Fitness and Purpose

Recovery from an addiction or compulsive behavior — whether it's drugs, food, gambling or videogaming — must have purpose if it is to last. A “quick fix,” by definition, is not long term. We’ve got have a compelling reason to stay committed to keeping our mind, body and spirit tuned to their highest natural capacity.

Let face it, it’s much easier to pop a pill, eat a cookie or disrespect our core values — what we believe underneath all the crap and anguish we’ve accumulated over the years — than it is to control our impulses and push ourselves to achieve our optimum performance physically.

Why do we want to reach the top level of fitness we can?

We may never perform in the Olympics — and probably never desired to — but we do want to play with our kids joyfully, pick up a bag of groceries effortlessly or walk up a flight of stairs without losing our breath. And we want to be able to do all these activities for years to come.

Plus, working out relieves stress, burns calories, helps us to concentrate and think better and enables us to better participate in other physical activities that have rewards of their own (such as meeting new friends with similar healthy interests).

People want to feel connected. We need to share values, goals and experiences. We derive meaning from different sources, however. Some of them are:

  • Spirituality
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Religion

In the end, people look to their preferred source (or sources) to fill the same void we all feel inside ourselves when we like we’re swimming alone in a vast, cold cosmos. They tell us that we are part of something larger than ourselves and connected to reasons to live that are more powerful than our petty worries, day-to-day struggles or immediate needs.

  • Om is the vibration of the universe.
  • Spring returns.
  • Gravity holds.
  • God is love.

Whatever works for you, works.

In the same way, I believe that fitness programs need to be tailored to each individual’s needs. To be sure, there are constants to be taught and wisdom to be shared.

  • There’s a proper way to stretch your hamstrings, and ways that may injure your back.
  • There are efficient ways for a buff 20-something to enhance the strength of her core muscles and safe ways for an out-of-shape 70-year old to regain it.
  • You may enjoy burning calories dancing the night away; your friend may prefer rock climbing.
  • You say “tomato;” I say “sweet potato.” Neither of us should say, “Super Size Me.” (You did just yesterday? Fine, let’s forget it and move on.)
  • And if you think that energy healing is just a bunch of New Age mumbo-jumbo, or that meditation is about as gratifying as yanking your own tooth, I can demystify both and show you how to experience them.

Pronouncements about things we cannot see, touch, hear or feel sometimes seem like “just words.” Intangible. Let’s make the intangible tangible. I’ll give you basic instructions and tools that will help you:

  • Enjoy everything you do more because your body is in better shape to do it;
  • Engage in healthy activities with people who are as passionate about them as you are;
  • Enjoy the great refreshing taste of healthy, nourishing foods;
  • Repair your body and mind using your innate intuition and energy.

Fitness purely for the sake of fitness is often just another manifestation of a compulsive illness. This applies no matter how you define meaning and whatever its source — religion, spirituality, nature, science or something else.

Conversely, you simply won’t realize your true potential for meaning without striving to attain the healthiest body you can achieve at this moment — with no shame, blame or guilt about the past.

I will help you integrate your quest for fitness with your search for meaning without clobbering you over the head with dogma. All I ask is that you commit to the idea that fitness must have purpose and purpose must have fitness.

Ready to get started? Contact me at thom@recoveringyourbody.com.

© Copyright Thom Forbes, 2016