Stop Judging. Know Your Audience.

Why is it that when someone is in shape or makes a commitment to their health, people are always giving them a hard time about it?

“Nice workout gear, little miss fitness. You must be going to the gym after work. Gawwwdd, I just go home and sit at home on the couch.”

“No bread? What, are you on some kind of diet?! What are you going to eat at dinner tonight, just salad and chicken?!”

If you’re inactive and jealous, keep your opinions to yourself and don’t derail someone trying to keep their shit together.  News flash: those statements aren’t compliments.

Just because youre in shape, doesn’t give you a license to run your mouth either. This means you Suzy Sensational and Billy Bragger: you’re not helping the fitness community either. I joined a crossfit gym in 2013 and, laughably, you start to see where some of the stereotypes come from. Most pointedly, “1st Rule of Crossfit: Always Talk About Crossfit”.  I don’t care what sport you’re currently “obsessed” with or approach you’re taking to your health – triathlons,  walking, weight watchers, parkour – people outside your circle don’t really want to hear every excruciating detail.  You don’t wake up one day and do an IronMan, you don’t walk in off the street and squat snatch 225 lbs, you don’t lose a third of your body weight on a random evening when you pass on the bottomless fries. We know it takes committment, but be humble.  Long and short: know your audience. Offer advice when people ask. Ask questions, don’t just speak in statements about your awesomeness.

Lastly, drop the judgy bullshit. We all go through cycles around what motivates us to stay active. I know I felt like triathlons were the be-all-end-all at first and then I got away from them. Whatever keeps you active is the best choice for you. 

What I really find difficult is explaining why I’m motivated to be healthy to someone that simply doesn’t care about health and fitness. Maybe it has something to do with inertia – damn, it’s hard to start moving once you stop but a helluva lot easier to keep things going with momentum.  Maybe I’ve seen too much: with a chronically ill dad, sleeping in a recliner and unable to walk and dying at 65, you internalize that insatiable desire to return to good health so you can simply live like you want. 

My challenge to you comes roughly from Albert Einstein: it’s insane to expect different results if you always employ the same methods.  This goes for your own fitness goals or simply changing someone’s perception.

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We are busy. We are overbooked. We are traveling. We are unmotivated. We are tired. We are agitated. We are unproductive. We are overweight. We are unhappy. We are why. I'm a pharmacist, I travel regionally for work and have been all of these things. What elevates me from these emotional ditches? Good health. My nearly 100 year-old Italian grandmother "Nana" said a long time ago: "If you don't have your health, you don't have nothing." Considering she still rakes leaves and gives me hell for, well, just about everything, I think she's pretty damn sharp and fit. On the other end of the spectrum: My dad died at 65 from a heart attack. He was a diabetic, a previous smoker, a recovered drug addict, a food addict, hypertensive, arthritic, immobile nearing amputation and, simply, wasn't living. For all intensive purposes, I'm fit and healthy. Armed with degrees in biology and pharmacy (read: loans) and these two family stories, you'd think staying on track is easy. Newsflash: it's not. Traveling / Working / Fathering / Mothering / fill-in-the-blanking are obstacles we all have to overcome. So, how do we do it? Suitcase Fitness was born from the hope that by sharing my small health and fitness victories while traveling, others may be inspired to find new ways to stay engaged with their health. My vision is that others will use this venue to share their "baggage" and small steps taken to overcome health challenges. I get by with a little help from my friends. - The Beetles The things that last, never happen overnight. - Slaves

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