Reflections: On Staying Fit in Myanmar

This picture above is everything Myanmar is not: clean sidewalks, clean shoes, clean legs and our dog. Even the air looks clean to me in the picture above ;)

I had high hopes for staying fit this year but that just wasn't real life for me this year. And that's okay! 

Let me do a bit of explaining of what I have and haven't done this year: 


1. Walked
We walk all over. Our daily commute is 1.5 miles so I am at least walking a bit each day. Usually on weekends we walk from our church to down town which is around 2 miles. If I walk back home, which I've been doing latley (yay!), it ends up being around 6 miles. 

Usually when we buy groceries I walk home with those so that's a workout too! 

2. Sweated
I have never sweated more in my life! Burma is hot. Burma is humid. That combo = a major sweaty mess all the time.

3. Taught
If you are a teacher you will nod your head in agreement but I'm telling you, teaching is hard hard work! Teaching 4 year old ESL kids is probably the hardest job I've ever had. To be honest, at the end of the day sometimes I just don't have it in me to work out. I'm pooped until I wake up the next morning.  

4. Lived in a 3rd World Country
I wish I could properly convey what living like is here but there is no way I can do that through the blog. If you visited here you know what I'm talking about. Living here is spiritual, mental, emotional and physical and sometimes living takes priority over being super fit. 

5. Eaten Better
I cook a lot at home and overall it's pretty healthy. I think the biggest thing here are that portions are much smaller. We also have all the fresh fruits around here so that has been really good too. 


1. Ran
Me and running haven't been friends this year. 

I know at the end of the day it is my choice to run or not to run but life here isn't the same as in the states. Dave has a full post coming this week about running in Myanmar but side walks with holes, spit, people peeing and masses of people is what running often looked like this year. And frankly after teaching kids all day and walking through the crowds I didn't have it in my to get out side again for a run. 

Around June, I finally decided to suck it up and decided to run one day and a torrential downpour happened while I was out. It was kind of funny but I didn't run again .. until 2 weeks ago. 

Lately though! They finished constructing the sidewalks near our apartment and I've gone for 2 whopping runs so far. It's been nice and it feels so good to run again, even if it is a short distance. 

Seeing things while running is emotional sometimes too. I know this sounds weird but I'm running in my $80 shoes, fancy shorts, work out tank top, Garmin, iPod and headphones and then at the bridge I look over and see a poor lady sitting there with her half naked baby. I have a hard time processing things like that. 

I want to be grateful that God has abundantly blessed me with the material possessions I have but at the same time my heart hurts for the poor here. 

2. Stairs
Okay, I have taken the stairs some but not as much as I hoped too. 

Why? Well, see the tired and sweaty scenarios from above. I have been better about it these past few months except when I went to run down the stairs and a big 3" roach was there. There was no way I was going around that giant. Not happening! Do you know how fast those are? And they fly! It could kill me (as in I would faint and then tumble down the stairs and then die.....) <--Dave thinks I'm extreme with that scenario but I'm not being extreme at all....

So some days I take those stairs and some days I just don't.


When I think about fitness in general this year, part of me feels like a big fat failure, but I know that's the flesh speaking. I have to give myself grace and realize that exercise and being fit isn't everything in life. To be honest, I think we as Americans place way too much emphasis on fitness that we sometimes miss out on the better parts of life. That's a whole different post so I digress.

I try to tell myself that my body is the temple of the Lord and I need to take care of it. Secondly, the Bible is also true when it says bodily exercise profits little. I can take care of my temple without being in the gym all the time.

Our year here in Burma has a focus of ministry and living in a 3rd world country and sometimes intense fitness has to be set aside.

Now! When I get home you better believe I'm getting with my girlfriends and am gonna hit the gym! I mean, how can I not be excited to sweat in an air conditioned building where the power won't go out? ha ha! Plus, after the gym I'm sure we will have bagels and coffee so it is a win win!

If you have any other questions about fitness here feel free to comment or shoot me an e-mail. I'm happy to answer.

How is fitness for you? Do you go through different seasons like I do? If you do what do you do to help you through it mentally? 


  1. You are right! It is not everything in life! I work out every day and have for years and years. It really is just part of my daily routine. However, if I were to get a different job or move overseas, I know I would need to make modifications!

  2. I do think we can get carried away with fitness. Sometimes we have to take a step back and see the difference between "fit" and "healthy". All that walking? Healthy. All that cooking at home and fruit? Healthy. It's ok if you're not in the gym 7 days a week for an hour each time. You're healthy!

  3. I have gone through seasons of having a intense workout routine and a more laid back one due to circumtances somewhat out of my control. I find I appericate the time when I can do my intense workouts even more after so much of a laid back routine. I will say, all the walking you are doing isn't nothing, that's pretty good.
    I am not a fan of working out and too much heat, for example when I sweat while I am not doing anything. At those times to motivate me to workout, I remind myself I can take a cold shower or soak in the bath, plus sweating is a process of expelling toxin from your body, so I try to welcome the sweat.

  4. Girl, I know. Life out here, it's hard. Just plain hard. But there's so much more valuable that you are doing in your lifestyle than getting into the best shape of your life. I do find that it's pretty easy to stay skinny out here just because of the heat and the fact that we eat so much simple, home-cooked veggies and fresh fruit. Anything canned and meats are so expensive so they aren't so tempting!

  5. I think you are doing so great! I would not beat yourself up about it at ALL. Grace, girl. I think you have a point about Americans putting too much emphasis on working out and staying fit. I mean, reading my Bible is more important than staying fit, but sometimes I choose running over Bible study! Not good. I think you have don a ton of walking and sweating and running away from roaches to make up for it :) Maybe when we meet up again (when??) we can go on a run together! :)

  6. I can't even imagine working out in a third world country so I think if I was you I would be in the exact shoes you are. And amen to "exercise and being fit isn't everything in life." I'm having a hard time remembering that lately, so it was just the reminder I needed to hear!