Holistic Fitness: It’s Not Just Sweat and Weights

I read lots of fitness information, studies, the latest workouts, journal reviews, and so on. I find it rare that people talk about fitness in terms of integrating it into a lifestyle. We are often just looking at evaluating one small piece of a much bigger pie.

I had the opportunity to go to a hiking retreat recently and they looked at the big picture. They wanted us to move, lose weight, and eat healthily, but they also wanted us to address other things such as sleep, stress, spirituality, and community.

Coming back on the plane I felt so, well, balanced. I got it! For a shimmering moment in time the whole concept of wellness was distilled for me. I was going to meditate more, work out with friends, be in bed early, ditch the laptop in the evenings … it was going to be amazing!

The reality is I walked back into a dirty house, an impending dinner party, a family who missed me and wanted me back, and a 56-item to do list for work. Balance? What’s that?

A week later I’m realizing I have to pick a couple of things at a time. I need to get my exercise in, but my downtime too. I need to eat healthfully but I can squeeze in girlfriend time over lunch or a workout. The 56-item to do list got delegated and executed down to 30 or so (still scary), and meditation is haphazard but a work in progress.

A lot of people treat fitness as a short-term fix. If they can just work hard for the next X weeks, they’ll have the body they want and go back to their lives again. It just doesn’t work that way.

If you need to put your life on hold to lose a few pounds you’re doing it wrong and you’re destined to fail.

Instead, look at the big picture, see what you’d like to add into it, and try to slide it in gracefully. You’ll be much more likely to make and keep the change. You might even inspire somebody else to change, too.

What new holistic fitness thing would you like to bring into your life? Do you have a plan to do it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson runs her own successful fitness blog at Lisa Johnson Fitness and is frequently seen hanging around Twitter @LisaJohnson. She also runs a few Pilates studios, Modern Pilates Boston.


  1. So true! I love the “lifestyle” aspect of the journey. It’s more than getting X minutes in at the gym – but rather integrating activity (and fun) into our life, honoring the food we fuel ourselves with, spending time with people who fuel our soul, and matching our time/commitments with our values.
    Thanks Lisa!

    • I couldn’t have said it better, Kris. Health is well-rounded. And the more we understand our behaviors and actions honor (or dishonor) us as a complete human being, the more likely we are to create a life that strives for balance, passion, fun, and fulfillment.

  2. @Kris

    We have the same opinion. It’s not always going to the gym and pressure yourself lifting heavy weights. It’s just there are things that are very much helpful like eating right and enough rest, simple and easy things to do to achieve a physically fit body.

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