I’ve been reflecting on how much fitness has changed in my lifetime, and how awesome that is. The other day on Instagram, I saw a video of an athlete in her 20s doing a tough gymnastics workout on playground equipment and it warmed my heart. When I was doing that stuff 17 years ago, people looked at me like I was a crazy person. In fact, I’d have to go to the playground at sunrise or after dark so that there were no other people there to freak out or call the cops when they saw me doing kipping pull-ups and hip pullovers.
There are a lot of things to be pessimistic about in regards to fitness in 2020, and plenty of people out there who want to tell you about it, but I am a fitness optimist. I guess I am an optimist in general, in that I believe this is the best of all possible universes, and that everything will somehow work out for the best eventually. This may not be objectively true–who knows?–but I also believe that any other philosophy is a pathway to death. In the optimistic philosophy, we have the entire universe on our side: the stars, the sun, the laws of physics and laws of nature, earth, moon, plants, animals, rain, all of it. Take gravity, for instance. I don’t look at gravity as an enemy who makes everything harder for me (“if only I could float!”), but I look at gravity as a friend who allows me to lift weights and get strong. I would say the same thing about weather and time and social change. They’re on our side because they force us to get better.
Anyway, fitness. Fitness is everywhere now. When I used to walk down the street with a weighted backpack and dumbbells in my hand, cars would slow down to ask me, “What are you training for?” My answer was, “Just to do it,” or, “For life!” or, “To be better,” and those were all unacceptable to people. “Yeah, but for what? Are you a UFC fighter?” Nowadays, you can do fitness everywhere in all sorts of ways and people won’t think you’re a weirdo. In fact, pretty much everything I used to do has become it’s own little niche sport now (“Street Workout” is considered a sport now! I mean, come on, how cool is that?). So, I’m happy about that and I think it can only get better.
Let’s continue making fitness normal, and fun. Let’s share this joy with other people. Let’s get our kids into fitness and our grandmas too. How do we do that? We meet people where they are and show them the joy of moving their bodies and learning and benefiting from movement. We encourage the habit and the exploration, the learning that comes from that. We don’t let the hurdles of something being a “sport” or the divisions between “sports” stop people from freely expressing movement and physicality. And, we support those people who excel at stuff by giving them a variety of sports to express that excellence within. Most of all, we keep loving fitness, keep practicing fitness, and keep spreading the love.
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