Find Your Fitness

Find Your Fitness
There has been a shift in what fitness has meant to me over the years. When I was young, I had to be dragged inside from the football (soccer) field for dinner and to sleep. I was extremely active and fit growing up—if there was a ball to chase, hit, spike or throw, I was on it. In my early years I played soccer, basketball, handball, tennis, badminton, golf, and volleyball. Later, as a young adult and into my late twenties, I was a semi professional soccer player and didn’t give fitness too much thought—I just was.

Once I had kids and a family, there were a number of years where there wasn’t much time to focus on myself. If I had any extra time, between work and raising young kids, my priority was simply catching up on sleep. My core fitness level was still fine, but that was probably the time in my life when my overall fitness level was at its worst. We were relocating a lot at that time. From Iceland to the UK, back to Iceland, then to Denmark, back to Iceland, and finally to New York. All of this moving took place in the span of 20 years, and took its toll on me. Beyond being stressful, it was a physical strain at the time my fitness level was at its lowest point. Moving is hard work and I felt pretty miserable—packing, carrying heavy objects up and down stairs, and getting re-settled. These normal daily activities and occupation related things have as much to do with fitness as optimal performance during sports. Growing older you gain appreciation for times when your body doesn’t fail on you when you are doing even the simplest things, and you begin to factor in the necessity of proper sleep and good nutrition.

CrossFit helped me on my journey to regain fitness

Eight years ago, we were living in Iceland, my kids were getting a little older, and I wanted to start exercising again. I can’t even count all of the locked backs, stiff necks and sore joints and muscles I got from the series of moves and pick-up soccer games with friends, but they were many. Going to a normal gym to work out just wasn’t for me. One day in 2016, I stumbled on an intro class to CrossFit and I was hooked! A few months in, I injured my shoulder again and had to have surgery for the third time. I was struggling with recovery when a friend introduced me to marine collagen made from the skin of wild caught Cod. I was at a point where I was willing to try anything. After about six weeks in I noticed a tremendous difference in my mobility, how rapid my recovery was progressing, and how quickly the overall pain associated with the shoulder was diminishing.

"Starting CrossFit and learning about marine collagen were defining moments for me."

I became focused on eating a healthy diet, sleeping better and was able to exercise doing CrossFit, something I truly enjoyed thanks to the supplements I was taking. At 50, I am amazed to say it, I feel more fit than I did when I was in my late 20’s and 30’s—like I’m 35 again.

I try to exercise 5 times a week and I feel more fit with each passing year. Father time seems to have given me a break, leading me to believe I am doing something right. My advice in finding your fitness is to consider these four points:

4 considerations to find your fitness

  1. What is your end goal — why do you want to be fit? What do you want to be able to do? What level of fitness do you want to reach? Is it to play sports? Is it playing with the kids? Is it for overall health reasons? Is it to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without becoming winded?
  2. Find the activity you love — ask yourself what motivates you. For me, it’s definitely the accomplishment I feel doing CrossFit even on a freezing February morning at 6:30am when hardly anyone is around. This feeling pushes me to spend an hour doing an unbelievably hard workout. For you it might be walking or jogging 3 miles a day, martial arts, or swimming. Find what you love, and fitness will follow.
  3. Supporting factors — focus on the key helpers on your road to fitness - good nutrition, quality sleep, mindfulness, and the right supplements.
  4. Have fun and celebrate — sore muscles are less sore with the positivity you feel when you accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Love what you do, share it with friends and family and encourage others to join you.

Everyone is different. For me, fitness will always be related to my early life as an athlete, but we each have different interests, goals, pain thresholds and very different schedules. Only you can decide what is fitness for you. Don’t let yourself be shamed or influenced by others who may have very different motivations. Let your personal goals guide you on your path to fitness.