The thought of going to the gym or a fitness class makes you want swear profusely out loud non-stop for a longer time than usual.
You just don’t feel like it, but you feel guilty. So then suddenly your mind, the one that just made you not want to go and workout, spitfires two dozen reasons why you don’t need to or just physically can’t.
You didn’t take a seat on the tube and you took the stairs at some point today – you’ve worked out, okay?
You are sure you felt a twinge in your ankle and that spin class would definitely exasperate it, so you best rest it. Prevention is the key, right?
You have been eating healthy for 3 consecutive days so that’s like a double health points that you can cash in in exchange for a get out of gym card, yeah?
You are going hard-core raving on the weekend, so you’ll need energy for then. Best not to fatigue those calves.
These all sound completely legit, so you don’t go, and that’s fine. We all get some days where we don’t feel like it. However, if you feel remotely guilty about the decision, then chances are that wasn’t one of those days. So how can you avoid this dilemma we all go through? First, let’s back up to why you felt it was a chore.
Why do some people never miss a workout and never complain about having to fit it into their schedules, whilst others with the same schedules will huff and puff all the way there? It’s not because they were born under the ‘panting and muscle burn is a joy’ star. It’s a challenge for them too. Honest. They just don’t entertain the thought of skipping a workout. Neither do they see not going as an option. And again, I will stress, it’s not necessarily because of their genes, it’s all in the thinking.
All actions come from a thought. It’s never circumstances that make us feel a certain way, it’s our thinking about it. So if you think “ugh, guess I have to go to the gym this week” when you think about working out, then the chances of you skipping it and not enjoying it are high. So how do you change that?
Focus on the feeling after not the process during
Don’t think about how long it will take you to get to the gym, how you can’t be bothered to do the warm up, how long the whole showering process will be. This is all resistance and stress on top of your protest against going, and it makes it harder. Instead, focus on how proud you’re going to feel for having gone, how progress is achieved one day at a time, how great it is when those endorphins kick in, how maybe this time you’ll finally fly into the crow position in yoga.
Turn your mind chatter to positives
This is one for when you’re there, and is a good change to make in your current workouts, especially the ones you don’t like.
Start listing all the benefits. For example, if you’re doing a timed wall sit in class your thoughts may be ‘I can’t go on anymore; this hurts so much; the trainer is a sadomasochist; surely this amount of burn isn’t good for me; I’m going to stop, it’s a free country.’ These thoughts aren’t the kind you want. Instead start thinking like a mum at sports day, or an encouraging friend. Be your own cheerleader, think: ‘My ass and legs are going to be rock solid and the finest things out there this summer; burn means progress, this is great; I can beat my personal best; I’ve got this; I’m going to be so proud of me when I’m done.’ If these thoughts seem too cringe at first, it’s only because they’re new and you haven’t practiced them. Try them.
Pick something you like doing
Finally, pick something that you find fun. Not what the latest celeb is endorsing, or what all your colleagues are saying is the fitness class to be doing. It’ll be you doing the workout, so you need to find it enjoyable. If you like something, then you are more likely to stick with it for longer, and consistency turns into habit, and that’s what gets you results.
So try thinking about your workouts differently. Focus on the benefits and the good feeling of investing in your health. For whatever your mind focuses on grows. So grow the positive, and in the process, grow yourself.