The best fitness wisdom can actually come from the world of R&B.

By Lauren Mazzo
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor / Getty Images

People have been buzzing about R&B artist Solána Rowe, who you likely know as SZA, for a little while now. As the most nominated woman at this year's Grammy Awards, she's in the running for five different titles, including Best R&B Song (for "Supermodel") and Best New Artist. She's also on Barack Obama's playlist, just performed on Saturday Night Live, and has a cool 3.2 million Instagram followers. She's on the come-up of her life and is a welcome ray of female #realtalk blasting through the R&B world.

But don't let her fool you-even though she's made dropping her debut album, Ctrl, and sailing into the Grammys with noms to spare look like a cakewalk, her brutally honest interviews show that she's literally just trying to figure it all out. Glean these gems of wisdom from SZA, and apply them to any goal in your life, health or otherwise. Who knows, it might just win you a Grammy (or, you know, a deadlift PR).

1. You're your own worst critic.

Every interview with SZA about her Grammy noms makes it clear: She is downright floored to be receiving such honors. She told the New York Times that when her label (Top Dawg Entertainment, aka TDE) scheduled her album for release, she "just wanted to hurry up and fail." This was shortly after she tweeted that she was going to quit music. She didn't have her sights set on Grammy awards-she was just worried about her album being good enough to exist in the world.

Yet, here she is, arguably the hottest female artist of the moment and still worrying about whether her song themes are redundant and whether the hooks could have been catchier. "My anxiety had been telling me the whole time that it sucked," she said, in the same interview with the NYT. The reality? It's a critically acclaimed, chart-topping release.

And the doubts weren't just about her album: "For a long time, I wanted to be a different person," SZA said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I wanted to have my shit together, I wanted to have perpetually clear skin, fucking remember to moisturize. I wanted to not talk too much, slow down and not stutter. I didn't want to have ADHD. I wanted to be a normal person. And I think that craving and the editing of myself hindered me, so I just stopped editing."

Sound familiar? Remember this reality check next time you're scrutinizing cellulite, a breakout, or a 2-pound gain in the mirror. Take the heat off yourself (and especially your body). You're a guaranteed number-one hit if you just let yourself be.

2. Success isn't an overnight thing.

Like waiting for your glutes gains to appear, you can't expect magic to happen overnight. SZA released three EPs (S, Z, and See.SZA.Run) in 2012, 2013, and 2014, before laboring over Ctrl for years. And even when the success hits you, it might not really hit you. She could've given up after TDE said "pass" after hearing her music the first time, but she kept at it and honed her voice to create a potentially award-winning studio album. Ctrl has been smashing the charts since she released it in June 2017, but SZA still isn't used to the hype:

"This entire thing puts my wildest dreams to shame," she wrote in an Instagram caption when she found out about her Grammy nominations. "I️ dunno what to say cause I️ dunno how to accept its even happening to me... I've never won anything in my life even until this week... it all just feels strange somehow BUT I'M SO OVERWHELMINGLY GRATEFUL FOR THIS STRANGENESS." Remember: Hard-work pays off-eventually.

3. A goal isn't a finish line.

When asked about basking in her success in the Cosmopolitan interview, SZA said: "I'm sure everyone on my team hates me because I refuse to bask. I'm more concerned about the things that I need to correct for the next album: song structure, clarity of ideas, avoiding redundancy. I want a vocal coach. I've never had a vocal coach in my life."

Same goes with health and fitness goals. While you should totally take a sec to bask in the glory of your accomplishments (Pop some champs! Take a vaca! Eat a burger!), you don't get to totally check out once you can check that goal off your list. Good health isn't an end-goal, it's a lifestyle. You can't eat your vegetables and do your squats for X number of days and expect to reap the benefits forever without consistently putting in work. To maintain the weight loss, newfound strength, or endurance that you've earned from crushing a health or fitness goal, you've got to maintain the hustle. Channel your inner boss babe and get it done.


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