It is my belief that in order for any sort of workout program to stick there must be built in wiggle room within its structure to account for all of life’s beautiful surprises, like travel, family emergencies, work responsibilities, and sick days.

I believe in order for a fitness program to last, it’s vital to have a formal container which provides some degree of structure, while also having the ability to transform and morph.

When I feel into the energetics of a lasting fitness philosophy, I imagine a huge flock of starlings that from afar look like black clouds re-shaping and moving in unison; a unit made of thousands of individual birds moving as one.

You can relate each of the birds as an aspect of yourself, your personality, your life, your goals, your environment, your likes and dislikes, etc…each part makes up the whole which all work together, keeping the flock, and you, together.

To me this is a wonderful example of having structure while still being able to flow and change.

This is a beautiful expression of unity; a balancing of the masculine and the feminine, or the yin and the yang. 

Too much structure and not enough flow creates rigidity and from my experience can potentially lead to over-training, and anxiety if the structure doesn’t allow for changes in day to day life.

Too much flow and not enough structure can lead to confusion, a lack of direction and a general sense of wishy-washy-ness.

The key here is learning to dance and integrate the two. How can you create structure in your movement practice while still allowing for flow?

For me, structure means some sort of movement every day, even if it means doing a simple 5-minute stretch, walk, hike, strength training, or even a dance party in my living room.

Structure also means scheduled check-ins with a coach or trainer to help me with adjustments and tweaks to my movements.

The wiggle room for me is sticking to the bare necessities and not getting lost in the minutia, while also being gentle and forgiving of myself if I don’t meet goals of mine when I say I am.

Here in this collage I’m keeping it super simple, step ups, lunges, chest press, 1-leg deadlifts and rows.

A video posted by Sirena Bernal (@sirenabernal) on

I don’t really keep track of weight or reps. And I’m alright with that. This is another area where I give myself room to wiggle.

I just do what feels good and is also challenging, and, I go with my intuition when choosing exercises.

It’s simple and works for me and my life, and allows me structure while still giving me all the wiggle room I need to still feel free, and to be human.

How do I know it’s working for me?

Because it feels good and is manageable.

I don’t stress or worry about my body; and I don’t beat myself up or judge myself if my movement for the day is doing “The Whip” in my living room.

And it also gives me the room, if I decide to get very specific on goals (like doing an unassisted hand-stand) to dial up a little on the structure without clinging to it.

If I’m traveling and don’t have access to my studio, I can then adjust my flow and focus more on stretching, mobility, bodyweight exercises.

To me, this is how I create a lasting and do-able fitness program that doesn’t make you hate working out.

I would love to know your reflections on this topic, and I’m curious: how much room does your workout philosophy give you to err, to live, and to be human?

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