This weekend as I ran the stairs of my prep school’s campus, I was reminded of the hours I spent playing field hockey and lifting weights in junior high and high school. Those were such formative years; fitness was a source of identity, joy, and camaraderie with others. I remember wondering my senior year if I would be able to maintain the same commitment to physical activity throughout the rest of my life. I realized this fall that my definition of fitness needed to be redefined.

An active and healthy lifestyle cannot look one way. Our lives have so many different responsibilities that compete for equal value. We are constantly required to weigh tasks and choose to complete the most pressing one first. More often than we desire, we must sacrifice a workout for a meeting at work, a child’s needs, or simply because our bodies are already utterly exhausted. I am learning that a fit individual is not one who has an unstoppable workout routine and a perfect macronutrient score, but one who continues to persevere through overbooked and sleepless weeks to incorporate fitness where and when they can.

Sometimes inconsistency can be our biggest enemy. It’s not that missing workouts is tragic, it’s the mental space that we entertain because of inconsistency that is so deadly. If we can graciously accept the reality of inconsistent workouts amidst our busy lives we won’t lose our ambition. Inconsistent workouts do not keep us from being healthy, it’s the belief that being perfect is our only option and if we cannot maintain perfection than we should stop trying. I am learning to get comfortable with more inconsistency in my life as a means to preserve my current fitness routine. Join me in accepting imperfection and doing the best with the time we have to pursue health. No shame, no regrets, just going for it when we can with the energy that we have. 


Erin Emmanuel