Have you ever thought about why you workout? Some common responses include:
- To lose weight
- To keep weight off
- To earn or burn what I eat and drink
- To look a certain way (aka “thin”)
These were all the reasons why I started running in 7th grade and continued running marathons into my 20s. Exercise and food went hand-in-hand, at least in my head. The end goal was always how I looked on the outside. I was told at an early age that running would keep me thin. And, in my fat-phobic family and in our fat-phobic society, thin was IN. Thus the why inspired the how.
>> Running = heavy-duty cardio.
>> Cardio = caloric burn.
>> More miles = more caloric burn.
>> More caloric burn = more freedom with food without weight gain.
I was looking at things myopically and it “worked”, at least until all the ramifications of the “how” caught up to me. After years of gut issues, injuries, joint pain and a hefty investment in a life coach, my list looks a little different.
- To remain pain/injury/discomfort-free
- To be strong so I can keep up with my kids
- To stay more mentally balanced and manage stress/anxiety
- To preserve my joints and avoid painful surgeries, joint replacements, etc.
- To reduce inflammation in my body and reduce risk of disease
- To generate happy hormones that give me energy for my work, family, friends and life
- To age well and continue to do the things I love into my 90s
- To look a certain way: strong, toned and healthy, not “skinny”
You can see a lot on this list is different. You can also see that yes, there is still an external component to my motivation and that’s ok too. Wanting to look good isn’t a crime. What feels criminal to me was the agony I put my brain and body through to prioritize the external over everything else. Belief drives behavior and for many of us, our beliefs about how we should look are deeply ingrained. Sadly, how we feel, mentally and physically, is often secondary to how we look. And the psychological warfare that goes along with all of this is a form of torture synonymous to a life sentence, but doesn’t have to be.
For a while, I felt trapped. I was caught between what I knew was and wasn’t working, and the most terrifying state, the unknown. My why was shifting. I didn’t want to feel beaten down and broken anymore. I didn’t want to feel like no matter how much I exercised it was never enough. I didn’t want to feel like how little I ate it was always too much. I didn’t want my system to be so stressed from work, exercise and life that I felt like crap all the time. And I definitely didn’t want to spend any more time and money on various body workers and doctors to triage my ailments.
It was neither easy nor instant, but slowly, my personal priorities shifted, and consequently, so did my professional ones. While I love movement and feeling strong and in-shape, I didn’t want to create, promote or practice something that would favor the external more than the internal. The fitness industry is saturated with bikini-clad women and shirtless dudes with chiseled 6-pack abs. If that’s what you’re after, you can go nearly anywhere and find it. My goal with Alkalign is to prioritize fitness that feels good. Energizing and empowering. Balanced and aligned. Challenging and attainable. Functional and FUN. Consistently motivating and always evolving.
Alkalign is designed to be:
- A workout that leaves you feeling better than when you started.
- An experience that helps you feel better about yourself vs feeling like you’re not enough.
- A community that inspires you to show up and be you, the real, the raw and the human.
We do this by:
- Adopting a “do no harm” policy when it comes to exercises. We prioritize bio-mechanically sound exercises that will strengthen your body and reduce risk of injury and are committed to educating our clients on how to align, stabilize, strengthen and move in each of these exercises.
- Committing to an inclusive environment, positive cues and a judgment-free zone. Yes, we will razz you for preordering your Starbucks during class because we want you to stay present. But we don’t care what you wear, how you look or that your clothes are on inside out and backwards. We just want to see you and help you invest in your own self-care.
- People over profit. The health, safety and longevity of our clients’ mental and physical health is always more important than money-making marketing tricks that prey on their insecurities
- Infusing FUN. Fitness isn’t punishment and functional fitness isn’t boring. We encourage our clients and instructors alike to bring their personalities to class. Variety is the spice of Alkalign and we appreciate that everyone is on their own unique journey in life. Alkalign is a place we can come together as one, without shame, or guilt, and with some fun music and fun people.
If this sounds like a refreshing change for you, we invite you to join our Blue Crew. All are welcome. We also recognize that different things work for different people and everyone has their own goals, and is at their own point on their own path. We respect that. Try Alkalign and see for yourself. If it works, great. If not, we respect that too. The door is always open.