Are We Overdoing It with "Lifestyle Change" & "Fitness Journey?"
Let's talk about the terms "lifestyle" and " journey" in regards to fitness for a minute.
We read these words more and more all over social media these days as being "fit" has become #trendy and body positive movements are sweeping the nation. But are these just cheesy hashtags? I mean, . “journey” and “lifestyle” are kind of dramatic, right? What is this? Some zen spirituality retreat?
I'm actually a huge supporter of these terms, because I believe them to be accurate and true, but if you're one of the people who rolls their eyes at these terms and thinks, "Can’t we just call it what it is? It's fitness. It’s working out. It’s healthy nutrition. It's girls wanting to post selfies in their sports bras. Enough with the glammed up sugarcoating,” then I encourage you to give this article a chance and open yourself up to understanding something that makes sense for so many people.
Why do we use the term "lifestyle?" Why such a grandiose and exaggerated term for someone who just wants to get in shape, grow their glutes and get some abs? Well, for someone who wants only those things, this is most definitely the wrong term.
The term "lifestyle" is not grandiose and exaggerated for those to whom it applies.
In fact, lifestyle is the most accurate word for what many people are striving towards (even if they don’t know it) when they begin “dieting” or working out. Think about it. Who decides to eat right and start exercising with no intentions of making any lasting changes? I don't know about you, but I don't know many people say things like, "I just want to be healthy for now." "Lifestyle is really the only word I can think of for those of us seeking to make changes beyond tomorrow and the next day and the next big event we want to be in shape for.
"Lifestyle" is not about a single goal. It's about a mentality we adopt that becomes the foundation for our choices and attitudes in and out of the gym.
"Lifestyle" is not a cheesy, over-dramatic term because when you go to the gym and when you take control of what you're eating, you're changing more than just your body. You're chasing your mind. You've signed up for something larger than a gym membership. This is hardly about the physical process. It's about the mental one. It’s about the thought pattern you develop from consistently putting in work, overcoming the voice in your mind, and honoring commitments with yourself. Those are the things the gym can teach you, but that will overflow into every aspect of your life.
We say “lifestyle” because it is, quit literally, a style of life.
And so if you're in it for more than just some muscles or fat loss, if you're here because you want to make an impact on your life and the choices you make and the habits you have, then "lifestyle" is a perfectly adequate term for you.
But what about “journey?”
To see this as anything less would be, in my opinion, unfair, unrealistic, and quite honestly, short-sighted. If you think you will remain unchanged and unaffected by serious commitment and dedication towards working out and eating better (or anything, really), then you haven't seriously committed, because commitment changes you.
If you see health & fitness as merely some 6-week plan or an 8-week challenge, then perhaps journey is not for you. (Although I assure you you are still undergoing some journey if you're actually putting in the work.)
A journey is more than that, though. It's not just some cookie-cutter, follow-the-steps, "X plus Y always yields Z" type of deal. Journeys are made of trial and error, discovery, exploration, growth, learning, progress, impasses, but no matter what, you never end up where you started. And that's what makes this a journey.
We say “journey” because there is no end. You are always on the journey, everyday. Even when you’re not “dieting” or consistently exercising, you are on the journey. Today is still a part of it, whether you want it to count or not.
So don't be afraid to call it a journey. I think that to call it anything else is to sell it short for what it really is.
At the end of the day, the terms “lifestyle” and “journey” in reference to fitness may seem a little hokey or cheesy to some people, and that’s fine, but to look down upon these terms or to see them as over-exaggerations for just “fitness stuff” is to be uninformed. Inform yourself,, and then decide if it’s for you or not, and if it’s not, leave it be.