Fitness Doesn't Have To Mean "Fitness"

by Kenneth Rayman on December 8, 2018
Growing up, fitness was a chore. I hear Tom Bilyeu say he hates working out and laughs at his wife, Lisa, for the weird rush she gets from it; Gary Vee found his accountability to someone else makes it for him or else he’d hate it too. Fitness was a weekly appointment for physical therapy for me, sometimes twice weekly in the summer, with seemingly no end in sight. There was no explanation as to why, just that I needed it because of my disability which made me feel different having to do it while no one else had to. Growing up, teenage rebellion turned that attitude real, but it also was not adapted to my increasing interpersonal development, as the therapist matched to me was in pediatric therapy and I saw more benefit of a gym environment than being in a play room (hence more rebellion). I eventually quit therapy altogether by refusing to do it and my parents threw their hands up and let it go. The thought that I’d be happier and more keen to stick with a gym membership/personal trainer coupled with my parent’s thought, “Would he stick with it for the added expense?” resulted in it not being done. I gave up physical fitness because it was a chore, not a habit, or lifestyle, or activity with visible tangible benefit (as my disability would never go away and it’s motions seemed uselessly repetitive).

While I maintained my daily walking habit for the next several years, I never focused on my health overall, sort of proudly alluding to the bachelor diet as my staple. I wasn’t eating out every day, but it was whatever’s easy to make and not labor intensive, though I stayed away from adding extra salt at least. That all changed when I got diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 4 in 2017. EDS, for short, is a connective tissue disorder that separates the inner and out walls of your veins and arteries forming aneurysms that grow and have a possibility of rupture. I knew I needed to take care of myself a little more and reached out to a friend, Tierney, who I had seen for years having tremendous success in fitness, professionally as a trainer, and personally through her own growth journey. I thought it would be the next step in my growth to push another boundary and comfort zone. But my limiting beliefs creeped in again: its too hard for me because of my disability, I can’t do it like them or even keep up, I need to modify and I’m afraid I won’t get the benefit and OMG, now I have a vascular condition so I need to make sure I don’t stress the arteries too hard.

I was seriously upset, trying two different programs and then stopping because of legitimate fear of my condition but the others were excuses. Then one day, I saw the end of an infomercial on a true beginner’s Yoga program through Tierney’s company, Beachbody, the 3 Week Yoga Retreat. I immediately messaged her about it and asked if she thought it would be a good program for me given what we know about my condition and my goal of just being “active.” The only thing I said about Yoga was due to balance I couldn’t do “pretzel poses.”

So along with my travel and personal growth writing, I chose to become a Beachbody coach because as I told her, “I’ve done so little because of my disability in fitness that I want to show that, along with mindset and personal growth, disability just means you modify the program and push yourself in a new way.” Limitations can be overcome; fitness doesn’t have to equal “fitness,” as in gym fitness. If you have limitations, as long as your active THAT’S what counts. I’m proud to be exploring this new fascination with pushing my boundaries with an program of stretches and strengthening of my own limitations (spastic (tight) muscles and limited strength on one side) because it’s on my terms and not a “chore.” As Tom Bilyeu might say, there’s now a ‘why’ to my fitness routine.