one runs 25-km rather than 5-km. Or why someone runs 50-km rather than 25-km. Why someone climbs ice walls. Or takes Zumba. Or does Insanity. Or lifts bar bells. Or swims the English Channel. Or does yoga. Or whatever.

I’m pretty sure though it’s not all about weight-loss or making your jeans fit — as the women’s fitness magazines might have you believe. Though on some days, in some moments, it can be (I have those moments too).  But those aesthetic things simply aren’t meaningful enough to last.  The desire to move is about how it makes you feel, not how you look. How you feel in your bones. In your own skin. In your bloodstream. Deep in the hormonal recess of your brain. You know, how you feel feel.

I think we need a whole new narrative behind “why”.

So this is what I currently think.

You run, or jump, or swim or dance because you can.

Because you were born to move. And to play.

Because of the chain reaction of chemicals in your brain that gets addicting.

Because it forces you to the present and to feel.

And in some respects to suffer. Perhaps life isn’t meant to be a glazed pursuit of comfort, labour-saving devices, and temperature controlled space. Maybe we are wired to seek a more varied experience. To  hang in that balance – that ever-moving teeter-totter – between pleasure and pain, rest and work. We want to feel protected, rested, quiet, at leisure…for a while. But then, we get antsy (because we haven’t been required to go out and chop fire wood or gather plants for dinner), we seek moments of…well…pow!

I heard a friend say once that he doesn’t have to go off to war, so he puts on his waffle-soled, high-comfort running shoes and goes out and runs marathons. Same instinct.

In planning for their next 24-hour bike race, one of my husband’s teammates said – when they were contemplating going as  a 5 person-team, rather than a 4 person team: “But will we suffer enough?” Same instinct.

So why would I, why would you, do that? Bring on a new narrative.  But I leave you with the words of the great explorer George Mallory:

george mallory

 

To resolve, or not to resolve: that is the question

I haven’t written in a while. But – as usual - I am always drawn back to the page. Because writers write. Sometimes the writing turns out to be interesting and engaging to others. Many times, it’s not. Many times, it is simply about showing up at the page and seeing what is there.

So here I am on January 1, 2015…showing up at the page.

The house is quiet. The girls slept over at Grandma’s last night, so we could go out to a small get together at a friend’s house. But we left before midnight anyway. Some of us (read: me) were dozing off during lulls in the conversation. Because we are old. And exhausted.  And parents.

And that’s how the old and exhausted roll.  Yo.

So the quiet house this morning gives me space and silence to think.

I typically feel all sorts of desire to set new year’s resolutions this time of year. Let`s sit down at a blank page and bang some out, I figured. It`s January 1. Fresh plate. New year. Endless possibilities. Work? Parenting? Family? Fitness? What will be on my list?

And you know what?

Turns out…nothing.

Not because I don’t like change. In fact, I love the idea of setting sights on new horizons and chasing them down. I love pushing my understanding of myself…and seeing what lies just beyond. And beneath.

But all I know this morning is that if I try to think of something specific I’ll do differently this year…I can think of nothing.

And I`m taking that as a good sign.

I am taking that as I sign that there is no gaping, obvious chasm between who I am and who I hope to be. I also see it as a sign that I am learning to see the gloriousness of what simply is…right here, right now. I am learning that nothing will be better or worse if I do XX or YY. It will just be different.

I also think this means that I don`t want to pre-determine the “best” way to arrive at new places. I want to stay open to opportunities. I want to let that pathways that I can`t currently anticipate reveal themselves. When I look back on my life so far, some of the most meaningful turns came not when I controlled for the outcome, but when I noticed what felt right and simply followed the feeling.

So I’m running with it. I have no resolutions. But – at the same time – I am alive with possibility about change, growth and personal evolution. It feels exciting. Invigorating. It feels free.

So that`s me.

Showing up at the page on January 1, 2015.

With nothing.

Yo.

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Experience

The feeling starts showing up in early November.

It’s triggered during the first post-Halloween trip to Starbucks. You know the one…where the stacks of red cups and Boney-M and Michael Buble CDs have appeared overnight, as if by magic. The feeling is a soupy mix of comfort, connection…accompanied by a weird desire for egg nog. Then peppered with a light dose dread.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the holiday season as much as the next guy. But with that first red-cupped Americano and storefront glimpse of tinsel, the to-do/to-buy list starts percolating in my head.

Ah yes, the dreaded list of “stuff”.

Admittedly for our family, the holiday season “stuff” is weighted differently.

You see, both our kids have late December birthdays, 10 days apart bookended on either side of Christmas.  So in addition to standard year-end fare — school Christmas parties, piano recitals, school concerts, work deadlines, family visits and trips, and actual Christmas — we have birthday parties to contend with. Four birthday parties to be exact (the party each daughter has with her friends typically sometime before school ends, followed by the family get-togethers on their actual birthdays).

This late-December pursuit of birthday cakes, presents and goodie bags at times leaves me wondering why we didn’t just tell the girls their birthdays were in late-January.

Like they ever would have known.

In the last few years I’ve felt a bit done. Not done with the celebrations and rituals…or the birthdays. But done with all the stuff I feel inclined to buy to honour the spirit of Christmas. I want to peel away everything in the search of a different, more authentic, holiday spirit.

In the past, my husband and I have talked about it. Let’s pare it down, we’ve said. Let’s ask our extended families to pare it down. We don’t need more Polly Pockets, flannel pyjamas, or – for the love of God – small kitchen appliances. But when push comes to shove, the traditions we are embedded seem to win. And we let it wash over us, because in our hearts we know it comes from a place of love.

We worry, however, that our girls are getting lost in it.

They don’t understand our privilege. We see them getting overwhelmed by “wants” and the thrill of tantalizing presents stacked under the tree and the first rips of paper. What is given to them seems quickly forgotten and not fully appreciated, through no fault of their own. What I am learning is this: our family rituals are not set up to create space to teach our daughters about the gifts of gratitude, giving, and the simple joy of togetherness.  While these are clearly first world problems, it is time for a shift.

This year we are determined to try a different approach.

Within our immediate family, we will give one gift and one gift only. Inspired by friends who have done the same thing, we will give ourselves two nights together in the mountains. We we will skate, toboggan, sleigh ride – steeped in the white winter fray between cold and coziness.  In essence, we will give ourselves the gift of memories. We’ll also adopt-a–family. This will shift the flow of abundance toward those who really need it and create room for different discussions with our girls. Discussions about giving and supporting and seeing the world beyond themselves.

How will it play out? Will our family Christmas traditions and narratives begin to shift? Can we take steps away from having and towards doing? We shall see. We shall see.

But I hope that in exploring the gifts of experience we can connect in a deeper way as a family. And feel the joy that comes from offering and togetherness. And the blessed, almighty relief of no more stuff.  This, I want my girls to know, is where the truest spirit of the holidays lies.

 

grinch

Uncomfortable Around Dogs

I’m not an animal person.

But being a parent is challenging me in that area. As being a parent does in so many areas.

We had some pets when I was growing up. I have a vague memory of a set of guinea pigs. Then as a family we went through some cat years. The cat years ended when our last one simply wandered off one day and never returned. The theory was that he settled into a moving truck that had been down our street, and went on to live a good life in Thunder Bay. So I sort of get cats. They’re mostly all cool, just lying around. Except the time our cat Pogo got caught in the upper part of our neighbour’s garage door when I was about 12. There was a lot of hysterical cat screaming (and human screaming) that day during the highly technical operation to free her.

But I never got comfortable around dogs. There was always too much jumping up, drooling, and crotch sniffing for my liking. And freestyle poo-ing. Even today, I always feel kind of bad for dog owners walking along with their little bags of poo.

So I’m out of my comfort zone with my 8-year old daughter’s intense love of animals. All animals.

I totally respect this love of animals, and I know a lot of people feel the same way. But I’m sort of on the edges of it all with her, trying to find ways to be with her in this love without actually feeling the love myself.

We have zoo memberships. And we go to the pet store a lot. Isabelle could spend hours in the pet store picking up the hamsters and mice. I’ve never touched one yet.  But I’m always quick to “get the guy” who will help us.

Isabelle went to a day camp at the Humane Society this summer, after which she declared her allegiance to vegetarianism. So I’ve been sitting in that space with her as her ideas around vegetarianism morph and change. Unfortunately, she doesn’t care for my home-cooked walnut balls.

There was also the two straight days I spent with her in a one-room Bug Zoo during a Bug-Zoo-specific-destination-mom-and-daughter weekend in Victoria last summer. During which – let the record show – I held a tarantula.

Then was horse camp.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” an acqaintance asked me this summer when I mentioned that Isabelle was starting horse camp the next day. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “My daughter went to horse camp once. I now live in the country and own three horses.”

The horse thing is intense right now. It’s almost two months since horse camp ended. Isabelle is still writing daily about her memories from camp (she is on day 3).

So we have been doing ‘animal things’ together and facilitating her participation in animal things. But there are also the conversations about if we can get a cat. Or a dog. Or a hamster. Or move to a farm. Or become a family of horse trainers.

The answer is always “we’ll see”.

The closest we’ve got so far is this.

A couple of weeks ago, counting up her saved allowance, Isabelle realized she has enough money for an electronic toy dog she’d been eyeing in the toy store. She bought the dog.  It actually walks, sits, barks….all that jazz. Isabelle quickly became very connected to GoGo the electronic dog.

The other day, Isabelle invited me to take the electronic dog for a walk after dinner. We meandered down our local pathway, with the electronic dog on his leash beside us. Isabelle was thrilled, stopping every few minutes to get GoGo to sit or lie down. But as other “real dog” walkers approached, I felt a little weird.

The real dog would slow down to look and sniff at us and the electronic dog.  As the pleasantries were exchanged with the owner, I imagined the subtext.

Yep, that’s my kid playing with her fake dog.

Lady, get the kid a real dog.

It was the first time – though it was a quick instant – my discomfort with the idea of having a pet was outshone by my love for my child. I could actually feel the reasons why it might be good.

Oh man. But I’m just not there yet. I’m just not there.

FLASH GIVE-AWAY! WORK-OUT GEAR! OMG!

WHY AM I WRITING IN CAPS?!

BECAUSE I’M HAVING A FLASH GIVE-AWAY!

AND IT SEEMS APPROPRIATE!

I love the write about fitness, family, and the fine balance we often teeter in.  Then occasionally I like to write about things. Like work out clothes and gadgets. Writing about pants and stuff may not seem super exciting. But I get oddly excited about workout gear. As I’ve said before, sometimes joy requires infrastructure. And sometimes infrastructure comes in the form of pants.

So let’s cut to the chase…

The good people at Sears Canada asked if I’d like to try some more of their new Pure NRG line. And more importantly if my daughter would like to try their new kids line Pure NRG Girls, a just-launched clothing line for girls aged 6 -13.

Uh, yes. Of course, yes.

This arrived. A fab outfit for me. Love the colours and the comfort-fit waist band.

PureNRG5

But more exciting for me, these fab outfits arrived for my 8-year old daughter.

PureNRG3

How cute is this stuff? The little shrug to go over the tank – come on! Pure NRG Girls stuff features include:

  • All seams flatlocked to eliminate chafing against the skin
  • Tank with built in shelf bra
  • Cool Effect to wick moisture away from the body to keep you dry

The best part is that the entire line has been designed to provide high quality at a value price point with all items costing between $14.97 -$19.97. I seriously love that part. Non-pretentious. These kids are growing fast and we’re all looking for ways to not break the bank.

But really what I love the most is the underlying message that our girls are meant to move. Be strong. Be athletic.

PureNRG6.JPG

 

So here’s the flash give-away…

Sears Canada would like to give away an adult and girl PURE NRG outfit package to one of my readers. FREE STUFF!

If you’d like to be entered to win a PURE NRG women’s outfit and girls’ outfit (girls aged 6-13), then simply leave a comment below on this blog post before 9:00 p.m. MST on Sunday September 28th.

In your comment, give me your best rant about your girl, how awesome and strong she is. Or a little girl you know. Or give me your best rant about your boy and how awesome and strong he is (if you win and don’t have a young girl, you can give the girls’ outfit to a friend with a young girl). The point is to rant about amazing kids.

Just one entry per person please.

(Only Canadian residents are eligible. Apologies to my wide, vast international audience).

So leave me a comment now.

Like right now. At the bottom of this page.

Because why not.

And because these kids are amazing. And we want to keep them moving.

pureNRG4

 

If Not Now, When? Thoughts on Middle Age

In the quiet hours of this early morning - in the hum of our dimly-lit kitchen - I feel alive with possibility. This…a non-particular day of this run-of-the-mill week.

I can feel it from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes. But mostly I feel it in my heart. My alive and beating heart.

In six months I’ll be 45. I sit firmly and squarely – and oh so gratefully – in mid-life.

This, as it turns out, is middle age.

Somewhere over the last five or six years, it crept up silently and settled in at the table. It’s nice to see you, soldier. Please make yourself at home.

And how I have been soldiering. As have we all. Through work, marriage, babies, illnesses, deaths, child-rearing, meals, holidays, deadlines, family gatherings, work travel, work-outs, and coffees with friends.  Conversation by conversation, choice by choice, victory by victory, disappointment by disappointment, I arrived at this particular morning. In this house. In this body. In this life. Everything mattered.

Frankly, it’s glorious.

And I sense no letting up. This glorious ride just continues.

I now see that this whole life is an opportunity to step more fully into myself. To practice the art of reinvention and becoming. This isn’t just a task for the young.  Though ear-marked rituals of western culture trickle off at some point, the expedition of the self does not. On it goes. Quietly. Unnoticed beyond the confines of one’s own heart and mind. Yet completely open to wild possibilities. Ignore it at your peril.

Something is happening as I realize there are more years behind me than likely ahead.

Focus is sharpening.

More things are falling away. Things I’ve tried, beliefs I’ve held, jobs I’ve worked, habits I’ve lived by that no longer serve me…I can gently leave them by the door.

Fears of the mind are weakening. What scares me most these days is the thought of regret. And loss of health. (And, well, cougars. Still the cougars.)

A quiet sense of urgency whispers.

The absurdity of “someday” is becoming clear. In realizing how fast the last decade has gone, I realize how fast the next one will too. The necessity of now reveals itself. Scary, imperfect now.

Last month, while making my way through a dense crowd at the finish of a triathlon, a t-shirt of someone in the approach caught my eye.

If not now, when? read the words on the t-shirt.

I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

“I like your shirt!” I called out to the wearer as I passed.

She didn’t hear me. But I stopped for half a second looking back over my shoulder. I was grounded for a split second in the message.

I can still see the words on that t-shirt moving toward me in the crowd. Like an existential billboard.

If not now, when?

It’s becoming an anthem in my head and my heart.

If not now, when?

An anthem for my second act, as I turn the next corner and dance straight to the heart of middle age and beyond.

Dance on, soldiers. Dance on.

 

 

 

The Runtastic Orbit. Data is Fun!

After my last post about the need to focus beyond physical aspects of fitness, suddenly I’m all excited about it.

Because that’s life. And because I have new gadget.

Enter the new Runtastic Orbit.

The Runtastic Orbit launched in Canada in July. It’s an activity tracker thing. More precisely, the Orbit is a 24-hour tracking device (Bluetooth enabled) that allows users to track their daily movements, fitness activities and sleep cycles.

AN ACTIVITY TRACKER THING!!

AN ACTIVITY TRACKER THING!!

While the Orbit is a new product, I’ve seen these types of things around. The sleek little bands. And I have always been curious about them. Particularly after a friend of mine showed me her version, and the dashboard on her computer where all her statistics show up. Oooooh, numbers and data! And colourful graphs!

But I’ve hesitated. You see, I can get all wrapped up in the numbers and data.  I can spend perhaps too much time on the numbers. Time that could arguably be spent on the gorgeously, simple act of actually moving. So I figured I’m good. I’ve got my heart rate monitor. Let’s not go down another rabbit hole.

But then the good people at Runtastic gave me the opportunity to try the Orbit.

It was an immediate, enthusiastic and instinctive ‘yes please!’ from me. The part of my brain that knows data can be helpful kicked in. Data can motivate me. It can provide personal insights. It can help me make the most of my time. Data is simply a tool. It’s up to me how I use it.

So I’m wearing this little ditty around.

iPhone Download 14Sept2014 694

The Orbit counts my steps. It tracks and evaluates my sleep. It tells me how much energy (calories) I’ve expended throughout the day.  All the data gets synched to an app (the Runtastic Me app) — so I can see how things are going over time. It also allows me to set goals, and it gives me a buzz and congratulations when I achieve them (it’s very friendly!). It also has time and alarm functions, so in theory you could ditch your watch. And it’s waterproof to 300 feet, so can put it on and keep it on (unless you are going deep sea diving, which – in case you are wondering - I am not).

And if a wristband isn’t your thing (blue and black options), it comes with a holder so the device can be clipped on your waistband or shirt. You could even string it through a band and wear it like a necklace. And – one of my favourite features – you can set the Orbit so it vibrates if you’ve been inactive for 60 minutes. It’s a virtual reminder to get off the proverbial couch and move a little throughout the day. You don’t have to be “working out” to be active.

orbit screenshot

The Orbit also syncs with the general Runtastic app, where you can log and map your actual miles and keep detailed entries of each work-out. The Runtastic apps don’t offer diet/food tracking, but the Orbit can be synched with MyFitnessPal which has food tracking. I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate these various apps, and how to get the data from the Orbit to flow between them. I have to be careful not to spend my whole workout window trying to figure out my workout device (i.e., the rabbit hole effect)! I’m hoping that part will come with not too much more digging around and some more functional use.

In a few weeks I’ll tell you more about what I think.  Is wearing the Orbit affecting my training? Or how I feel about my training? Or my broader activity levels? Have I gone down the rabbit hole? Can the intuitive, chill part of me live with the competitive, data hound? We shall see.

But for now…DATA!

orbit screenshot2

Activity data

 

Sleep data

Sleep data

 

 

Fitness Doesn’t Solve Everything

The days I don’t work out, I feel weird. Like there’s unfinished business.

That’s why I train early in the morning. No matter what happens in the day - if all else goes completely sideways - something I can feel great about is in the bag. It’s mine to keep.

But there are times when I think a workout is the answer everything.

Tired? Get a workout in.

Ate a bunch of crappy food? Get a workout in.

Stressed by work? Get a workout in.

But here’s the thing. Or at least, here’s the thing that I am slowly learning.

Fitness doesn’t solve everything.

Yesterday I met with a potential personal trainer. In the course of my initial assessment — where a bunch of things were punched into a computer — an image came up on her computer screen showing the 4 pillars of wellness.

1. Physical activity
2. Nutrition
3. Sleep
4. Stress Management.

Nothing new there. I intellectually know this. As likely do you.

The personal trainer and I got talking about all this. In telling her about my “fitness journey” (whatever that means…), it dawned on me that I’m actually pretty good in the “physical” department. I seem to have a system of habits that are working. Sure, I look to change things up and try new things, but it’s not where I struggle. And I always seem to revert to the physical. Even when perhaps what I really need is sleep. Or to do some walking/stretching. Or hang out with my husband or play with my kids. Or eat a bunch of vegetables. Or - goddammit - sit on the couch and watch World War Z.

We found that with all the “fitness” type questions her program was asking me, I was all good. I was doing most things already. None of the questions or goals were resonating with me.

It dawned on me – as I tried to identify my goals in working with a personal trainer – that perhaps what I really need is to focus beyond physical fitness.

I mean, I’ll keep on keeping on with the physical stuff, because it’s part of the puzzle. And it makes me feel awesome.

But something else is calling me. Something I can’t quite name or frame just yet.

What would a mental and emotional fitness regime look like? Nutritional fitness? Spiritual fitness?

An integrated fitness regime. Is that a thing?

It should be.