Just in time for #MotivationMonday (apparently super popular on Instagram and trending on Twitter these days), get to know my favourite fitness bloggers from around the web – a much shorter list than My Favourite Food Bloggers but I guess it’s because these two inspirational women do the work of many! You’ll see many of their ideas and insights echoed in my own posts (and I hope I’ve given credit where credit was due) – great minds think alike!
I’ve never been short on workout ideas. One of the many benefits of my competitive athletic training through my “formative” (pre-teen and teen years) is that I am NEVER stuck on ways to challenge myself in the gym.
One thing that I’ve had to work a lot harder on is the MINDSET behind health, wellness and fitness. Overall health, wellness and longevity are NOT necessarily the primary focus of intense athletic performance. The latter is about pushing yourself to the limits NOW, to wring every last ounce out of yourself NOW with little to no regard for the state of your future self. And I don’t mean to suggest that there’s anything wrong with athletic ambition and endeavour. I’ve got plenty of it left myself. But I had to think long and hard about the ways my training and my eating to fuel that training were going to serve me in the long run.
Here are two fitness bloggers already taking long, hard looks at fitness, nutrition, and the mindset that goes into the game. They’ve done a lot of the thinking for me! And I owe all the credit to my friend April for introducing me to not just one but both of these!
Real name: Nia Shanks
Tagline: Lift Like a Girl
Focus & Why I Love Her: Nia has a fresh take on the women’s health and fitness industry and she is a tremendous advocate for women in strength training, getting strong and AWESOME on their own terms and no one else’s. She takes it back to basics with simple, sustainable strategies (basically the opposite of the IIFYM regimen I recently advocated!). She has also been willing to publicly share and be vulnerable regarding binge eating disorer, weight loss, our emotional relationship with food and dealing with obsessive and/or disordered thoughts regarding eating and food.
Real name: Jill Coleman
Focus & Why I Love Her: Jill writes the same rambling (but coherent and articulate) “stream-of-consciousness” posts that I do when I get off on a tangent on a subject I’m passionate about. You can tell that she is passionate about health and fitness. After four years of the yo-yo world of fitness competitions (and ten years of what she has dubbed “The Fitness Hustle” worker as a part-time personal trainer on top of a day job and buying into the myth of busy-ness = self-worth and productivity that society has been selling us), Jill is doing her best to live out, model and educate women on #Moderation365. This is a year-round, balanced approach to fitness and nutrition. She is very good at acknowledging and affirming each woman’s right to her own personal journey. She and her husband Jade have pioneered some revolutionary work in fitness and nutrition approaches under the Metabolic Effect mantra, but it’s her work on deep mindset stuff that really intrigues me. Similar to Nia, she actually points out that the best nutritional strategy is “back to basics” but considers that there is a bell curve to get there – we need the informational overload (such as you get with IIFYM) in the middle before we have the wisdom and experience to go back to a more organic, ordered way of eating.
why I hate “back to basics” [excerpts] by Jill at JillFit Physiques
We hear people in the fitness industry say things like “go back to basics” and “just eat simply” and “intuitive eating.” And for me, right now where I am in my journey, I get that. It makes sense. I can see the utility of a balanced “simple” approach.
But had you told me to “go back to basics” when I was in the middle of my nutrition neuroses, scouring the web for every last tidbit of nutrition information I could find, asking what programs and plans the pros were following, reading all the latest diet books and watching every little thing my favorite fitness model or competitor did, I would have laughed in your face. I would not have been able to hear it. “Back to basics”? What is that?!
I would have considered that too soft, or weak, or not good enough.
See, I believe the fitness and nutrition journey is a bell-shaped curve of information and complication.
When you first start out, you know nothing and don’t even really care to know much. I remember I couldn’t have cared less about nutrition before I trained for my first competition. I just lived to exercise, loved it. And did it precisely so I could eat anything I wanted.
But then, something happens and you get a taste.
You start seeing that with food, you can literally change your body. How empowering! What see that you put in your mouth matters. And you start getting more and more interested, you can’t get your hands on enough information! You get certified, you read blog after blog, you dive into biochemistry and learn about the metabolism. You see that there are infinite ways to eat and you just want to find THE PERFECT WAY to eat and exercise. It’s like a puzzle that needs to be solved. So you read more and more. You can’t get enough.
This represents the top of the bell-shaped curve of information. You need it. You crave it. You love it! I don’t blame you. A thirst for information is always an amazing, empowering thing.
But over time, something starts to happen.
Information overload. And you start to see that you are having a hard time implementing all that you are learning. For a while, you are trying new plan after new plan. You experiment with new diets and coaches and programs. And while it’s exciting and novel … at some point, you realize you are spinning your wheels. Sure, you’ve had some wins and you’ve acquired a shitload of knowledge but you finally start to see that it’s all just too complicated.
Information overload leads to implementation paralysis.
You get so worried you’re going to mess up, do the wrong thing. Every nutrition and exercise choice seems huge and important. Every decision feels like it will have this huge impact, everything gets magnified.
This can become a mental prison.
I know it did for me. You may have been there in the past, too, like me. You might currently be there.
Either way, eventually, in my experience, you reach a point that the idea of “back to basics” and “balance” and “moderation” becomes appealing because honestly, it’s just too mentally draining to try to do it all, do it all perfectly, and the remorse hangover you experience for when you inevitably can’t do it all perfectly becomes too great.
This is the other side of the bell-shaped curve.
It’s this weird place where you are actually further along in your journey, but you are okay with it all being a little less complicated, kind of how it was in the beginning. You start to search out simplicity. You want to throw yourself a bone.
You want every decision to not be such a big deal. You want easy. You want to be able to have a couple bites of a pastry and not feel like you are going to gain 50 lbs.
And so, in a way, you really are “back to basics.” But the key here is that you’ve had the experience.
Can you relate? Where are YOU on the bell curve? Where would you like to be?