Improve your overall fitness with these 4 key elements!

When we hear the word ‘fitness’ we automatically think of gyms, barbells, sweating and struggling, but that’s not the whole story – or possibly not even any of it!

At 3Wave, we see fitness as a holistic thing. No, we’re not suggesting that you should carry a barbell with you everywhere you go (that could get really dangerous on a skytrain…)- we’re suggesting that fitness is so much more than your workouts. 

We believe that movement is crucial in taking care of the body, and that adequate nutrition is important to help your body feel and perform at its best. But here’s some other stuff we think is pretty darn vital:

Healthy interpersonal relationships and social activities

  • Life gets tough sometimes, and if you’re trying to get through it on your own, it’s hard to just get through your minimum required tasks for the day, let alone a workout (even if it’s a quick one like this). Add in the unconditional love and support of friends or family members in your inner circle, and those tough times are a little easier to get through. Find the people who are going to lift you up and do whatever they can to help you achieve your goals and enjoy life while you’re doing it. 
  • Positive face-to-face time with people you like boosts endorphins! This article references a study done at Oxford University where higher social activity was linked to higher pain tolerance due to endorphin activity: 
    • One theory, known as ‘the brain opioid theory of social attachment’, is that social interactions trigger positive emotions when endorphin binds to opioid receptors in the brain. This gives us that feel-good factor that we get from seeing our friends.
  • Since exercise and social activities boost our endorphins, wouldn’t it make sense to make time for both? Or better yet, how about combining the two, and instead of meeting a friend for a coffee or a drink, why not make plans to meet them at a local trail or challenge them to a game of laser tag? Yeah, we went there. We think you should go play laser tag. 

Mental Health

  • Your exercise routine should support and accommodate your mental health, because that is absolutely part of your overall fitness.   
  • If the thought of going to a gym and navigating the space and equipment in front of a bunch of sweaty strangers gives you anxiety, don’t do it! 
    • Your exercise routine doesn’t have to look a certain way, and it doesn’t even have to happen in a gym. Strength training is very important for the mind body (read about that here!) so we do want to encourage you to do it, but you should be able to do it in a way that doesn’t induce stress or anxiety. There are lots of ways to exercise in the privacy of your home or another safe space you like instead, like with our online monthly FitSchool programs or the multitude of other online workout resources. (PS if FitSchool isn’t your jam, this is another online coach we think is pretty cool)
  • If your workouts leave you feeling stressed, self-conscious or inadequate afterward, how is that helping you feel fit? A workout can challenge you without making you feel lesser than or like you don’t belong. Find a community that welcomes you and creates space for all your needs, mental, physical and otherwise. 
  • Try to make room for your thoughts and feelings before, during and after exercise. If you’re having a tough mental health day, heavy lifting might not feel right. You might prefer to get outside and go for a walk, talk with a friend (over a friendly game of laser tag perhaps) or do a yoga class. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a workout, and you’re noticing an exercise feels harder than usual. Take a moment to check in with yourself – how are you feeling? What’s on your mind? This could signal that it’s time to lighten your load and do something a bit gentler, or you might tap into that feeling and use it to fuel your next set. The bottom line is that your exercise routine should serve both your mind and body!

Sleep

  • The human body is a magical, magnificent thing because of SLEEP. All the incredible, wondrous things we’re capable of happen because we SLEEP. Seriously. You learn something awesome in school one day, then you go home and sleep and entrench it into the miraculous folds of your brain so that it becomes knowledge. You hit a personal best on your plank or deadlift, then you go home and sleep and your muscles repair damage from the day (like your workout) so they can get even stronger.
  • Sleep also bolsters your immune system so you can keep living your life doing all your favourite fitness things each day. 

Joy

  • You deserve to be happy, and there’s no reason for any part of your fitness routine not to make you happy. 
  • If you absolutely loathe a certain type of exercise, see if you can find a version of it that you actually like and if not, swap it for some exercise you do like. Get creative and break the mold of what you think exercise should look like, because it SHOULD look different for everyone. Just because strength training is good for you, doesn’t mean you need to squat, bench press and deadlift every week. 
  • Figure out what types of exercise and movement you LOVE and prioritize those in your schedule. 
  • Because if you like something, you’re more likely to stay motivated and consistent. Who wants to keep doing something they hate? 

If fitness feels like a 4-letter word to you, then F*CK IT. Make fitness your own and get fit on your terms!

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