I was at the pool the other day with a friend. We were having a leisurely swim up and down the lane and stopping to have a bit of a chat at the end every so often.


While I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, the two guys in the lane next to us prompted a discussion.


Bloke One, the more elegant of the two swimmers, was giving Bloke Two tips on how to better his stroke. Bloke Two is a bit of a thrashy swimmer, but still gets where he needs to go. He kept saying he couldn’t swim and much preferred to run.


It got us talking about what “I can’t do this” means. In Bloke Two’s case, he could definitely swim but his can’t was code for “I can’t do it as good as you”. Or perhaps it also meant “I don’t know how to do it as good as you or as good as I want to be able to do it.” Maybe it was just a nice way of trying to tell his friend he hates swimming. Either way, it seems to deflate him.


To me there were two options for this guy – take some lessons and drill some strong techniques to help him swim better (which may or may not make him like swimming any better) OR simply revel in the way he could genuinely swim knowing that at that moment in time, that was his best.


Another woman joined our lane and said she’d taken swimming lessons to learn better technique but in the end took what she’d learnt and headed off into the pool alone to just swim. Why? Because for her, the lessons had taken the joy out of swimming and she wanted to reclaim how much she enjoyed just swimming.


So what if exercise and working out simply is a chance to be in joy and do the best job you can, at the pace and (correct) style you can manage? Sure, there’s the opportunity to push yourself, but spare a thought for how much your body and soul gains by doing something which really makes your heart sing.


Yeah, I’m the person in the lane next to you with an idiot grin on her face as I chase the black line.


Ps: and I’m still slow!


(Sometimes Sarah is a Perth gal with a weight loss goal of over 60 kg who’ll be sharing the good, the bad and the sometimes painful on her own weight loss and fitness journey.)