There are different ends of the spectrum when it comes to people who exercise; those who live and breathe fitness (and sometimes talk about it too much... guilty!) and those who exercise because they know they 'should' but never without some serious overthinking and often quite sporadically.
It can take a long time to get to a point where you 'don't want to miss a training session' and as someone who now plans their schedule around working out, I can tell you that it's taken me more than five years (yes, even when I started out as a personal trainer I didn't love training!) to feel this way about exercise. My mindset has completely changed from feeling as though 'I should' exercise to exercising because I want to feel happier and healthier.
I'm not going to lie and say that I always love working out because some days I really don't feel like it. If I'm tired or hormonal or my muscles are sore, I'd rather lay on the couch and watch netflix than do a burpee (okay that's most days ;-) ) but the difference is that exercise is my therapy. My mind needs it more than my body so I make it a priority in my day to day. Having a clear and happy mindset after exercise is my motivation but this may not be the same for you. If you're at a point where you know that exercise is important for your health but you'd rather poke your own eye out than pick up a dumbbell then I might be able to help you with that. Here are 5 things that I've learnt in my experience as a trainer that will help you to stop hating exercise (and maybe even enjoy it a little bit).
1. Stop thinking of exercise as punishment.
Using exercise as punishment or a way to 'earn food' will only give you a negative outlook on what it means to be active. Focus on what exercise does for you physically and emotionally after a training session (not to mention everything it does for your health long term!) Do you feel happier? More satisfied? Less foggy? More productive? Keep those things in mind and don't feel as though you need to reprimand yourself with a trip to the gym every time you eat an extra biscuit for afternoon tea.
2. Stop thinking that one missed workout or bad meal has ruined the whole week (or month or even year!)
It's not eating one biscuit that makes you put on weight. it's when you tell yourself 'screw it' and eat the whole packet that's the problem. Making healthy choices most of the time with a burger every now and then is a great way to maintain a balanced lifestyle and stop yourself from going crazy. Exercise shouldn't stop because you've had a 'bad week' of eating; maintain consistency in your training sessions and you'll probably find that your food choices will become consistently healthier as a result. One high calorie day does not mean that week is worthless!!! Wake up and make a healthy choice for breakfast the following day and you'll be right back on track.
3. Stop letting other people dictate your choices.
Human beings like to project our guilt onto other people to make ourselves feel better. 'Come on, let's have a slice of cake together' or 'don't go to the gym, let's go for dinner instead'. We're all guilty of being the 'enabler' at some point or another! The people we spend the most time with influence our thoughts, opinions and actions so if you're spending time with people that don't exercise or eat healthy, you may find that you don't have the support you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I'm not telling you to run out and find new friends but sometimes you need to stop worrying about other people's guilty feelings and make decisions based on what's good for you.
4. Stop overthinking it.
There are times when I book a fitness class for the end of the day and guess what I do all day? THINK ABOUT IT. 'Maybe I shouldn't go, I am pretty tired,' 'I should probably use that hour to get my blog done instead.' It's crazy how many hours you can spend overthinking a gym session when the session itself is only 45 minutes to an hour long! We know we will feel better after the workout but that's not always enough to stop us from talking ourselves off the ledge. So stop. Take the emotion out of it and treat it like an appointment. Your gym class is in the diary for 5pm and that's it. I literally plan my day around my gym sessions and by the time I throw my sneakers on and get there (just in the knick of time), my brain hasn't had time to catch up and talk me out of going. Once you are training regularly, you'll start to see results and notice how much worse you feel when you don't get to a session!
5. Stop doing things you don't enjoy.
I'm not saying that all of you will walk away from this blog and be the next Lorna Jane spokesperson but you can find something active that you enjoy.
Yoga? Running? Powerlifting? Ballroom dancing? Zumba? The list of possibilities is endless.
*Reminder* You don't have to do a spin class for 45 minutes to stay fit if you hate cycling! It's about being active, using your muscles and getting your body moving. Let's face it, if you're looking to lose a bit of weight then it's the nutrition that's going to be your biggest hurdle. Fitness should be something that makes you feel happy and energised and not something that makes you want to run and hide.
The hardest part of exercise is putting on your sneakers and tying up the laces. When it's cold outside or you haven't had the best sleep, you could find a million excuses not to do it. The fact of the matter is that to live a healthy, active and energised life, you need to do something so find something you enjoy and make a choice to show up and get it done. Like finding the perfect swimsuit, finding the right type of exercise for you takes time and effort but stay patient and when you find it, you'll never look back.
Here's to a happy, healthy and blissful you,