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Finding True Fitness in 2022

January 6, 2022

Written by Heather Salvia, Associate Director of Programs and Fitness

When you think of fitness — what comes to mind? Maybe it’s big muscles, marathon runners, CrossFit athletes, or any of the like. You’re not wrong, but as we approach another new year, maybe we can look at fitness in a new way. Here’s my definition for fitness in 2022:

Fitness is how well your body functions and responds to stress to help you thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Many of us are stressed out, depleted, and burnt-out day in and day out. We may not be able to control the stress of our circumstances and schedule each day but finding true fitness can help your body become resilient to stress in the days to come. Here are a few ways to do this.

Intuitive Exercise

Exercise can be a great asset to health and fitness or its greatest foe. Here is how you can use intuitive exercise to keep stress down:

Use the Two R’s

  • Ask yourself before your workout, “Am I rested? Am I replenished?”. When you sleep well and feed yourself well, your workouts will glean greater gains than beating it when it’s down.

Assess Your Stress

  • If you have a workout program that requires you to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) or heavy strength training 4-5x week (or more), check that. Exercise is expensive — it is a stressor. If you are already stressed one day, maybe opt for a nice walk outside or a slow yoga class.

Sync Your Cycle

  • For females: your monthly cycle can be synced up to how you exercise. There are certain times of the month that offer greater opportunities for higher intensity work, and times that offer greater opportunities for rest and reflection. This will have a positive impact on your cycles each month.

Nourish Your Body

Most of us are not eating enough or at the right frequency to keep our body’s metabolic functions working at tip top shape. The primary role of your metabolism is to produce energy (ATP) for your body systems to function optimally. Here are some ways to nourish your body and help your metabolism thrive:

Eat Enough

  • Make sure you have a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat at every meal. There are tools to determine your caloric and macronutrient needs depending on your basal metabolic rate and activity level.

Meal Frequency

  • Eat nutrient-dense meals/snacks every 2-4 hours to keep blood sugar and energy stable throughout the day.

Micronutrients

  • Prioritize the micronutrient content in your foods (vitamins and minerals).

Fasted Workouts

  • Avoid fasted workouts to prevent the body from rising stress hormones and further mineral depletion.

Breakfast

  • Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast with protein, carbs, and fat. This change alone can work wonders for energy stabilization.

Intentional Alone Time

Whether you are a student, a parent, or just in the thick of adulthood with all the expectations and responsibilities, it can be hard to take intentional time to refill your cup. This depends on who you are and what you like to do, but here are a few tips for getting this time:

Get Outside

  • Whether you’re buried in your studies or glued to your work computer, take a break (or two, or three) for just a few minutes to walk outside. Breathe. Be in the sunlight. Pray and release. Repeat.

Schedule Family Creative Time

  • After a long day, a couple of nights a week before bedtime, throw on some relaxing music, bring out the markers for the kids and have individual creative time — you can journal, paint, draw, color, or just breathe as a time of intentional meditation. Not a parent? Do this on your own or find ways to creatively rest with your roommates.

Schedule It Out

  • If you’re a tight-locked scheduler, pencil in time every day (or every few days) for you to have a predetermined amount of time to yourself to participate in your favorite activity. Your friends, co-workers, and loved ones will thank you!

Finally, you don’t have to do everything at once. Take it slow, implement small changes and see how you react. Each person will need different recipes of resilience to find their true fitness.