Talk to any group of people about exercise and I can almost guarantee that you’ll hear at least a handful of negative thoughts. They’re frustrated. They’re not seeing the results they want. It feels like a chore. As a trainer, of course it makes me sad to know that people view exercise in a negative light. But I can also understand where they’re coming from. When you approach it the wrong way, exercise can feel like a nagging, dreaded task. That’s why I strongly encourage people who want to look and feel better to change their approach to working out.
Remember: exercise should never be viewed as a punishment. You’re not “paying for” poor eating habits or legs that you wish were more toned. Instead, view exercise as a way to reward your body. Remind yourself that getting active helps you to stay vibrant and healthy in the future. Exercise allows you to feel confident enough to present your best self in any and all situations.
One easy way to change your brain’s view on working out is to shift your approach. You should exercise strategically. Every time you hit the gym, know what you’re doing and why. If you’re walking on the treadmill, doing a few reps with weights, and then calling it quits, don’t be surprised if you aren’t seeing results. Instead, make it a point to get educated about how to use the gym to your advantage. What kinds of exercises can you do to target the areas where you’d like to see improvement? What sort of workout schedule is most effective for you based on your energy levels, free time, and goals? If you feel lost, find a knowledgeable trainer who can assist, do some research online, or ask an exercise-focused friend for help.
The other issue is consistency. Many people will spend an hour in the gym when they can find time. After a month or two, they look and feel exactly the same. Because of this, they stop altogether. I always remind my clients that consistency drives results. It doesn’t matter how hard you push yourself when you’re there if you only do it sporadically. I’d much rather see my clients do shorter workouts on a regular basis as opposed to long, infrequent sessions.
Lastly, focus on motivation. Ask yourself why you want to get in shape. I find that the clients who have the most success are those who are working out with a real purpose in mind. Do you want to be able to keep up with your kids as they play outside? Do you want to accomplish a fitness goal, like running a 5K? These are powerful motivators, and they’ll keep you focused. If you’re just working out because you feel that you have to, it’s easy to find a reason to quit. Discover your own personal motivator and you’ll be amazed at your inner drive.
What inspires you to stay active? What kinds of exercise do you enjoy doing? Share with me in the comments!