In the fitness industry (specifically the part of the industry powered by multi level marketing, but I digress) people are often asked to describe their “why”.
WHY they want to pursue a career in fitness. WHY they help other people get fit and healthy. The “why” is supposed to help ground you, help you maintain focus, and most of all, help you to retain the passion you feel for this industry, regardless of potential issues, controversy, or drama that might otherwise take the wind out of your sails.
I’ve never specifically thought about my why. There are countless reasons, really, and honestly I could never choose just one “why”. But the other night, my 8 year old nailed it on the head.
While discussing my day with Geoff and describing some various exercises I put a certain client through, my oldest son chimed in on the conversation from the other room.
“I know why people need you to be their trainer, mom.”
Curious, because you never know what is going to come out of the mouth of this one, I replied back.
“Oh really, buddy? Why is that?”
“Because we live at the beach.”
The answer hit me like a sucker punch. Because we live at the beach. What an honest, and truthfully, expected, answer. Beach bodies. Bikini ready. Summer abs. Beaches and fit bodies seem to go hand in hand, specifically in the advertisement side of this industry that tries to convince us it’s a necessary requirement. We are inundated with this type of message, so it’s no wonder my little one would say this.
Being an adult, and a jaded one at that, I was immediately heartbroken over the fact that my 8 year old son already associated the fact that so many people exercise for aesthetic and vanity driven reasons only…or at least feel that is the only reason others do it. I was sad to think that my innocent little boy has already succumbed to ridiculous societal norms that imply that we should be ashamed of our bodies if we have “fat”, imperfections, or own anything less than a magazine glorified “beach body”. In the 5 seconds that passed from his statement, I felt a slew of emotions, and wondered how, if at all, I would reply to this one.
“Because we live at the beach?” I repeated the statement back to him, this time as a question, and braced myself for some sort of explanation about bikinis and six pack abs and who knows what else.
“Yup. Because we live at the beach, and at any given moment a Kraken could jump out of the water and snag up all of the people on the beach. But not the fast people, they’ll get away and survive. That’s why they need you, mom, to make them fast and strong. To escape a Kraken attack.”
And that, folks, is my “why”. Why do I care so much about helping people become stronger, faster, fitter, and happier?
So they can survive the impending massive, terrifying, mythical squid attack on their next beach vacation.