HEY FAM! I’VE BEEN BLESSED TO BE ON THIS EARTH FOR 25 YEARS, BUT IT WASN’T UNTIL THE LAST COUPLE WHERE I STARTED TO CHASE MY CURIOSITY. I STARTED TO SEEK QUESTIONS IN MY HEALTH, EGO, PURPOSE, LIFESTYLE, SUSTAINABILITY, SPIRITUALITY AND SO MUCH MORE. MY CURIOSITY HAS PUSHED ME TO DISCOMFORT AND OVER THESE LAST COUPLE YEARS I’VE COME TO NEW AMAZING REVELATIONS AND UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT THIS BEAUTIFUL GAME OF LIFE. THE SOUL SEARCHING HAS RAISED MY AWARENESS AND I BECAME MUCH MORE INTENTIONAL. AND IT IS MY INTENTION TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL MY NEW AND EVER EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES. SO STRAP UP, AND LET’S GO FOR A RIDE.
“Boats are safe in harbor. But that’s not what boats were made to do”
This quote can be used for many analogies, but today, I’m going to use it to emphasize the importance of movement and exercise.
Yes, we can play it safe and honor our comfy, familiar feelings. But is that what our bodies were meant for?
I’ve been fascinated with guru’s and enlightenment, and they’ve reached such heightened states where they just leave their bodies. There’s a lot of beauty in that. But I believe we are souls living a human experience. A physical experience.
Our bodies are our ONLY vessel to live out this beautiful, physical human experience. It’s important to treat them with love. And one lovey dovey way is through movement.
I grew up with sports and athletics as probably the main source of my identity. I was always playing or practicing in some physical way. I exercised to get faster, stronger, and of course prep for Beach Szn !!
My intention was to improve my physical body and be the best I could be on the court or field.
Then things shifted.
I went from playing competitive sports daily, to playing sports once in a while, to playing sports rarely.
But I never stopped exercising because I noticed when I didn’t…I felt off. I’ve been doing this movement stuff for so long, when I stopped, I got drowsy. I didn’t feel like me…why?
I started to play around with the time of day I exercised. Then, I experimented some days with it, and others without it.
I noticed that when I exercised in the morning, that energized me for the rest of the day. The days I didn’t, I felt like a zombie perusing through this circus of life. It begged me to ask the question.
WHY is moving so important??
Back in the day, I remember playing 7 basketball games on the weekends, then coming home and being physically drained like never before. I was familiar with what physical fatigue felt like. It made sense to me.
Then, I started to notice another kind of fatigue. I would spend hours lying on the couch, watching movie after movie or binging some incredibly gripping show. Throughout, and at the end of that experience, I almost physically could not move. I remember questioning this sensation because I thought we only got tired when we overworked our bodies, but here, I wasn’t moving my body at all and I was even more tired than when I exerted my body.
I started to learn that at the smallest subatomic level we are 99.999999% empty space. Making us 0.0000001% matter. Essentially, we are these energetic, vibrating beings. There’s got to be a correlation with our energy levels and movement, right? Static vs. Dynamic.
I’ve physically felt the benefits of being dynamic, but I didn’t understand why it made me feel so much better.
In Nicole LePera’s book, How To Do The Work, she says, “Physical exercise deepens sleep and improves mood by releasing neurochemicals in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which all make you feel happier and less stressed. In general, cardiovascular exercise, which increases oxygen and blood circulation all over the body, creates measurable changes in the brain, increasing the size and health of the organ while stimulating new neuronal pathways and strengthening existing ones (100). Booyah, baby!
Shawn Stevenson also says in his book, Sleep Smarter, that exercise “radically increases the assimilation of nutrients and, more important, aids in the elimination of metabolic wastes, moving your lymphatic system, and pushing toxic waste out of your body”(xix). Pretty incredible, right?
When we feel down, it’s so easy to reach for the remote, or the bottle, or even a book.
Trust me, I know that state.
And it’s damn hard to feel inspired to push and move the body when it’s in that familiar, comfy state.
One great, simple way to get started, is to stretch.
I grew up playing sports and we always HAD to stretch, but we never wanted to. We were so eager to jump right into practice or game mode. It seemed like a waste of time. Truthfully, we didn’t appreciate the incredible benefits of what stretching does for our bodies.
I remember in middle school gym class we’d compete for the Fitness Award. All around fitnes, including flexibility. We would all crush the physical parts of the test, but when it came to flexibility, man we were as tight as the tin man.
Stretching is mostly talked about with athletes. It’s important to warm the body before immediately jumping into action. That’s when the injuries occur. Very similar to a singer who warms up their vocal muscles before performing.
But stretching is something everyone can and should be doing.
Stretching helps loosen and strengthen our muscles. Daily stretching, especially in the lower back through forward folds and other stretches, can help improve posture, and good posture can domino into increasing confidence, opening breathing airways (which has more benefits we’ll talk about later) and more.
Stretching also helps reduce or manage stress. Tight muscles hold and take up a lot of energy. When we are able to alleviate that ball of tension in the muscles, it can help release stress in the body.
I started to stretch at least 5 minutes every single morning because I made the decision to love my body and, let me tell you, my body loved me back. It now moves the way I want it to move.
I know 5 minutes sounds like nothing, but after two weeks….a month….3 months. Man, it’s a beautiful thing how small acts compound over time, just like saving money.
There are so many forms of movement, such as weight lifting, running, walking, swimming, yoga, skating, surfing, qigong, seriously anything that gets your body moving and sweating.
Exercise is incredible, for the reasons stated before, but also because you learn a whole lot about yourself throughout the process.
If you’re lacking motivation to get started or follow through, then, first step, make the DECISION.
Set up a schedule and routine, find an accountability coach or buddy, and just get in the game.
Play around with different forms of movement.
And always, see how YOU feel. Sure, it may suck during, but how do you FEEL after? After you pushed your body past limits you didn’t think you could. After running outside in fresh air and soaking in the sun. After synchronizing your breath and your movements. It FEELS DAMN GOOD!
I can’t tell you how many times I wouldn’t want to do the workout. Then a buddy said, “Lark, c’mon let’s go brother”. I dragged myself off the couch and within 10 minutes of the workout I got that jolt of life. Afterwards, yeah I was a little tired from the workout, but I felt so much more awake.
Now, I know for some, this consistent working out might be a completely foreign experience. You’ve exercised one day, felt that pain the next, and that was it.
That pain the next day is proof that your body is going through a transformation. I know it’s uncomfortable and scary, but what if we shift the way we see the pain, and we stay consistent with our exercise routine of choice?
Can you see it??
That vibrant looking being looking back at you in the mirror??
Our bodies are AMAZING things. They are capable of incredible adaptation and growth. You don’t have to be a navy seal or Olympic athlete to start getting into a routine. And, the amazing thing is that YOU not only transform your body, but along the way, strengthen your MIND. The greatest example is a legend known as David Goggins.
If you don’t know who he is, search him on YouTube, and hear his story. He was 300 pounds, spraying cockroaches for a thousand bucks a month. A black man trying to become a navy seal when there were only ever 29 before him. And he struggled with an unreal amount of learning disabilities growing up.
Then he went to work.
He thought he was working on his body, but he found the real work being done was on his mind.
He is one of the world’s most inspiring, gritty, badass dudes in the business. He’s a physical specimen and yes, exercise is a key ingredient. But exercise wasn’t just for his body, it was for his mental growth. He is the ultimate pioneer of pushing past mental limitations and pushing the body to the extreme.
Physical exercise has so many amazing benefits for our bodies. But what it can do for the mind…I get goosebumps thinking about it.
How many times do we put ceilings on ourselves? Ceilings on our relationships, our potential, our ability to make money, following dreams? We so often put a cap on our capabilities, preventing us from even stepping into the ring.
Physical exercise is AMAZING practice to push past what we think we are capable of. It’s a way to physically track growth, to see how the mind stops us OR propels us to our goals…our dreams.
I used to think exercise was for one thing, whether it was to improve performance or to look good. Boy was I wrong.
It’s taught me so much more.
It’s taught me about discipline. Sticking to a routine. Pushing through those days when you feel like shit and would rather do anything else.
It’s taught me about pushing through the limitations when my mind or body doesn’t want to. Pushing through the pain and discomfort and coming out the other side. That feeling is worth a million bucks.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still times I surrender to the comfort and stay in bed or on the couch. It’s a major TUG and PULL battle with the mind. But when we move, when we make the DECISION to push through our comfort, we feel better. Every. Single. Time.
It’s connected me with some amazing people. Having accountability, lifting/workout buddies, creating connections at the gym. It’s a tribe. Everyone is working to strive for their best. And that is contagious, my friend.
It’s taught me the importance of failure. Will Smith says exercise and practice is controlled failure. We go until we fail because that is where the adaptation happens. Our bodies are sore the next day because they are ready to grow. Just like that caterpillar turning into a butterfly. This has helped me reframe the way I look at failure in all aspects of my life. We don’t win or lose, we win or we learn and we grow.
It’s taught me the importance of consistency. Use it or lose it, right? One season you might be lookin’ killer! Another, you might fall off. You stop working those muscles, and those muscles stop working for you. When it comes to so many aspects of life, CONSISTENCY is KEY.
It’s helped me with confidence. Hell YES I have gone into the gym and felt inferior. There are some disciplined, badass dudes and gals in these communities. In the beginning, I would carefully choose times when I thought no one was going to be there. I didn’t want to be looked down at or made fun of because I didn’t look like I wanted to or like other strong guys. Constantly going into something that makes you uncomfortable naturally builds confidence. And the thought of comparison to others and lowering my worth…Fuck that, my friend. If you’re in the gym, you are growing stronger than you were yesterday and THAT makes YOU a badass. It took me a while to get that.
It’s helped me with my ego. Once we start seeing the results we want, it’s easy to think we’re running the show. Showing off with how much weight we can push or pull. It’s easy to get so caught up in the physical that we lose sight of the journey. Also, if you think you’re a badass and go into a world where others are years ahead of you, BANG, that’s a major ego check. Comparison is deadly. We’re all on this journey on different timelines. Our experiences are not the same. Judgement is simply a reflection of our inner world. It’s not easy to overcome, but like I always say, awareness is the first step. If you find yourself judging, be proud that you identified it, then do the work to find the root of where that judgement is actually coming from. Trust me, this sucks but it’ll free your soul and feel damn good.
So yeah, that was a lot. There are so many benefits of moving that beautiful body of yours. Feel into it. Find your favorite types of movement. Try ALL different types. You never know what you might be sneaky naturally talented at 🙂
And if you stick with a consistent movement routine, not only will you look and feel like a badass, but you’ll learn A LOT about YOU throughout the process.