If you have followed me for a while now you have hopefully come to know me a little.
Then you will know this.
Fitness is very close to my heart.
Not simply in the passion sense but in the poetic sense. It’s who I am and such an integral part of how I experience life. I can’t separate myself from it any more than I can from food or oxygen. It’s how I express myself and my body.
It’s from this place I want to talk about the truest, deepest Why of fitness.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may have heard of British Columbia’s struggle with forest fires over the last two weeks. It’s been monstrous, stressful, death defying and a very normal part of our experience living here. It’s part of the forest; how it grows, its cycle of death, rebirth and evolution.
A disaster that makes us pull tighter together as individuals, professionals and communities every year.
Close to Home
This time it hit home. A very close family member has struggled with living in close proximity to this living, breathing monster; caught in limbo between safety and entrapment. Danger can go either way, as can life.
Needless to say, I have watched the media very closely. I have been in personal contact when I could be, when phone lines were up and powerhouses weren’t down. I have seen firsthand the response of emergency services and the vast network of people who’s sole focus it is to save lives. It’s incredible, and I have always regarded the unity and precision of the teams who have spent years training for disaster response with the highest respect and awe.
It’s awesome what they do, in every sense of the word. The extremes to which they push their bodies, their minds, and their available resources when the latter is all but scarce. That takes a toll on the psyche. They push through highs and lows, the dangerous environment and high stakes making these two opposing extremes even more intense. They do it because they have reason, they do it because they’re driven by one goal only; lifesaving. Above all else, they have dedicated themselves to the training necessary to make it all happen at a moment’s notice when the situation calls for it.
I have also seen that family member have to pack their most precious belongings into their vehicle, a hard choice in itself, and be ready to leave everything else behind. Every single day could be the day. Knocks on the door in the middle of the night bring warnings from police officers. Get ready, be ready. You might not have much time.
Choking smoke that stresses the lungs of even the best outdoorsman. Being surrounded by something so unpredictable that you can fight, but you can’t control. It does it’s own thing, as so many who have experience with these fires have discovered before.
Watching the disaster unfold itself with terrifying abandon and seeing the terrific human answer to such a threat got me contemplating. I contemplated a lot in the two last weeks.
Why do we take care of ourselves? Why do we get fit? Why do we eat well?
Throw vanity and good looks out the window damn it, and lets get real. What is the one and only thing that really matters?
The Strength to Survive
Physical fitness is your ability to move. To move into great situations, out of risky situations, or save others who can’t move themselves. It’s your body’s ability to endure, to avoid fatigue, extreme environments and circumstances, to push through when you really need to. It’s your ability to interact with whatever life throws your way. It’s everything.
In training your body, you also train your mind. Mental fortitude that results from fitness is sometimes understated.
Push through, endure the pain, one more rep, one more rep. You can do it. Go to bed exhausted, wake up exhausted and sore to do it all again. Keep focused on the vision, have faith you will get there. Fuel your body with the fire in your heart.
Train your body, train your mind. You can’t do one without the other.
You may have fitness goals that you hold close, you may have things you want to change about your body, mind, lifestyle.
Add to that the bigger picture of being able to face tough situations, respond to life every time, endure and SURVIVE. No matter the extremity of the circumstances you will be faced with in your life, be ready for it. Be ready for anything, and in the mean time enjoy what your body is capable of.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others when the time comes. This is why we’re here on this planet, and this is why we train.