And… dive! Head hits the water, body submerges underneath in a streamlined and regal position and continues on in a dolphin-like motion without a single thought roaming around the brain of the inhabitant. In my opinion, the above should be the description used to describe diving into a pool and swimming freely. Ahh, swimming- swimming is my free. I have been swimming since the ripe age of 2- I learned to do the butterfly kick before I learned to walk. In general, sports have proven effective for releasing my inordinate amount of bodily energy, and although quite agile and athletic myself, I think sports are beneficial for each and every one of us. Finding the physical activity that best complements our metabolisms and body types, and linking the method with our personalities is a seemingly harder feat than dead-lifts. But once we find the right mate, we will never look back.
I’m in a place in my life where I fantasize about healthy meals and green drinks and protein intake, and ponder if I want to blast ‘reggaeton’ and run for 45 minutes at the beach, or if I want to put on my matching sports bra and Nike leggings on and power through the ever-so-dreaded “leg day”. Physical activity constitutes a huge part of my daily life and takes up a large part of my cerebral cortex- I’ll admit it: I eat, sleep and dream ‘training’. But, despite my athletic prowess, there were periods of time where I got sucked into the orb of laziness, like so many of us do, and preferred cocktails and take-away over athleticism and endorphins.
After college, I guess you could say I “let myself go”. And in the quite racist words of Austin Powers’ ‘Fat Bastard’, I had, “more chins than a Chinese phone book”. I was 22, down-in-the-dumps, living with my parents, and I ate quite indulgent, rich foods on the regular. And, despite working out alongside my mom and her personal trainer tri-weekly, I gained roughly 35 pounds. 35 pounds on a 5 foot, 2-inch girl with small bones and a naturally small build is a LOT. I had foregone the natural athleticism and energy I was born with and opted for a life of couch-sitting and overeating. And, this pattern continued on: the more weight I gained, the less I wanted to work on myself, and the more I wanted to hide in my sweatpants with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
After about a year and a half of settling-into Tel Aviv, my new home, I decided to take the reigns and join a gym. Mortified at how I looked in my leggings and how many neck rolls I had when I did crunches, I put in about half-strength effort, checking other alternative routes along the way. I was testing the waters with some hot yoga and pilates classes my good friend was teaching and absolutely swore by. During these classes, I felt so bored and frustrated saying my “ohm’s” and “Namaste’s”, as I knew that stagnant sports were not for me and did not work with my body-type or metabolism; I needed heavy cardio, strength training and to return home exhausted, sore and with a dangerously elevated heartbeat. I ended up gaining even more weight and feeling lost for a sports solution.
About a year before I met my now husband, I had the impulse to start running. Similar in speed and agility to that of swimming- my good old friend- I knew it would be the perfect solution for my love-handle needs. Interspersed with weight-training learned from professionals and famous trainers, I started to find my sports groove and the weight began to slide off. I increased my cardio to 4 times a week and steadied my weight training to between one and two. Looking in the mirror now, I feel like a fitness model; I am so blessed I found what works for me (humility sold separately).
If there’s one thing I learned about physical activity, it’s that we all need it, but we all need to find what works for our bodies and dispositions. My mom, a tiny-boned, more bottom-heavy little critter sees the best results from half-cardio, half strength training, teacher-taught classes. My husband, naturally very thin himself, is nowadays called ‘muscle man’ due to his heavy lifting and protein packing; he too found a solution for his previous body struggles and found the workout best suitable to help him reach his goals. We all need to test the waters and take note of our personas, and we all need to “train”, for training makes us healthy, training makes us happy, and training connects us with the house in which we eternally reside- our bodies.