Do What Empowers You

by tinareale on August 28, 2012

what powers you

I have to get something off my chest. I used to judge people by their workouts. A lot. I actually used to frown upon long distance runners and think they simply wasted their time by logging all those miles. I would see someone lifting only light weights in the gym and scoff. I would talk down about classes like Zumba for not being “real” workouts.

Since becoming a trainer and trying those various approaches to fitness, let’s just say I have learned my lesson.

I agree whole-heartedly with the need for a well-balanced fitness routine. I know a lot of  ”information” out there can strongly mislead people in what constitutes healthy practices. I also know that a world of variety exists to help people reach their health and fitness goals…and, if you seek balanced training, one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other. Amanda’s recent post about the way different athletes judge others of differing training methods really got me riled up.

I used to be one of those Judgy McJudgerson people. Now, I see that it doesn’t really matter as long as we are each doing our best to achieve health in a (safe!) way in which we can thrive.

For some, the runner’s high crossing a finishing line beats all else.

For another, walking across the stage at a fitness competition gives the most exhilarating rush. It’s no more special than the runner’s experience.

Another person may find nothing more fulfilling that hitting up a group class at the gym.

Yet someone else only gets their heart rate pumping with joy for a workout when walking into a Crossfit box. It’s no more worthy than the group class.

Then, there’s the person who finds pure satisfaction on a yoga mat.

Or the individual that longs for a “pump” during a challenging strength workout and reaching a new record for a particular lift. Once again, it holds no more importance than the yoga.

Sure, seek a balanced plan for optimal fitness. Sure, seek to challenge yourself and even encourage others to pursue the best for each of our bodies’ health.  But please stop the judging and worrying whether what YOU enjoy is the “best” or “right” way to health.

When I became a runner, I recognized that nothing fulfilled me quite the same in the realm of feeling strong and having a chance to be a peace with myself and my body. So, I ate my past words and judgmental thoughts. There isn’t ONE WAY to health. So, DO WHAT EMPOWERS YOU and brings you closer to health. And know that it is just fine. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you it isn’t “worth it”, otherwise.

Your Turn – What empowers you? Have you ever judged someone for a workout?

***WINNERS*** Best Body Bootcamp Week 5 winner = Kattrena B! Love Grown Granola Giveaway winner = Glenneth!!

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I will email both of you shortly!

{ 47 comments }

1 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey August 28, 2012 at 6:58 am

Great post! It’s easy to judge others based on what they are doing, but you’re absolutely right – who are we to judge? Have a great day!!

2 char eats greens August 28, 2012 at 7:04 am

Love it, Tina!! It’s so true. We should be encouraging each other in the different ways we stay active and healthy!!!

3 Cheryl @ Happy is the new healthy August 28, 2012 at 7:05 am

I think it’s empowering when you actually do exercise for health — strength, power, focus, determination, etc. come out of it when it’s for this. I spent too much time doing things because I “should” — I realize now the healthiest kind of exercise is the kind you want to do, not the kind you force yourself to…

4 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 28, 2012 at 7:06 am

judgey wudgey was a bear.
;)
great post, lady!

5 Miz August 28, 2012 at 7:10 am

Yesyesyes!!!

Fitness isn’t about fitting in :-)

6 Glenneth August 28, 2012 at 7:17 am

great post. i think having so many fitness options is a fabulous thing. everyone can find something they truly enjoy!

so excited to have won the Love Grown Granola giveaway. I have never tried it, but always wanted to. Thanks Tina!

7 Marcia August 28, 2012 at 7:19 am

Amen sister! To each his own. Far be it from me to sit in judgement.

8 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness August 28, 2012 at 7:41 am

Awesome post Tina!!!! CrossFit empowers me but I totally understand that different things work for different people! I teach group fitness so I see two opposite sides of the spectrum but when you break them down, they are actually really similar! Fabulous post!

9 Tina August 29, 2012 at 7:33 am

Love that you have both perspectives and appreciate both too. I still want to try Cross Fit. I’m an equal opportunity fitness type now. ;)

10 Becky Przy August 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

What empowers me is doing what is best for my body and mind–it may be running a marathon or taking an extended break from running.

the only time I judge someone on their workout is when I see a personal trainer hanging onto the handles of the treadmill;-)

11 jobo August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

Once again, I love this message. It’s about ‘to each his/her own’ with workouts and what empowers and drives you! For me, I LOVE barre workouts (clearly) and running, but it’s not for everyone, and I would never push anyone to do it if they really didn’t want to. Of course, I’d love for them to, but I respect that everyone has their own comfort zones, their own ways to feel empowered, their own workouts that work best for them, and sometimes, that means saying no. (same for me, in workouts that I don’t love, I just simply won’t do them). Why bother doing something that you don’t love!

12 Alex @ therunwithin August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

I love this post because not only do we judge others but we judge ourselves with these terms. I run, that is where I find my peace but rarely ever do anything else. For me, I get so mad at myself for not doing some sort of fitness routine but heck I lack time, space and just desire to do that. I think judging ourselves and others in fitness can be mentally taxing!

13 Tina August 29, 2012 at 7:34 am

DEFINITELY! We can judge and compare ourselves negatively too much too.

14 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

Great message, Tina, as always ;) It’s so easy to judge others – especially with workouts. Actually, I’m having a little of the opposite problem right now. Every afternoon between clients, I grab my Kindle, hop on an elliptical, and waste time before my next session. But every time I do, I think “hmmm, I hope no one is thinking that this is my – the gym trainer’s – actual workout for the day.” But you know what? So what if they are?? And heck, so what if it is?! :)

15 Ruby @ Focus, Woman! August 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

I agree completely. I think what I didn’t used to understand is why there was this emphasis on “do what you love!”. That is, until I DID find what I loved: running, and a variation in strength routines. I used to have a need to complete whole programs (“if I strength train I HAVE to do it three times a week”) or I bought into the group classes doctrine of having to take all the classes or what have you, or even thinking I always had to do the “pure” form of an exercise, such as “real” yoga as opposed to a gym yoga class.

Then I realized: the adage is true, I have to do what I LOVE and enjoy! there is no Master of Fitness or Workout Police, keeping track of my every move, except in MY head. Moving your body because it feels good is the best way to stay healthy in the way your body craves it. Fitness wars be damned!

16 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian August 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

Thank you for this post, Tina! I definitely used to judge others and their workouts. Often times it was out of jealousy that I couldn’t lift that much, or I couldn’t run that fast, or I couldn’t do as many sets of that ab workout. I know now that it’s not important what others are doing, only what you’re doing to better yourself.

17 Yellow Haired Girl August 28, 2012 at 10:16 am

Excellent post. I’ve definitely judged others based on their workouts … and it’s not fair! I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me!

18 Jess August 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

Oh man, I have totally been a judge-y type in the past too…and I hate to even admit that. It’s awful to judge someone else’s approach to fitness — hell, they’re out there working out, making fitness a priority…unlike so many Americans who couldn’t be bothered. So who am I to sit back and judge them for their choice of fit activities?? I mean really…it’s the silliest trap I’ve ever fallen into and it’s honestly a bad quality to have…the whole judgemental thing, to begin with. I have since learned that no two workouts are alike, and no two PEOPLE are alike (duh) and thus, what works for one person might not work for another and that is TOTALLY ok. Do what you love, what works for you, what EMPOWERS you. Absolutely.

(Ps I’m with you – running is my first love…barre is a close second. It’s not for everyone. But it’s for ME. It drives me, like whoa…)

19 Mellissa August 28, 2012 at 10:47 am

I focus on doing what I like. I don’t let too many trends influence but make sure I am getting in 4-5 workouts a week!

20 Lisa August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

I love this post! Not only have I participated in judgement on others (which I truly hate), I have had people pass judgement on me. Especially when we all prefer different styles of training. There is no right way for someone to workout! If you like running and I like spinning that should be good enough. And we should be proud of each other for just doing what we love in fitness. No judgements made. I mean fitness is such a privilege, we should be thankful we can even walk! So why are we judging others on their fitness style…its not right. Now when I see someone run (although I don’t enjoy running) I cheer them on, because its amazing they have the strength (both mentally and physically) that I don’t have, to be running lots of miles. Oopsy, sorry this was so long;)

21 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness August 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

I think we can all be judgy at times, but the bottom line is, if we are all striving for better fitness…..who cares? I think everyone wants to be “right”, but what’s right for you is not right for me.

22 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More August 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

I love your honesty in this post because I think this is something we’ve all done before, whether we want to admit it or not. But, I always try to remind myself that we each need to find a workout that we enjoy and motivates us to come back so that we stay active. If that means running and strength training for me, so be it, and if it means zumba and walking for my someone like my sister, all the more power to her!

23 Amanda @RunToTheFinish August 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

glad to hear you have changed your ways!! I have to admit it never crossed my mind to judge anyone for their workouts… I am always just thinking hmm maybe I should try that or “way to go”. Now judging them for other things…well that I’m working on

24 lindsay August 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

yes yes, been there, done that. Athletes come in so many shapes and forms. We struggle to find our own inner athlete and it take a while, to do so without judging is the best way to find out, yes?

25 Maria August 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Oh gosh, I can relate, Tina. When I was working out with my trainer twice a week, doing mainly Cross Fit workouts, I was basically in the mindset that no other workouts were as effective than mine. It’s a curse to yourself to think that way too because it really can limit you on the types of workouts you do. When I started to have knee trouble and couldn’t do a lot of the heavy lifting I had done with Cross Fit, I had to accept that other forms of fitness were just as fulfilling and (surprise!) just as effective and fun.

26 cheryl August 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

even as my health issues climbed, i still watched people and mentally decided if they should be “doing more”….while at the same time wanting to hang a sign that some days walking slow is all i could handle. i didn’t/don’t want to be judged…esp since i “looked” like i could handle a real run or a heavier weight. yet it still took/takes effort not to judge others around me.

ironically, perhaps, i always mentally praised people who appeared newer to fitness or were larger….i wanted to tell them how much they rocked, even if all they could do was a short walk. i was harsher on those i thought looked fitter/slimmer/etc. i should know better…i want to scream whenever someone eyes me for moving slow when getting sodas from the lowest shelf in the store, thinking they have no clue what it feels like in my body. i’m working on not being so contradictory and jumping to the judgments i don’t want myself

27 Tina August 29, 2012 at 7:38 am

I have done the same with the “fitter looking” over “newer looking” mentality and judgment. Definitely try now to be open, supportive of all and each individual’s choices. :)

28 Alysia @ Slim Sanity August 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Such a great post! Lately I’ve found that lifting has been what ‘empowers me.’ I love feeling strong and completing a tough workout I put together at the gym. I actually felt the opposite about judging people, I didn’t want people to judge me because I don’t do as much cardio as others….but really, as long as it works for you, it’s what you should be doing!

29 Eva @ committed2nutrition August 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Amen to this. to each their own. I can say hands down that teaching zumba has given me the most incredible body… I never got results like this doing anything else. and maybe the reason is CONSISTENCY because I love doing it so much.

30 misszippy August 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I think you know where I stand on this one! ; ) And that running is my thing. I also add in strength training (and triathlon training), but my passion is running and so that’s my mainstay. Life is too short to do something you don’t like!

31 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Great post!

I think everyone has these sort of judgements at one point or another. I used to think I had to be dripping with sweat in order for it to count as a workout – aka heavy lifting (I don’t usually get too out of breath or sweaty from it) yoga, pilates…none of that counted! But I noticed when I started rounding out my routine for I noticed huge differences in my body and flexibility – aka, completely ate my words. As long as you’re active, you’re doing great things for your body.

32 Heather (Heather's Dish) August 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

ugh i totally judged people…and then when i became a trainer i would look at the really overweight woman on the treadmill every day and praise God that she had put her health first and showed up.

33 Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily August 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Great post! I’m sure some people look at my 5 mile bike ride as a warm up, but for me it was a heart pumping, sweaty, long workout!

34 Annette@FitnessPerks August 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

AMEN!! We are all different, and each needs to find what makes us really come ALIVE! :)

35 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

You are right, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “best” way to exercise that we forget just exercising is what is important!

36 Raina August 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I have spent too much time analyzing other people’s training and critiquing. It’s easy to fall into a trap of comparisons for almost anything, though. I like what you say here about doing what empowers YOU. For me, that’s running and racing. It is always inspiring to me to see people of all types doing what they can to get fit.

Happy to find your blog here!

37 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed August 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I don’t tend to judge workouts, but I do judge food. I try not to, I really do, but I do it. Cool whip, packaged brownie mix, and condensed soups are my triggers.

38 Pavement Runner August 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I either want to start a reality court room show called Judgy McJudgerson or register for a race under that name and run in a robe…

Great post, and yes, to each their own.

39 Tina August 29, 2012 at 7:40 am

I could so picture you running a race in a robe as Judgy McJudgerson.

40 Adrienne August 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Great post! I am guilty of thinking how I train, is how everyone should train. Whatever/however one chooses to exercise is good, as long as they are doing it! I am new to running, and have found that getting up to go run is what empowers me. Never thought I would have that feeling, but I do and it feels awesome!!

41 Heather August 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

racing empowers me, I love crossing a finish line! So does playing volleyball or basketball. reminds me of high school!

42 Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit August 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm

OMG, Tina, I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this post! For one, the reminder and encouragement to do what is empowering – so good! I can completely relate to this post and the comments of so many of your readers. For me, I am a lot like Sam @ Better With Sprinkles. I often struggle with judging my own self if I don’t do a workout that has me panting for breath and lifting until I’m sore the next day. That meant that things like yoga and workout classes (other than spinning) were pretty much out of the question. Recently, I have put my judgement aside and began experimenting with all sorts of different workouts and group exercise classes, and I am loving it! It has completely rejuvenated my love for fitness and has me looking forward to my workouts again!

43 Michele @ Nycrunningmama August 29, 2012 at 5:51 am

Love this post. You are so right. I used to be SUCH a judgmental person – especially when it came to running. I’d look down on people who weren’t running a certain pace and think that they werent really working out or pushing themselves. Since I’ve started blogging and been introduced to so many amazing running bloggers out there, I’ve learned that I was SO critical and wrong. The pace is irrelevant these days :)

44 purelymichelle August 29, 2012 at 11:31 pm

YES! could not even said it better myself. I wish we all could just support one another.

45 Meg September 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Amazing post, Tina! Seriously. One of the best. Everything you say is so true and I am sure it speaks to everyone. I don’t know if I necessarily judge others, but I judge myself. I lift. That is what I love and that is what I do because I enjoy it. It empowers me. However, if I do a yoga workout I do not classify myself working out. Make sense? I think I need to learn and know that it’s OK not to be lifting heavy on my workout days. If I do a yoga workout instead, so be it!

Thanks girl

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