Today I will be speaking about how to love exercise and how to alter your mindset and attitude concerning fitness and working out! Nutrition and exercise can be sensitive topics for many people as they may feel inadequate or incompetent in these areas. Furthermore, they may think their diet and workout routine has a direct connection to their self-worth. Let me clear in my stance- your diet, exercise routine, fitness level, weight, and body do not represent your self-worth. To be fair, your appearance can say a lot about your health but this is not tied down to a certain look or size.
Changing your mindset is not an easy task. To undo years of a toxic mindset will take time and patient to change- so don't be so hard on yourself!
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So let's get into it!
1. Attacking the Root
If you find yourself hating your workouts and avoid them at all costs, you have to ask yourself why? I challenge you to examine your earliest and most prominent memories around exercise and body image. Write them down and label them with the associated feeling you have.
My older sister saying she needs to work out to look good in a bikini - I FELT shame
Now, gather these words and write counter thoughts to them.
Shame -> I feel no shame about my body. I love my current body because it is strong and healthy!
The reason for this activity is to find the roots of your disdain and unhealthy use of exercise and to actively counter them with healthy and positive thoughts. This is not so much a one-and-done act. I encourage you all to keep these positive affirmations handy when you're feeling down and out!
Furthermore, you need to assess the reasons you work or hate working out! Is it because you hate your body? Is it because the thought of gaining or losing weight terrifies you? Identify the motivation behind your regimen and assure it is coming from a positive place not a place of hate or sadness.
2. Shifting Your Attitude
Once you have identified the roots, it is time to change your attitude.
A great quote I saw said, "you can not hate your body into one that you love" and I find that this is so true! You have to unlearn self-loathing and learn self-love! This means wanting to exercise because it is good for your body and will improve your health and fitness level. I recommend that you do some type of movement for a week straight without overanalyzing your body before and after and tracking every single step or calorie you burn. Try to focus on how you feel before, during, and after your workouts.
Focus on your breath, the music, and your thoughts and stop obsessing over how you look! This will bring you closer to the best benefits of exercise! You can completely change your body but you can also reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mood and mental health, manage your blood sugar levels, improve your sleep quality, and much more!
In contrast, using exercise as a tool to change your body is not a negative thing whatsoever! But if you do not examine and acknowledge the root of any body issues you have, you'll never love the body you currently have- even if it's your dream body.
3. Love What You Do
Love what workouts you do! I can not stress this enough! Here is a post about a variety of different exercise routines. Play around and try out different things. If you hate running then simply stop running! There are so many forms of exercise, you are bound to find one that you absolutely love. In addition, there some necessary elements you should have in your workout routine regardless of your routine. This includes cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and stretching/flexibility training. This will make sure your exercise is beneficial to all parts of your fitness and health!
4. Make It Unique
Make your workout sessions truly your own! This means working out for the duration that you find optimal for yourself. Many national guidelines recommend you work out at least 150 minutes a week (increased or decreased depending on the intensity levels). This can look like, 30 minutes 5 times a week, 50 minutes 3 times a week, 25 minutes 6 times a week, and etc.
Furthermore, work out at times that are convenient to you and where you have the most energy. If you find you hate working out because you have to wake up early to do it- shift it to the evening if possible! You have to realize that you hold all the power when it comes to your workout regimen. Don't feel pressure from what you see on social media and make your workout routine unique to you because, at the end of the day, that's who it's for!
5. Set Goals
If you are working on healing your relationship with exercise, I recommend setting goals that are healthy for yourself. For example, you find yourself overexercising because you want to look a certain way, I would recommend setting goals that do not correspond with your appearance.
I will decrease my 5km time over the course of the month.
On the other hand, if you have an unhealthy relationship with exercise dealing with your fitness level, I would set goals that do not incorporate things related to that.
I will work out 3 times this week without tracking my calories.
6. Have Fun!
Don't forget to have fun when you work out! Being able to move our bodies and test our fitness level is truly a gift.
Do you love to work out? Did you have to shift your mindset when it came to exercise? Let me know in the comments below!
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