Performance Focused

Remember when Mom used to tell us to stop looking for love, and then love will finally find us? Remember the Professor who kept telling you to stop looking for the answers, look for the right questions, and then the answers will come? And, remember the Mentor who said that there is no way to happiness, but rather happiness IS the way?

Well… it’s the same thing for fitness and aesthetics.

While I hate to admit it, aesthetics is a big part of health and fitness. And, I say that simply because as a coach, it’s really, really, really, REALLY f***ing hard to help people who have been conditioned for years to “lose weight” and “look” a certain way.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again - The Health & Fitness Industry is broken!

We need to fix it.

We’ve been preyed upon by the industry through our deepest insecurities, and trained to believe that health and fitness is about losing weight fast and LOOKING a certain way.

Okay, so here’s the thing - We are all human, and even I admittedly care about my aesthetics. I don’t think a little bit of vanity is a bad thing. BUT - When aesthetics becomes the main focus, or even THE only focus of health and fitness, it then becomes a very stressful, very difficult, and sometimes even a very dangerous situation.

The trick is finding the right balance between hard work and dedication, while also enjoying a quality of life that makes us happy, and enjoy a few indulgences along the way. It’s finding a lifestyle that is SUSTAINABLE, while at the same time bringing real results.

I’ve tried to find the “magic pill” and the “quick fix.” Many, many times. I’ve wasted so much money and time over the years. But, what’s worse is that I put myself in unhealthy and unsafe situations trying for the perfect body.

It wasn’t until my 6th year into CrossFit that I realized the real “secret” to the “perfect body.”

Your perfect body is whatever your body sculpts into while doing the things you love, training with intention, eating for fuel and nourishment, and loving yourself unconditionally.

Read that again. And again. And again. Until it’s permanently engraved into your mind and heart.

And how do we achieve that?! By focusing on PERFORMANCE.

Yes, focusing solely and exclusively on performance. And I do NOT mean trying to do workouts “Rx” and over-training with 1,000 push ups for time, and then comparing your time to the others in class. No, no, NO!

What I mean by focusing on performance is moving with intent, with purpose, and with quality. Learning, practicing, and truly mastering the movements. Technique and form first. Strict before kip. Gradually increasing load and intensity over extended periods of time. Focusing on your squat, your body position, your breathing, and your range of motion. Fixing the weaknesses, and building upon the strengths. Finding your current 1 RM, and then adjusting your workouts based on your percentages.

In my 6th year of CrossFit, I started training seriously for Regionals. I was doing 3-4 hrs a day and eating about 90% Paleo, 10% whatever. I was so focused on my lifts and workouts, that by the end of that year I suddenly realized I had abs (Which, I had never had before in my lifetime). I had not stepped on a scale that entire year, either, and when I finally did that same day, I also learned that I was about 5 pounds less and about 5% more muscle mass. It was the last 5 pounds that I used to obsess about, cry about, and get angry over. Now, I could have cared less about those 5 pounds, nor did I even realize at the time that they had left my body!

It was the first time in my life that I understood all of those sayings. When you stop looking for “it,” when you stop obsessing about it, when you stop letting it control your life and focus on the things that matter, the rest will take care of itself naturally.

When you focus on the right performance, the aesthetics will take care of themselves. I promise!

Now, what I can’t promise is what those aesthetics will be, because we are all uniquely built. We come from different genetics. We are at different ages and stages of life. We all have our own eating habits, sleep habits, work habits, and life habits. Our hormone levels are different. We all have our own variables that we are working with and fighting against, so your aesthetics will be different from mine, and hers, and his, and even theirs.

For my first 28 years of life, I hated my thick thighs so much. Hated. As a teenager, I would cry at night wishing I had chicken legs like the other cheerleaders. I hated my muscular thighs more than my pimples and Algebra II combined. But then when I found CrossFit, I had women actually envying and complimenting my legs. I never thought I’d live to see the day… And today, I LOVE my legs, and am so grateful for all of the things they can do! I still can’t, and never will be able to wear skinny jeans without my muscular thighs bulging out, and I’m okay with that. That is my body type. Those are my Korean thighs from my biological parents. ;-)

Now, just as I had women admiring my thighs, I also had women disgusted by them, and even women afraid of “catching” my thighs if they started lifting weights. Bottom line is, folks - There will always be people out there who think you are too fat, too skinny, too bulky, too manly, too scrawny, too dark, too light, too tall, too short… Opinions are like butt holes, everyone has one…

The one and only opinion that should matter to you is YOUR OWN OPINION of yourself.

Okay, okay… I digress…

Bottom line - I just want y’all to LOVE YOURSELF. “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you!” ;-) But, in all seriousness, if there is only one thing I can do while being able to coach in the health & fitness industry, it would be to help others love themselves through a sustainable lifestyle!

Love yourself. Love your body. The rest will take care of itself.

Stop looking for skinny or abs. Start performing. Perform at life.

Kara PurvesComment