Updated: Jan 27
Written By: Hedi Shah
It was a summer morning.
I opened my eyes and gently moved my neck from side to side - something I have gotten used to since my car accident to check the intensity of my neck tension and shoulder pain.
To my surprise, there was no pain but instead, the ease of movement.
I felt energized and ready to get out of bed for the first time in a few years.
I felt so hopeful - thinking to myself, I finally found something that works.
Unlike other treatments, it's not a quick fix that goes away in a few days.
It is here to stay!
The lessons from my recovery journey were life-changing and transformed how I work with clients today.
And they lit a burning fire inside of me, a fire of sacred responsibility to become an advocate for redefining what we know as fitness today. This is how you can join me:
Stop feeding into the narrative of "no pain, no gain."
Unsubscribe right away! This notion encourages you to push through rather than tune in, which silences the gentle but essential cues from your body that are meant to support you. Also, this narrative overlooks your nervous system capacity. I often see people lack the freedom in their body to do their day-to-day activities effortlessly; however, fitness culture insists on pushing through that 100 reps of squats, 10-min plank hold, the 30 reps of half-ass pushups, etc.
Build the foundation. It leads to sustainable strength.
Fitness culture puts too much emphasis on strength and not enough on the foundation the strength is built on. Let me ask you this: would you live in a nice house if you knew no foundation was underneath it? Perhaps not. For example, pushing through knee pain while squatting won't make your knee or you stronger, but addressing the root cause will.
Stretching is NOT the only answer to stiffness. You feel stiff for a good reason - your body and nervous system believe you are not safe to go further, and that's why you get some release after a stretch, but it generally comes back after a few hours. That's why in my world, we prioritize neuromuscular control i.e., intrinsic control and strength.
Go back to the basics.
Fitness celebrities show us these cool-looking exercises, quick fixes, and torturous weight loss diets as if the cooler they look, the better they are. The truth differs. They often lose their original value, intent, and purpose. Stick with the basics - a good night's sleep, high-quality foods, and basic human movements.
There is an answer for you; no matter how much you tell yourself you've tried everything, I guarantee there is a unique solution waiting for you. Keep going. Believe in your body's magical power to heal and thrive. If this belief is far out of reach for you today, borrow mine, and let it plant a tiny seed of faith inside you.
If you are going through a rough patch in your fitness journey or constantly experiencing setbacks, and you feel all the typical fitness advice you are getting is not working for you—trust me, you are not alone.
Here is your invitation to step back and tune in to your body’s needs rather than pushing through. Please keep it simple, prioritize the foundational groundwork, and show up for yourself because YOU matter.
Stay mov〰ful, my friend!
Meet the Author
Movement + Mindfulness Teacher | Joint Mobility + Spine Health Specialist | Trauma-Informed CPT + Strength Coach | Corporate + SME Wellbeing Provider | Magic Seeker