We are unique and complex beings and can all agree that we are more than a physical body. Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a phrase called “Beyond Body Fitness.” Beyond Body Fitness is when we acknowledge and exercise the spirit and soul and not just the physical body. If there is one thing that I learned from 2020, it is that I am so thankful for the strong spiritual foundation of my faith. Even though my fitness business that I launched in February of 2020 did not survive, I was not entirely crushed because of what I hold true according to my Christian faith. While it was a challenging season for sure, it was not devastating because at my core, I believe that life is more than a successful career or endeavor. Thankfully, I was able to move my business online in an effort to continue serving the beautiful community as well as offer outdoor and socially distanced workouts for a small group of women.
Over the past two decades, I have seen several changes in fitness, health and wellness. I have observed trends and fads. In my experience, the health industry both sets and follows these trends. Some trends are a hit and some are a miss. Trends have changed over the years from the likes of step aerobics to barre workouts, Zumba to Cross-fit, Tae Bo to HIIT (high intensity interval training), leotards to Lululemon, diets to lifestyle change, Beach Body to Peloton and the list could go on and on. While health and fitness trends change as well as come and go, I have discovered that in order for a woman to be successful with any health program, it is imperative for her to understand what motivates her in order to stick with a program for the long term. Basically, it’s more important to understand who you are at your core (soul & spirit) before trying to change the physical part of your being. While trends are fun to follow, be sure you know what you’re jumping into (and why) or it may set you back instead of propelling you forward in your whole health.
As a fitness trainer, I’ve worked with a number of women who choose to train with me for a variety of reasons. Many women exercise with goals to reduce their body weight. Some women workout to increase strength or even flexibility, while other women workout because they have discovered the amazing benefits to their mental health. The release of endorphins is a real high. Most women enjoy the company of others while working out making it more of a social event as opposed to a task to accomplish alone. Since women tend to be highly relational and social, working out with others makes it much more enjoyable and sustainable.
So, how do women to develop their whole health in a way that is sustainable and possibly even enjoyable as opposed to following the next trend and giving up after 3 weeks?
My encouragement is for women to take a step back and do some soul searching or what I call Beyond Body Fitness before jumping on a bike or enrolling in a nutrition program.
First, get to know who you are at your core. Ask yourself questions like, Who am I? and Why am I here? Write it out and don’t just stop there. Keep digging and learning. Spend time in prayer and meditation. Explore the Bible. Spend time forgiving yourself and others. Talk to a good friend who has a strong faith. Take some time to exercise this part of your being. Next, do some soul searching. A personality test is a great way to find out how you express yourself and operate in the world. I recommend the Enneagram Test to discover your personality as it will help guide you to better knowing yourself and how you relate to others. Develop your mind, thoughts and emotions through learning, maintaining healthy friendships and even stress reducing exercises like yoga, meditation, rest and relaxation. Finally, seek out a health and/or fitness program that match who you are and how you relate to the world. Is it yoga, MyFitnessPal meal tracking, meditation, CrossFit, barre workouts or an online fitness program that will best motivate you? Be sure to discover what motivates you based on who you are and how you operate for the best long term whole health success. Be realistic and be gracious to give yourself time to figure it out.
I personally thrive in group fitness with a small to medium group of women. Right now, we are meeting outside and socially distanced. While I lead all the classes, the community is committed, gracious and hard working. These women are more than workout buddies, they are my friends. It has become clear that we all work better together. Because I am an Enneagram 7 (Enthusiast) who is extraverted and loves to have fun, I can get distracted and move on to the next shiny thing, but these women help me stay committed every day of the week by showing up and working hard. I haven’t missed a workout other than for an occasional family trip or kid emergency in several years because of this community. My motivator for my fitness health aligns with my desire and need to be connected to others and my goal to support my mental and physical health as a mom of 4 children.
While I love pushing women to get physically stronger, leaner and healthier, I am possibly more passionate for women to become healthy beyond their physical body.
Would you consider trying some Beyond Body Fitness in an effort for you to determine what motivates you and sustains you for whole health?
Meet our contributor:
Hi, my name is Bekah Self and I am passionate about health and wellness while maintaining a realistic mindset with my reality as a wife and mother of 4 busy children. I have been a fitness professional for the past 25 years but identify most passionately as a committed follower of Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I align myself with the tripartite view of humankind being made up of a spirit, soul and body. My understanding and belief of what makes up a whole person is a spirit (to which each person submits differently), a soul (intellect, thought, ideals, love, emotion, understanding, decision, choice and other like qualities) and a body (muscles, bones, organs, etc).