5 Reasons Your Mom Is My Fitness Hero

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You Go MOM!

5 Reasons Your Mom Is My Fitness Hero

I have a fitness hero, but it’s not who you might think it is. It’s not Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jillian Michaels, or even Tim Ferris. No, it’s not anyone who’s ever been on TV or won a sport championship.

In fact, my fitness hero isn’t even someone who coached me in high school or even who played sports growing up. They’re not a Para Olympian, or someone who lost 300 lbs.

I think all of those people are really noble, wonderful, and inspiring. But the person who is my fitness hero is someone that you’ve never heard about unless you read my blog. My fitness hero is your mom.

But not just your mom, but my mom too and many other people like my girlfriend Jane, my friend Katie and many other people I call the Un-athlete.

The Un-athlete

Let’s just take my girlfriend as an example of the un-athlete. She didn’t do sports growing up. She doesn’t run a sub-20 min 5k. And she might not ever place in her age group. She exercises and competes because she enjoys it and it helps her be a better person.

Even though she may never host weight loss reality TV show. It’s her and other un-athletes like her that give me the greatest inspiration, because their struggle is what transformation through movement is all about.

Five Ways Un-Athletes Inspire Me


I love watching the Olympics and being in aw of what humans are capable of doing. And I think people who overcome adversity are super inspiring. But there is one thing those people often have that un-athletes never get. And that is glory.

Most people will never know that your mom or my mom ran a marathon. But that doesn’t matter to un-athletes, because they knows they ran it.

The un-athlete will never get their picture on the cover of the runners’ world or men’s health. But they are better for it, because their drive to move comes from a very authentic place.

It’s the absence of glory that makes un-athletes so admirable. Despite all the hype from media about pro sports being about the game, for the un-athlete there is never any doubt.

They are the heart of every game and every race. They embody our beautifully ordinary desire to rise above our own limitations. Whether they are greeted by flash bulbs or not.

2. Challenge

In the world of fitness, we tend to praise those who overcome great challenges. Shows like the biggest loser and extreme makeover dramatize the struggle of people to change their lives.

I think those struggles are inspiring, but those shows leave something out. They leave out the mundane and simple challenges most of us face in our quest to stay healthy.
But the un-athlete embodies those challenges in everything they do.

I watched my girlfriend head out weekend after weekend on long runs that she sometimes didn’t want to do. I watched her prioritize her training over other commitments. I watched her and others like her keep going at mile 20 of the marathon running on sheer intention alone.

To me that’s inspiring. I love running and I got a little tired of long runs, but I never wanted to stop. I can’t even imagine having to train like that when I was just effing sick of it.

But it’s the small challenges and overcoming them, that the un-athletes my hero. The mom finds time to run and take care of her kids. The grandmother goes to yoga to maintain her flexibility so she can keep gardening. These are the people that help me remember what exercise is all about.

3. Simplicity

The world of fitness is vast and complicated. It seems like every trainer and every gym has there own philosophy and approach. There’s compressive clothing, dietary supplements, and pacing strategies. Of course, all these things have their place.

But what I love about the un-athletes is the simplicity with which they approach exercise. It’s not about volume training, or fartleks, or WOD’s. It’s about getting out and moving their bodies.

They don’t need complex training plans. They just need enough structure and knowledge to make sure they don’t hurt themselves. My mom’s exercise plan is to walk for 30 mins a day with my dad. Sure, she’s not one of those ripped grannies, but she stays active and enjoys it.

That kind of simplicity demands a level of awareness that many fitness professionals have lost. Charts and plans have their place, but an un-athletes relies heavily on their ability to notice and adjust. And by watching them, I am reminded that no matter what the current fitness trend is, the best approach is usually the simplest one.

4. Perseverance

It’s easy to watch the cross fit games think that’s what fitness is all about pushing yourself to the limit. And yes, there is something to be said for pushing. But the un-athlete has something great then pure drive. They have perseverance.

Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. And the un-athlete has perseverance out the wazoo.

All those folks you see on the cross-fit games may have to work hard to be the best at the games, but they are usually top dog at their local gyms, boxes, and towns.

True perseverance comes from working hard even when you’re not the best, even in your group of friends.

I’ve watched my girlfriend play ultimate Frisbee and work really hard to catch and throw the disc with ease. What inspires me is that she keeps trying even though many of the people we play with are much better.

Whenever I watch her, I wonder if I would keep playing if I struggled that much. If I weren’t naturally athletic would I love movement as much as I do?

But the un-athlete keeps playing even if they are in the bottom half. They keep running even if the crowds are waning when they finish. They persevere to achieve a victory that is subtle and quiet.

5. For the Joy

I saw this commercial recently where a pro basketball player asks, “If you took away the money, the fame, the spotlight, the lifestyle, and all the things that come with it. If you took away all the flash, what would you have left?”

And he replies, “Everything.” But I wonder if that’s true.


I have no doubt that people who are pro athletes must love sports. And I’m sure that Jillian Michaels loves her job, but it’s hard to know what would happen if you took it all away.

But with un-athletes, it’s already stripped away. And all that is left is the pure simple joy of movement.

The same joy you see when kids run and play. The same joy on a parents face when their child takes their first steps. The same simple and abiding ordinary joy that is so easy to take for granted.

That’s the joy I see in my mom, my girlfriend, and many of my clients. It’s the joy I feel when I let go of ambition and strategy.

The joy that mindful fitness works to create.

That’s why the un-athlete is my hero. Because they embody the presence of anyone who moves to experience their lives more deeply. Because they express a joy, I can only hope to feel and share for the rest of my life.

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Interview with Lori Deschene: Founder of TinyBuddha.com

Lori Deschene Founder of TinyBuddha
This week I was lucky enough to interview a person I admire greatly, the founder of TinyBuddha.com Lori Deschene.

Her blog  and Twitter feed inspires thousands of people around the world. She shares simple wisdom in the form of quotes, writings, and books. She also shares amazing content from many inspiring writers and seekers.

Before Lori published my posts on TinyBuddha.com I was a small blogger with just a few dozen readers. Because of her help my blog has gotten thousands of views and has hundreds of subscribers.

I want to take this chance to thank her for the community she has built, the opportunity she has given me, and the inspiring example she is setting with TinyBuddha.com

If you don’t know about her or her blog please go over and check it out. I know you won’t be disappointed.

She was nice enough to take the time to answer a few questions for this humble blog. I hope you all enjoy her answers as much as I did.

1. A big thing about Tiny Buddha is sharing inspiring quotes. Have these sayings given your strength through difficult times? 

Absolutely! There’s one quote that’s impacted me more than any other: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

This is one I found during one of the lowest times of my life, when I was living an isolated existence in a low-income dorm-style Manhattan building. I had no money, no friends, no self-respect, and, I thought, no hope.

But this quote changed my perspective. I formerly thought my circumstances defined me, but suddenly I considered that maybe I wasn’t the sum of my mistakes; maybe I could be the strength I found to learn from them and move beyond them.

This particular experience happened a few years before I started tinybuddha.com, but I continue to use this as a personal mantra. And I always reflect on the daily quote—which makes sense given that I often choose them based on what I’m dealing with at a given time!

2. Who is the most quotable person in your life?
Interesting question! I’d have to say my boyfriend. He’s someone I turn to for guidance and support because he’s insightful and wise beyond his years. That’s something that drew me to him initially.

He embodies all the qualities I aspire to possess: he has a sense of childlike wonder and presence; he sees the best in people and gives them the benefit of the doubt; and he knows that gratitude is the key to happiness.

3. What exciting projects are you working on right now? When can we expect to see them come online?
I’m working on a few exciting things right now! Sometime within the next few weeks, I plan to launch a new, responsive design and forums. I’m in the initial phases of building a Tiny Buddha iPhone app, which I hope to launch in a few months.

I’m planning a second site with my first ever eCourse (in partnership with my boyfriend, actually), which should be up by June or July. And I’m also preparing to launch my second book, Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Self-Love, this fall.

4. Do you think that using others quotes limits creativity or does it support the creative process? And why?
That’s an interesting question. I never really thought about whether it limits creativity, but I suppose it could for some.

I wanted to run the blog this way, having all posts start with a quote, because the site came after the Twitter account, which was a quote feed.

I wondered how many of us actually applied those daily thoughts to our lives; and I hoped that by encouraging people to share stories related to the quotes, it would inspire us to focus more on doing that.

Especially now that we have so much information at our fingertips, it’s tempting to consume ideas without really reflecting on them and doing something with them.

Requiring people to write with quotes in mind may limit the experience of writing, but I hope it enhances the experience of living!

5. What is your experience with mindfulness and exercise practice? Have either or both taught you any valuable lessons?
Both have taught me valuable lessons. Mindfulness has taught me that I truly can “start over” at any time. I don’t need to carry the weight of who or where I’ve been—every moment can be a fresh start if I’m willing to let it be.

Exercise is something I’ve learned a lot from, but I’m not currently applying those lessons very well! Since I moved out of my apartment a month back, I’ve been hopping around and I haven’t stuck to a routine. However, I know that I am happier and more balanced when I prioritize exercise.

It’s not just about my body—something I thought years ago. It’s about my overall well-being. It’s a big part of being good to myself, and it affects my ability to be good for others.

6. How do people transform their lives?
There are lots of ways—but I suggest starting by changing your thoughts. If we can take responsibility for ourselves without blaming ourselves, and challenge the beliefs that keep us stuck, we’re in good shape to start creating real change. Beyond that, I suggest focusing on the tiny things. It’s less overwhelming, therefore easier to maintain consistency, and, the small things all add up!

Thanks again Lori for taking the time to answer these questions. If you don’t know about Lori please check out her blog and twitter feed.

Posts I’ve written for TinyBuddha
3 Mar When You Feel Terrified: Come Out of the Panic Zone

12 Dec 5 Powerful Things to Do for Yourself When You’re Sick

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a community blog that features stories and insights from readers all over the globe. Since it launched in 2009, Tiny Buddha has grown into one of the most popular inspirational sites on the web, with more than 1 million social media friends. Lori runs the site as a group effort because she believes we all have something to teach and something to learn. She is the author of Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions and the Tiny Wisdom eBooks series.