I just returned from a week of vacation at the beach. Stepping away from a routine, work, and a busy schedule always allows room for some reflection on how to make changes that will make me a better me. In some ways, I am not quick to change.

I love my routine and knowing what to expect. However, even before vacation this time around, my body and my mind had been talking to me. I knew it was time to adjust some things but I was resistant in giving these thoughts about change my full attention. Then I read an Instagram post from my dear friend and nutrition coach, Jamie Free, owner of 27 Health & Wellness. His post stated “Life tends to evolve. It’s up to us to evolve with it”. This was the reminder I needed to move forward.

I met with a client just yesterday that is struggling with this evolution like I am. She confided in me that she feels guilty for not doing the same amount of activity that she has been accustomed to all of her life. She has slowed her pace in her fitness and really wants to relax more, yet she can’t quite give herself permission to be ok with it.

This is how life is for all of us. At some point either our circumstances change, our motivation changes, or our desires simply change. When that happens, this is where the rubber meets the road and you have a choice to get stuck or move forward. It’s during this time of change in our lives when it’s important to take time to find your “why”.

What’s your true reason for your workouts in THIS season of your life? When we take a step back and determine what our “why” is at any given moment in our fitness journey, it helps us clarify the “how”.

My first fitness “why”, as it is for many of us, was about losing weight. Once I achieved that goal, my “why” changed to competition. My workouts, my nutrition, and my motivation were all goal centered on fitness competitions. Fast forward 8 years and my “why” is changing again.

My body is now asking me to back off the heavy weights and the jarring of my joints through running. This realization frightened me at first because heavy weights, and pushing my body hard, are all I have done since I started working out. I am beginning to accept, however, that I don’t need to do that the same way any longer. My “why” has evolved into my workouts being about longevity for my body.

My client’s “why” has changed as well. She, like me, has always kept a high pace of activity. Being a former model, her workout motivation has always been centered around her appearance. She still takes pride in that, but her real focus now is about enjoying a more laid-back pace in retirement and simply being healthy as she ages. She is finding it even more challenging to accept this evolution, however, because of pressure and expectation from others.

It’s very difficult not to feel guilty about some aspects of change when you are being questioned by those in your life about your new choices. When this happens, it’s helpful to remember that some of us tend to project our own insecurities and frustration onto others.

Typically, when you are receiving criticism like this, it’s really not about you. It’s about the person delivering the criticism. They are likely either uncomfortable with their own place in life and their own choices, or uncomfortable with change…no matter what or who is doing the changing. Just try to practice understanding and remind yourself that it’s no one else’s place to decide or judge what is right for you.

We all have reached or will reach forks in the road of our journey. Finding a new balance in our lives always begins with what is in our head. When you reach these places in fitness or even in other aspects of your life, determine what your “why” is and that will help you decide if you should go left or right. No matter what direction that is, always make the choice to move forward. Never stop taking care of yourself. Just let your “why” determine what self-care means for you along the way.




Vanessa Hampton, owner of Body Balance with V and Body Balance Massage & Wellness, is a personal trainer, yoga instructor, Fitness Coach, and CrossFit coach (CrossFit Cool Springs, Brentwood). Follow her on Facebook or Instagram @bodybalancewithv @bbmassageandwellness or email her at