It seems to be everywhere. On the subway, in magazines, on top of taxi cabs, plastered high on billboards, and in pop up ads online. Salaciously clad women and men who are reminding us that summer is nearly upon us, and we need to "GET THAT SUMMER BODY!". We can "get it in only 7 minutes a day!" or if you follow an "easy 6 step" process from a popular fitness magazine, you can get it in 4 weeks! So many shortcuts, for so little substance.
I have said before, that anything that gets a body moving is good. I am not just a believer, I am a living example that inspiration comes in infinite forms, sometimes when and where you least expect to find it. That being said, the idea of getting a "summer body" is one that gets lost on me. I find this thinking similar to the New Year's resolution mentality. As a society, we like to package ideas and concepts into neat little bundles. They are easier to swallow, and therefore, easier to sell. Follow along with me, in the course of a typical fitness magazine cover year: On January 1, you magically decide to go to the gym, and eat healthier, then a few months later, on May 1, because you didn't follow through on that resolution, you magically decide you need to get in shape for your "summer body". You follow "4 easy plank moves" and "6 killer butt exercises" promising to get you the "summer six pack" and perfect derriere. This inevitably comes up short, and so on September 1, we are "back to school" and back to routine, so you can once again start up your gym memberships and get back to clean eating, just in time to fall off the wagon during the Holidays and pick it all back up again on January 1. This vicious circle of resolutions, promises, excuses, shortcuts and gimmicks will never give us what we truly want or what we truly need. They do keep the magazines in business though!
Listen, I get it. We are all human, and we all need that carrot, that light at the end of the tunnel, that motivating event or vision in our minds of what we want to achieve. But rather than hand over the reins of our motivation and inspiration to something or someone externally, why not keep it where it was born, and where it truly lives? Why not give ourselves the permission to own our goals, to own our health and our bodies? Rather than trying to get that body for summer, why not get a healthy and fit body for all four seasons? My tag line since day 1 of SusanSweats has been "Training for Life". It has a few different meanings. Not only are we training for the every day life we need to tackle, we are training for the long haul - this marathon called life.
If training for a summer body is what you need to jump start your fitness goals and set you on a path for a long journey of health, then more power to you! I applaud your effort and your desire to begin. But if the external motivation is what keeps us going, if its only the aesthetic of looking great in a pair of cut off shorts, or having toned arms for summer cocktail dresses, then sadly we are doomed from the start. Our healthy lifestyle will be short lived. Fitness and health are inextricably bound together. Our summer body is only going to be as healthy as it is inside. The irony about all of this, is that once we begin to own our healthy lifestyle, when we start to realize that the responsibility for this body begins and ends with us, that is the moment the outside stuff begins to happen. Training our bodies and training our minds to live healthier through nutrition, fitness, meditation, recovery, etc. is an ongoing process. It is a lifelong journey! Owning that, and making it part of our every day will get you something better than a summer body, it will get you a body for all seasons.