Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Four years strong

It's hard to believe this summer will make four years, well, two years since it was official. We met in July 2012 on the campus of Old Dominion University. We were already casually acquainted before we met, but had no real expectations. Little did I know, once I opened up, I would be instantly swept off my feet. My life would never be the same. I fell in love. It's been almost four years since I fell in love with fitness. You thought I was talking about a guy, right? Yeah, sorry. No. But, I do think there are lots of relevant parallels between relationships and my journey with fitness.

Take this evening, for instance. It was kind of a mundane day for us. I came home from teaching two classes. One was actually cancelled due to poor attendance and the other went on as scheduled but was pretty small. To be honest, it's hard to have the same energy and excitement with two or three participants as you do with a larger group. I still love moving and helping others be well, of course. It's just some days I'm not feeling it like I used to feel it. I'm still committed to this life. I can't imagine any other. But occasionally, I fear the thrill is gone. Since walking away from the fit life is not an option, here are some ways I try revitalize my relationship.

I remember
You know what helps the most when the loving feelings start to wear off? Remembering how it was in the beginning. I re-motivate myself with a playlist of the songs I heard when I was a student. I remember what I was doing when I would spontaneously light up like a Christmas tree. I remember rushing to stand in line so I could pick my preferred spot in my favorite instructor's class. Basically, I recall what made me fall in love in the first place and I intentionally do those things again.

I refocus
Remembering how it felt when I was a student also helps me refocus on what matters. Sure, I fell in love with fitness in a state-of-the-art recreation center with mirrored studios and large windows. But, my students now, have only known classes in a windowless gymnasium. I might have known classes with forty or fifty people, but they've only known classes with five to ten. And guess what? They don't care. They love moving. It's their happy place just like it was mine. The ambiance isn't as important as the feeling. If people walk away feeling happier and stronger, then I've done my job.

I reconnect
Lastly, I try to get alone with my love. Just like couples might do date nights or weekend getaways to reconnect, I try to have private time with movement as well. I imagine it's kind of like families who have kids. That's what teaching exercise classes or personal training is like for me. It's still enjoyable, like I said, but it becomes a different thing when another person is the focus. It isn't my personal time anymore. It's about someone else. So, if I want to find my way back to what I love, it requires intentionally setting aside time for just the two of us- taking a walk outside, doing a yoga flow on my balcony, freestyle dancing in my living room...just getting back in touch with what movement means to me, what it meant when it was just the two of us.

Four years. It's long enough to still like the one you love while also long enough for the new and shiny to have worn off. I'm learning that in order to sustain a joyful, long term relationship of any kind, it requires remembering and doing everything that made you fall in love to begin with, refocusing on what really matters, and intentionally reconnecting with the one you love.

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