Getting fit today is more serious than 6-pack abs and skinny thighs. When you hear the term “fighting fit,” does it bring to mind thoughts of kickboxing classes and sweaty boxing gyms? Or, are you like me and see that it can have a far more serious meaning?
I have a saying: “Get fit from the inside out.” To me, it means that instead of being motivated by the external rewards that we associate with fitness, it’s important to exercise for internal reasons. I thought about this when my dear friend told me that her doctor insisted she start a fitness program in order to strengthen her body after a life-altering diagnosis.
This is one of my best friends in life. She happens to be a beautiful model who has been blessed with the genetics of a long, lean frame that, even without a rigorous exercise regimen, has graced the covers of magazines and catalogs worldwide. She learned that she had to change her approach.
It had always been a joke that instead of meeting up for drinks on a Friday night as many friends do, we would meet up at the gym and train together during the week. As we swapped free training for free fashion advice, laughing and sweating together was our connection. Her workout motivation was losing a few extra baby-weight pounds to get back on the runway and fit back into her amazing wardrobe of high fashion clothing. This external motivation was not always enough to keep our fitness journey consistent. So, we would run through a simple exercise routine whenever we found time, and always catch up on family gossip as we worked out.
My friend always disliked working out. But when you are busy catching up and laughing, an hour of fitness ‘torture’ is always over in no time.
Our first workout together after she was diagnosed with cancer started with a slightly more serious tone. I felt the need for her to understand the importance of the fitness journey ahead. I wanted to share every ounce of knowledge I have on fitness. I regretted the fact that during previous sessions together, our workout style was more about spending time together as friends and discussing celebrity gossip—rather than me teaching her the importance of getting fit from the inside out.
On this day there was no talk about 6-pack abs and skinny thighs, because now the external was the last thing on our minds. Getting strong muscles and improving cardiovascular fitness was at the top of my priority list for her. As this exercise session progressed—through our tears, laughs, crunches and squats—it hit me that nothing had changed. We are two friends bonding through activity. Our workouts are about nourishing our minds while strengthening our bodies and renewing our spirit.
The doctors are right: it is important to get strong to help with the recovery process. And this reinforces my mission that it is important to make being healthy and active part of your everyday life—and not a passing fashion trend. This difficult journey made me understand that the external motivation we so desperately seek should always be second on the list of priorities.
I encourage everyone to get fighting fit and I encourage you to inspire a friend to fight with you.