Fitness. You hear the word thrown around all the time. Magazine headlines promise miraculous exercise regimes. Advertisements dangle tempting clothing, gear and hot bodies as motivation to finally start working out. Cookbooks promote recipes to give you that six-pack without even heading to the gym. Other words like “wellness” and “health” are used almost interchangeably.

For me, fitness isn’t a tyrannical diet or a maniacal workout plan. It is knowing, challenging and nourishing your mind, body and soul. It’s about balance. I like fruit. I also like frosting. Wellness isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” concept or a certain body type. What do these words really mean, and what do they mean to you?

Aziz Saqr (NHS ’16) said, “If I’m eating healthy and staying consistent with my workouts, then I would consider myself fit.” Ava Arroyo (SFS ’16) added, “When I think of the word ‘fit’ I automatically think of someone who is healthy and strong for their own body!”

Ryan Greene (COL ’16) also sees fitness holistically. “Fitness is living in a way that leaves you feeling happy with your physical well-being. Fitness isn’t about looking a certain way; it’s about maintaining a certain lifestyle that makes you feel comfortable with who you are,” he said. Certain members of the student population with attractive physiques were also mentioned as examples; you can wonder to yourself who they may be.

Balance is one of the most important aspects in my version of fitness. I’m eating a chocolate chip cookie and drinking a chai tea latte as I write this piece. Some might see this as unhealthy, but for me, it’s the opposite: a reward for running six miles this morning and a calming influence as I struggle through the Sunday afternoon workload. I don’t feel guilty about it and you shouldn’t either! You have to know when to be kind to your body and mind to be fit.

My twin brother Kellen is fit, but not in the conventional sense of the word. I always tease him for being skinny because he never “works out.” He wants nothing to do with interval training or weight lifting after four years of cross-country and a season rowing crew. He looks at me like I’m crazy if I suggest we should be workout buddies, and he makes fun of me whenever I mention hot yoga. He also eats copious amounts of ice cream, but that’s a whole other story.

How can he be one of the strongest guys I know? Kellen bombs down powder-filled tree glades and jumps off cliffs; I follow and then complain about my burning legs. He walks on a slackline backwards and forwards with ease; I’m ecstatic to take more than a couple steps. I’m amazed at how he can tirelessly walk for miles whenever we go hiking or camping together while I’m panting and adjusting my heavy pack every mile. All of this without a single “workout.” Kellen stays fit by doing the things he loves. I’ve deemed him “fit for life.”

When it comes down to it, we should all strive to be fit for life. Not someone else’s life, not the “ideal” life, but your life, … whatever that may be. If you never set foot in Yates but you bike everywhere, that’s great for you — and even better for the environment. If you want to go to the gym and pump iron for those impeccable biceps, I will applaud you — and probably check you out. Run a marathon, walk to CVS, be a vegetarian, eat bacon — just bacon — for breakfast, practice yoga, learn how to unicycle. The opportunities are endless. Do whatever makes you feel happy with your body and your mind. That’s what fitness really is.

Kylie Mohr is a sophomore in the College. HEALTHY HOYA appears every other Friday in the guide.

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