We drafted in the professionals on this one: Bryan Wither at The Body Positive Fitness Alliance shares his wisdom on all things fitness!
Here are Bryan’s tips on staying happy and healthy from a body positive perspective! This is all you need to stay in top form …
1. Have goals.
Professional goals. Personal goals. Fitness goals. Goals give you something to aspire to. They give you a reason to stop procrastinating, give you something to focus on and a reason to get excited about your day. Write down some big goals that get you excited. Then take those goals and chop them up into smaller goals that will lead you toward the big one. For example, you may have a fitness goal to go from not running at all to running a marathon, which you could chop up into running a full mile, then a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and down the line….
2. Cultivate discipline.
Setting goals that excite you can certainly get you excited and motivated. But motivation is only the spark that forms when you strike the flint. To turn that spark into a flame that can last, you need fuel. That fuel is discipline (and this extended metaphor is over). Take heart if you’ve ever been known to be undisciplined or easily distracted. Discipline is a learned behavior, which means you can practice it and get better.
3. Engage in joyful movement.
Notice I didn’t say to “work out” or to engage in any specific sort of exercise. While the act of dedicating regular physical activity goes miles towards your quality of life, many of us have been taught to hate conventional exercise. We’ve been shamed by coaches and peers for not looking a certain way while exercising. We’ve been shamed for our weight without regard to what it actually says about our health.
“You don’t cease to be a man if you can’t change a tire. Or fire a gun. Or Deadlift double bodyweight.”
Joyful movement rightly treats exercise as a form of self-care rather than an obligatory weight loss ritual. Because the movement is meant to be joyful, the type of movement and frequency is set by you. Like lifting weights? Have a go! Would you rather paddleboard? Do that. What if you really like to garden? That’s perfect. Practicing movement this way allows people to slowly learn how to enjoy moving around in their own bodies, and may open up possibilities to other types of movement.
4. Remember, that health is more than just your body.
One of the key pillars of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance is “Full Health” and it makes two important points. The first is that “health” is equal parts mental, emotional and physical. The second is that none of these attributes can truly thrive if the others are lacking. There’s good research out there showing that men are much more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol and inflict harm on themselves due to undiagnosed or ignored signs of emotional or mental health issues.
6. Remind yourself and re-affirm that you AND ONLY YOU define who you are as a man.
Media and culture are loaded with messages and imagery that assign manhood and manliness to a very specific and sometimes self-destructive behaviors. So let’s clear the air quickly about what makes someone a man…
You don’t cease to be a man if you can’t change a tire. Or fire a gun. Or Deadlift double bodyweight. You don’t cease being a man if you’re romantically attracted to other men, or if you happen to be trans or gender non-conforming. It’s only when you shed the obsession with checking off boxes on a manliness scorecard that you realize that the things that make a boy into a man aren’t much different from the things that turn any child into an adult. These are the ability to take responsibility for your decisions, work toward self-realisation and do right by your family and communities.
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