What’s your attitude towards exercise? Love it? Gym rat? Addicted? If that’s you then congratulations, you are amongst the rare 5% of the population. For the rest of you, whose attitude towards exercise is more like our attitude towards getting a physical or seeing your OB/GYN (we do it because we were told it’s good for us, but really, ugh!), here are 5 ways to shift that attitude and embrace what our bodies were designed to do: move!
- Train to embrace who you are, not to punish yourself.
Although I fully endorse a high intensity ass kicking, do it from a place of encouragement, not of punishment. Listen to your body talk to itself. You should be saying positive things such as “I can do this! Feel the burn, love the burn, I want to challenge myself, I will feel so amazing when I am done.” A lot of people have very negative self talk, like, “I am too tired, old, unfit, unwell, fat, stressed to go hard today. I can’t do this, there’s no way. What if I can’t finish? What if I get the slowest time? What if I fall off my bike? Come on you fat slob, after all that pizza and wine last night you deserve to have your ass kicked!” Would you talk to others that way? Are you maybe just a wee bit tough on yourself? Give yourself a break and cut the internal bickering!
- Lighten up, it’s only exercise!
Believe it or not, exercise should be fun! Even when you’re pushing yourself to the limits, don’t take it too seriously. Did you have a crappy work out? Who cares?! Does the pressure of trying to bench an extra 20lbs far exceed other pressures in your life? Give me a break! You may need to mix pleasant, fun activities in with your grueling sessions for balance.
If you follow points 1 and 2, you should find that the pressures we put around exercise will stop. For example, if you miss a work out, does that mean you are a fat, lazy slob? No, it means you missed a work out, that’s it. Read point 5 and then remember, you have chosen who you want to be, so embrace that person, and lighten up.
- Feel the burn, love the burn
When the heat rises in a work out, so too does your doubt. Suddenly you question if your body can cope, and the negative self talk highlighted in point 2 comes out to haunt you. When you get outside your comfort zone in a workout, one thing to repeat over and over again is “feel the burn, love the burn.” Sounds silly right? But it works! Embrace the burning feeling you get in your muscles and lungs, and learn to love this feeling. This is the point in the workout where you are really making a difference. You are out of your comfort zone. When you are finished, you body will change as a result and you will improve. So the next time you feel like you can’t do one more push up, or you can’t make that last sprint home, just repeat to yourself, “Feel the burn, love the burn” and before long you will have burnt away twice as many calories, and achieved some kick-ass results!
- Get inspired
Find inspiration in your life. People who make you feel good, energetic, and strong. It might be friends or family, or it might be sporting heroes, celebrities. It may even be a movie or music. If it takes listening to the Rocky sound track to get excited, then do it! Enroll others on your mission. It could be your personal trainer, the staff at the gym, training buddies, work friends. The more support you have, the more chance you will have at succeeding.
5. Don’t see-saw between who you are and who you want to be. Choose one and choose it fully
Look at your past results in fitness, and in other areas of your life. Are you happy with the results? If you are, then great, keep sticking at it. But if not, you need to make a conscious decision to change something. One thing is for sure, if you don’t change your behavior then your results won’t change either.
Who you are being in this very moment is the only thing that will affect your future. So who are you being right now? Make a choice. Be the person you have always been or choose to make a shift and alter who you become.
Embrace that choice and choose it fully. Then and only then will you shift the past patterns which have led to who you are today.
“If you want to look into your past look at your present conditions and if you want to look into your future, look at your present actions.” – Chinese proverb
As best friend and fitness expert Liz Corah instilled in me “Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
What changes can you make?