Her weekly magazine column is ending, but Tsong plans to keep working out and wants you to, too.
I have finally run out of ideas.
And, I am here to say goodbye. After six-plus years of sharing my love of active movement, nutrition, recovery and wellness, this is my last “Fit for Life” story. It’s time for me to move on to new ventures in writing and entrepreneurship, and it’s time for Pacific NW magazine to share new voices and perspectives.
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This column was the goal I never knew I had. I left a staff reporting job with The Seattle Times in 2011 to teach yoga. In 2012, Kathy Andrisevic, then the editor of the magazine, asked whether I was interested in writing a regular fitness column.
Fitness? Me? I was a yoga teacher.
I also was a writer, and I had missed writing since leaving the newspaper. This column was the intersection of my passions and skill sets, and a next-level challenge — I had never written a regular column before.
We decided I would try different fitness trends around the city and share my experiences; my first “Fit for Life” column ran in May 2012.
Back then, I had never tried CrossFit, I didn’t know climbing 150-foot trees in Deception Pass State Park was even possible and I didn’t know I would fall in love with circus arts. My hope was simple: have enough ideas to last a year. (Side note: If you’ve wondered how I have come up with so many ideas over the years, my attitude has been I can always come up with a few more. Fortunately, it always came true.)
Since then, I have tried around 300 classes in the Seattle area, focusing initially on movement before sprinkling in nutrition, recovery and some fun interviews.
My understanding of movement, the body, and health and wellness has increased in directions and dimensions I couldn’t have predicted.
Now I know:
• Your brain needs your body to move. Moving literally fuels your brain, and like your body with food, your brain needs movement to function well. Move every day.
• Walking is fundamental to being human. Park farther away, take transit, have walking meetings. Walk more.
• Movement is fun. If movement feels like a chore, you’re not doing the right kind for you. Find something else. There are endless choices out there. (Search the “Fit for Life” archives if you must.)
• When injured, get help. Stat. Immediately. ASAP. The longer you wait, the harder it is to heal. Go to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, physical therapist, etc. They know more than you about how your body works and how to get it functioning well.
• What you eat affects how you feel, period. I’m not perfect, and I know that doing simple things like eating whole foods and cutting alcohol, sugar and processed carbs makes a huge difference.
“Fit for Life” also reshaped my understanding of myself. When I started, I was nervous for every class, both my ability to learn the skill and questioning whether I was strong enough for whatever I was taking on. While those nerves didn’t disappear, I also learned that intro classes are amazing; teachers know more than you, so pay attention to what they are saying; and muscle memory is a miracle. Give a new movement at least a month before you decide it’s not for you.
I also know on a deeper level my body is capable of so much. It is strong, it can learn new skills, I can trust it. When I treat it well, and move in lots of ways, I can keep up with my life, including my kids and my dog. Taking care of my body and my health makes me a happier person.
The column is over, and I will keep moving. I will do yoga and Olympic lifting, because I love both, and I will try new things. I am excited to return to activities I didn’t have time to do twice — circus is high on the list, along with the bungee-cord workout, and more dance classes.
I also will keep writing. I am thrilled to share that I am writing a book that brings this column to life for you. Tentatively titled “24 Ways to Move More,” you will get the best of this column, with two new movements to take on every month for one year, and guidance along the way. My book, from Mountaineers Books, is scheduled for fall 2020. Come hang out. We’ll do it all over again.
I also want to say thank you. I loved hearing from you when you tried something new, or reached out to share about beloved studios or activities, or felt connected to something I wrote. I hope this column has made an impact on your life, either motivating you to try something new or opening your eyes to the hundreds of ways you can move your body. I am so grateful to you for keeping me company through my many adventures. Thank you to the editors at The Seattle Times for believing in me and this column.
Stay in touch! Follow me on Instagram @nicoletsong, where I share about movement, energy and mindset; visit my website at nicoletsong.com; or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column might be done, but movement is forever. Keep moving, Seattle.