Member Blog: What Health & Fitness Means to me – Anne-Marie Nelligan

What Health and Fitness means to me

“What does Health and Fitness mean to me?”

For most of my life, I have enjoyed being active and identify as a fitness enthusiast. While my reasons for being active and exercising have changed over time, I can’t really think of a time in my life when I didn’t value physical activity.

As a teenager and younger adult, I valued exercise as a way to improve sports performance and because I was a professional dancer I need to look a certain way. (Cardio bunny springs to mind here and not a weight was lifted) ????

I enjoyed being active and playing sports so exercise came naturally on support of my hobbies and job.

People tend to have an idea of what “fitness” looks like. All you have to do is scroll Instagram and there you have your “Fitness” influencer telling you this is what fitness looks like.

“Buy this magic pill”, “Drink this detox tea” or “train this way” for your quick fix “fit” body.

I’ll hold my hands up as O too was guilty of this. Thinking I have to have abs because that’s fitness right?


Eat this many calories+ Train this way = Then I’m fit.


I even went so far as to compete in bodybuilding Miss Bikini. Training 6/7 days a week, twice a day, strict nutrition, everything meticulously weighed and accounted for.

My whole life revolved around the gym and prepping for shows. Up at 5am, off to the gym to train. Then straight to work, back to the gym after work to train again. “Ooops, I’m shy of my 15 – 20,000 daily step target, better do a quick 5km walk” (often around 10om at night after my other commitments before bed).

Not to mention the expense, standing on stage to be judged by people, my so called peers. The months of gruelling training session after training session all came down to those few minutes on stage and for me to walk off stage and feel like a failure as I compared myself to all the other competitors, thinking “I’m not lean enough” (I was between 12%-14% body fat), “I need more muscle”, “I’m far too small”.

While I’m thinking “This is fitness”. Now don’t get me wrong. I decided to do this so I’m not looking for sympathy, in fact the opposite.

I did enjoy it, though it was physically and mentally draining. I admire bodybuilders who dedicate their life to this sport. And for a time, this was my idea of fitness.

“Remember, you get to decide what “fitness” looks like, feels like, and means to you overall.”

Thankfully with age has come the perspective that there is much more to fitness than looking a certain way. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about what “fitness” means to me and it has a lot to do with how I feel, and how functional my body is.

To me, being fit is all about feeling strong and capable. I exercise because I love it and I want to. It’s a lifestyle choice. I love the feeling of pushing my body to improve.

That feeling I get after I’ve smashed a workout or beaten my previous time on something. Fitness to me isn’t abs (I had them and I wasn’t happy), health and fitness helps my body’s ability to adapt to and recover from the tasks of everyday life.

I’m full of energy and I can hike, climb a mountain, dance and I still play sports competitively and I’m no spring chicken and I look hot ????

After all, the benefits we receive from exercise are all about your body adapting to a stimuli. This means that every bout of physical activity can make your body better. For me, exercise is helping me look after the one body that I have and help to keep it ”fit” in a way that is meaningful to me.

Cheers to that!????

I can tell you now from my personal experience there is no quick fix. So stop wasting your money on the 6 week fat burner program or the detox diet or drink and I’ll let you in on the big secret. ????


Health and Fitness is everyday changes no matter how small but that you can adhere to everyday. Be accountable, show up, move more, be mindful of your eating habits, have fun and love yourself enough to want to be fit and healthy.


It is not supposed to be something you loath.


Taking some time to think about what fitness means to you allows you to think of what you can gain from being physically active, even in small amounts. What could you do if your body was “fit” that you can’t do now?


How might exercise help you to stay well in the short-term and in the long-term?

I think one of the most difficult things to do in life is to figure out how to let go of the past and plan for the future while trying to focus on the present.

Consider your past, present, and future with “fitness” and decide what you want for the one and only body you will ever have. Remember, you get to decide what “fitness” looks like, feels like, and means to you overall.

Here’s to our health,


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