I had a really great conversation with someone today about “results”. She pointed out, and rightfully so, that people are often moved to sign up for a program mostly by seeing the physical results of someone who is a part of or finished a fitness program. They want to actually see the inches lost, the 6 pack abs, the bulging biceps, the defined quads and the reduction of the number on the scale. People are interested in knowing the increase in speed and how much more weight can be loaded on to the barbell now compared to when the fitness program began. They want to be able to see what will happen to them PHYSICALLY if they decide to sign on for whatever is being offered.
I totally understand that. That stuff IS important. Physical transformation is a huge aspect of why we dedicate ourselves to exercising. It’s important to be able to see, feel and recognize how far we have come and the progress we have made towards reaching our goals. Numerical measurements are the tools we can use to actually see that. They are proof that our hard work is paying off, but they can also be crippling if they are your ONLY motivation. Similar to when you are building a house, no matter how beautiful the exterior is, the walls will most likely crumble if the foundation is weak. What I have come to realize over the years, through my own personal fitness journey and helping others along theirs, is that some of the biggest and most beautiful and impressive transformations occur under the surface, at the foundation of who we are.
There are no numerical measurements to gauge this level of internal accomplishment. It doesn’t present itself in a flashy Instagram photo or pop out in a Reel. It’s not something that can be shown off on a billboard or illustrated in a jaw-dropping before-and-after photo on Facebook. This transformation is not enhanced by a perfectly fitting pair of jeans or a drop dead pair of shoes. If you look carefully, though, you will be able to see the results shining off these fabulously fit souls.
You will see this transformation in the woman who smiles every morning as she’s running up a hill or the lady who walks your block every day at 5pm and always gives you a warm wave. You will see this in the woman at the pool who shows up every morning to swim and has long since let go of the insecurity of walking around in public in a bathing suit. You will see this in the girl at your yoga class who has worked really hard to improve her flexibility by making sure to make the 9 AM class every Tuesday and always seems to bring the sunshine in with her. You will see this in the boy who, despite suffering some big health setbacks, shows up in your driveway every Thursday with a smile on his face ready to tackle whatever physical challenge you throw at him. You will see it in the woman who fought her way back from cancer and started her workouts barely being able to jog in place, but after months of hard work and determination can now burpee with the best of ‘em, with a twinkle in her eye! You will see this in the family who show up to the soccer field at the park every Saturday morning, laughing as they pass the ball and challenge each other to some fancy footwork. You will see this in the man who gets up at 5 AM every Sunday to take his morning bike ride and stops for a hot cup of coffee at his favorite cafe. And you’ll notice this in the happy mother and daughter you meet at the top of the mountain, who are on a quest to climb all the local peaks.
I’ll be honest, some of these people may actually have washboard abs and glutes of steel and could easily flaunt themselves on TikTok. And a lot of these people may actually measure their results by the number on a scale, on a tape measure or a watch, but it will never trump the most important thing that they have discovered in themselves and placed as the foundation of their fitness journey: JOY. Joy is what keeps them coming back. Joy is the reason for their consistency. Joy is the reason they FEEL the results of their healthy lifestyle and are able to spread that in a much more meaningful way than if it was presented in a picture on social media. JOY is contagious. The physical transformation will be much more enjoyable and sustainable if we all start with JOY and build from there.
How have you successfully made joy the foundation of your fitness journey? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!
Stay tuned for a follow-up article on specific ways I help moms to build their fitness foundation on joy!