Burpees began eight-and-a-half years ago.
Burpees begat other bodyweight exercises and stretches.
Bodyweight exercises begat kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebell exercises begat bigger shoulders, biceps, thighs, and calves.
As I got more fit, I wondered how I wanted to look.
At 47, I probably don’t have the testosterone to get jacked, which I think is the technical term for having unusually large muscles. But I never wanted huge muscles.
I also don’t want to rely on a gym, since accessibility is important to me. That is, I want what I achieve and others might want to replicate — in my diet, exercise, and other habits — to comprise only what others can do. I like using minimal equipment and for what I use to cost little and last a long time. Kettlebells fit the bill, as did a rowing machine I bought used at half price. But most of my exercises don’t need equipment.
I want to have the body of someone who looks fit. I want to look like someone who lives a fit lifestyle.
The media and advertisers know a lot of people want to look fit. Making things easy doesn’t make them money, so they don’t make it easy to figure out how. They regularly tout “the latest research” of conflicting advice. Wading through all the advice in bookstores, magazine, stores, and web sites makes it seem like you have to buy a lot of stuff, join gyms, eat supplements, and so on.
I could almost see why people might believe looking fit is harder than looking unfit.
Then I figured out how to do it. It seemed almost too easy.
To look fit, live a fit lifestyle.
Simple when you get it.
Take the stairs. Cook from scratch. Walk places. Challenge your body. Sleep the amount your body responds how you like it to. Enjoy physically active hobbies. Compete. Challenge your mind.
Avoid opposites like pre-cooked or engineered “food,” elevators or escalators where stairs are there, too much comfort or convenience, driving where you can walk or ride a bike, passive and sedentary hobbies, too little sleep, complacency, dullness.
I find I like more muscle than average so I lift kettlebells on top of my calisthenics. When I liked team sports more I played ultimate Frisbee.
It seems obvious looking back, but easy to miss:
To look fit, be fit. To be fit, live a fit lifestyle, meaning move around a lot, eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and mushrooms.
That’s what I do and I look how I like. I didn’t before.
In other words, my body is the outward manifestation of my beliefs and habits.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say anyway, that genetic factors like eye color, environmental factors, and other things outside one’s control don’t result from beliefs and habits as fitness does. I wish I could say that people can account for factors outside one’s control and not judge people for it, but if they can account, most don’t judge. We all get judged in ways we consider unfair and can’t change. Still, probably everyone reading these words does his or her best to avoid judging people for things they can’t help and tries to keep a community that practices the same.
I hope people understand I’m not trying to present proven fact, but words to live by.
I’m pleasantly surprised at the effect on my mood of a little more muscle on my shoulders, how my jeans have become slightly uncomfortable from my larger thighs making them tight, the definition on my abs, and the like.
Moving in that direction — that is, becoming more fit — is available to everyone. It comes from their beliefs and habits.
Related: Our environment is the outward manifestation of our personal and cultural beliefs and habits.
How our environment looks results from how we treat it, which results from our beliefs and habits.
If we want to change our environment, we have to change our beliefs and habits. More of our environment than ever looks disgusting and the opposite of life sustaining. That result tells me our beliefs and habits are disgusting and the opposite of life sustaining.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if people are behaving in disgusting, non-life-sustaining ways.
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