Wellbeing

Making ‘Healthy’ Normal: Finding Your Own Path To Fitness

Inspired by NSW Health Make Healthy Normal

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that fitness and health equal green juice detoxes, interval training and mesh inserts in your activewear – but making ‘healthy’ a normal part of your life means finding what resonates for you and your body. We speak to two people who show us that finding your own path to fitness can be creative – and way more fun than the treadmill.

There’s so much hope in a new fitness plan, isn’t there? A pure, almost religious conviction. All that swearing to yourself that this is the week: you’ll begin your Monday with activated almonds and a run on the beach and the rest of the week will magically play out like an Instagram blogger: clean, serene, pristine. The rest of this equation is, of course, that the larger the enthusiasms and the more public the convictions, the further you have to fall when these beautiful dreams are murdered by carbs, Netfilx and real life.

This inconsistency when it comes to maintaining a meaningful relationship with health (and reaping the super attractive rewards that come with it) is exactly the futility the diet and fad-fitness industries prey on. The only thing that will give you this vision of balance is actual balance; the only health trick that ever works long term is no trick at all. Isn’t that just totally, completely unfair?

So we’ve done exactly what you’re doing now: looking to people who may have figured it out. No food-blogging yoga gurus. No ex-model nutritionists. Just real people who found a creative, balanced dedication to fitness down their own path.

Can you really be fit on your own terms?

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Mikey Mendoza was a pre-teen when he taught himself to skate, and grew into advocating alternative health avenues for young people that don’t particularly identify with the reps/leg curls/juice diet/gym membership lifestyle. He’s now a professional skateboarder.

It’s his primary mode of transport, as well as the reason and way he stays fit. “I think it’s so valuable and important that we collectively start thinking differently about fitness. That people don’t see things like skating as a valid act of fitness
is crazy,” he says. “The core, leg, aerobic and strength training alone is phenomenal.”

“We need to let kids, teenagers and adults know that just because you maybe don’t feel right in the gym, or enjoy traditional sports, that you can still be fit.”

Mendoza explains the run-on effect of the lifestyle: “being physical makes you want to eat right, too. Once you make an effort in one area of your health, it’s only natural you’re going to want to take care of the rest of it.”

You can be creative with your fitness, too

We also spoke with Madeline Russell, another person who built creative fitness into her everyday. Maddy began hooping as a way to stay fit (and sane) while she was in uni and now performs at music festivals as an impressive sideline.

We spent the day with her, and wound up developing a serious lifestyle crush on her. But Maddy’s is a story better watched than read: