We love to train. Everyday I hear people say, “I have to get in shape”. We train to get in shape. We train to stay in shape. We train to change our shape. Our training, for many, shapes our lives. We listen to many who seem to be in shape, tell us how to get in shape, modify our shape, keep our shape, feed our shape, and they seem to shape our minds, promise to alter our shape, shape our bodies, and sometimes, shape our identities. Exercise has the potential to shape our lives for the better. It also has the potential to increase our stress load. More so, when you add information that you don’t fully understand or have a basis for self application. Adding issues surrounding food & nutrition can complicate things or enhance them, depending on the person, their history and how they live. The fitness industry, & the health & wellness industries are, well, industries, & like any industry, has no shortage of quick fixes, gurus and sound byte marketing, where profits unfortunately, often rely on an uneducated customer or population. Nobody invests in a home or business collaboration or venture without a detailed research, a plan or evaluating cost versus benefit. Your fitness, nutrition or health plan shouldn’t fall short in effort and research, or costs can far outweigh any potential benefit – especially if time and money are a concern, which it basically is for most. As far as how our bodies fit into that kind of thinking, consider our joints for example. We all have differing degrees of range available with regard to our joints. Some appear to have lots of available range and appear very flexible or fluid or so it seems, while others, seem, on the surface, to have very little range available and appear to have what some might call tight muscles or limitations. Many professions, in an effort to offer ideas & simplify sometimes label us with generalities like slow, medium & fast metabolism, hyper mobile, locked up, tight or inflexible, etc. Depending on the context & discussion, some of these may be warranted for comprehension and understanding depending on the listener, however, generalities tend to lead to many of us, fitness professionals & clients alike, down the path of wearing the “label” like an identity. A general category, can lead to general results or at best an uncertain feeling about whether or not the right choices are being made. Fitness as something to work toward & obtain, just like health, or “healthy” pursuits, are a journey, usually a long committed one. As one works out at the gym, in classes, or makes dietary changes that may have some positive long term outcome, I’ve learned that it helps to ask why. Why this exercise? Why this food combination, why this bodywork modality, and maybe asking how does this pertain to me, my goal, & my history, when given an exercise, a label or new dietary scheme. Exercises and dietary choices are all person specific and while we recognize that exercise & paying attention to food choices are important for all of us, identifying what to do & why, & how that pertains to your goals is key. This can be tough, as there’s no shortage of nifty ideas or quick fix schemes. There’s no shortcut, you have to train, you have to eat, you have to sleep, & most of all, you have to identify the things about your lifestyle that impede your goals. Then, change or remove them. They used to say, “you reap what you sow”. Your outcomes are based on what effort you put in. Sometimes, more is needed, Oftentimes, less can take you one step closer. Identify. Change. Grow. You get what you pay for.