Alright, so you hate working out. You might be “liking” that #fitspo picture on Instagram, but you actually dread the thought of having to actually do the Kayla Itsines bikini plan and die between a burpee and a jump squat.
Or maybe you actually enjoy working out and you drag your ass to the gym the first two days of the week, but then life happens and your muscles are aching and you think – nah, watching Parks and Rec and giving myself a butt massage definitely sounds better than jumping up and down off a bench in the park, almost slipping and breaking your neck.
Because let’s be honest, here. Exercise is so promoted, glorified and slapped onto our faces that it’s almost like we are training for the Hunger Games; but we can all agree to the fact that it is painful, hard work that is nowhere near as fun as the smiling jumping fitness models in sport advertising seem to have.
And with the overload amount of information, bikini e-books that keep popping out like those bloody Minions on my Facebook timeline; and the fact that society keeps giving unrealistic expectations in terms of body images; it is no surprise that we all dread exercising.
Not matter how much we enjoy it, it is almost impossible nowadays to talk and commit to working out, without considering the aesthetic variable, aka “I am exercising because I want to have a six-pack, a big butt, but also look like I don’t exercise because #natural #beauty”. It is pretty much impossible having the motivation to workout, without having the intrinsic desire of looking like somebody who is not us, and doing things that we don’t like and often hurting ourselves in the process of doing so.
My childhood as a chubby, overweight and food enthusiastic kid and my teenage years of anorexia and unhealthy amount of obsession and self-hatred have taught me one thing: exercise is a tough key, but it’s inevitable like talking about weather during small talks.
I loathed it, obsessed over it and hated again; but I have now found a balance.
And here’s how you can find it to.
HOW TO GET INTO WORKING OUT.
- From “fitspo” to “happy-so”. Get rid of the idea that going for a run, or lifting weights has only one final outcome: to make you look good and fit. Exercise is good for you because it makes you feel happier, it strengthens your body and your mental health; it trains your mind to overcome challenges and find stillness within pain. That’s important. Focusing exclusively on the aesthetic side of it – working out to look good – is setting yourself to failure, because the bodies you compare yourself to are a random set of DNA and exercise and nutrition variables, that even if you stuck to it 24/7 and cloned yourself 1000 times, you probably still won’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model.
- Unfollow the fitspo. It’s no wonder why you feel sad and demotivated, every time you see pictures of perfect bodies and perfect people on social media. Comparing yourself to any sort of beauty standards might make you feel inspired or motivated for a short amount of time, but it can damage the way you perceive yourself in the long-run and ultimately affect how you perform through a workout. Nothing good comes out of feeling like crap about yourself. Nothing good comes out of standing in front of the mirror and hatred pumping in your heart, just because you can’t seem to look like the other people on magazines, on your tv and on your phone. So if you notice that this happens to you every time you get on Instagram, or on Facebook, unfollow them. Get rid of that because it doesn’t help YOU and YOU is who is dragging their asses for a run, not an Insta-famous chick.
- Start listening to people you admire and look up to – Read, listen, follow, clap your hands to people who have similar goals and outlooks. Follow athletes, follow average people who have trained themselves to just break through their challenges and achieve greatness. Get tips and information from people who are QUALIFIED and with YEARS OF EXPERIENCE to give advice on getting fitter and healthier. Just because someone looks fit and is a personal trainer it doesn’t mean they have the guru solution for you to get fitter. Filter through all the crap that comes with social media.
- Consider yourself an athlete. Ok, so you maybe just want to feel healthier and fitter, but why not just aim to the top? Being an athlete requires commitment, discipline, belief in themselves and a lot of hard work. Maybe you’re not competing, maybe you don’t want to win, but if you trick yourself into thinking that you are an athlete, you will be surprised at how quickly you will build up strength, confidence and achieve the impossible. Training like an athlete and embracing the fact that your results only depend on how much work you put in, without really focusing on how you look and how physically fit you are; it will help you build the confidence that you need to achieve the impossible.
- Fool around. Try any sports, forms of exercise that interest you in the slightest. Exercise should be fun, and limiting yourself just because “it doesn’t burn much calories”, or “it’s not cool”, or any other stupid story that we tell ourselves to sabotage our own desires and personal interests will lead to one result: feeling miserable. Write down the sports you have always wanted to try, but a) you couldn’t, b) thought that you couldn’t, c) gave up on, and just give it a try. Gyms and most physical facilities offer a free day trial and one day is enough to know if you like something or not. I have always loathed running, but mainly because I convinced myself that I simply couldn’t run. Now I am struggling to keep myself away from getting inside my running shoes. So, try new things and pick the one you love.
- Love is the key. I am going to be really honest with you here. If you don’t like running, or swimming, or lifting weights, then just don’t it. Don’t waste your time doing things that you hate. There is most definitely something that moves your body that will fill you with passion and desire, and you have got to stay in that precious moment of happiness and stillness of something being absolutely perfect for you; and don’t let it get ruined by outsiders’ opinions or judgements. But if you find that you simply hate any form of exercise, ask yourself why. Is it because it seems a bit of a waste of time? Or is it because you associate exercising with training to look good, or obsession? I think that every person has a different way to express themselves and moving their body is one of them – you have just got to find it.
- Exercise makes you a happier and healthier you. We all know that working out is good for you, but did you also know that only 30 minutes of exercise a week can instantly make a difference in your overall mood levels? When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins – which will make you feel happy and euphoric – and it also releases norepinephrine, a chemical that regulates your response to stress. In some studies, they have shown that exercising regularly can have the same impact of anti-depressants. So when you’re feeling blue and hopeless, try to go for a walk or a run. Exercising boosts your self-confidence, enhances your creativity, increases your chance of inspiring other people, relaxes you and ultimately strenghten your brain activity and sharpen your memory. Now, does that couch sound still inviting?
- Start small, aim big. Start by setting yourself small goals. A short daily walk, lifting weights on the weekend, taking your dog for a run. But set your ambitions and you long-term goal higher. Visualize yourself finishing a marathon, or running the last lapse, or doing a handstand. Knowing where every small step is leading you will increase your concentration and motivation to sticking to it. I would still avoid motivating yourself with pictures of stranger’s bodies, or your fit friend’s body, because it’s just setting yourself to failure; but to each its own.
- Listen to the right music. Music can definitely affect your workouts and your motivation. I personally perform best when I listen to dramatic, orchestra soundtrack music (like Batman Begins, Inception, X-Men etc), because it makes me feel invincible and just..dramatic. But other music that I have found that helps: EDM/trance music, upbeat indie music, angry emo anthems and old school hip-hop. So create your playlist of #challengeyoass and get on with it.
- Be accountable. You got the motivation, you got the moves, now you just gotta keep going. Get a journal or create a note on your phone and write down every time you workout, what you have done, how do you feel about it and what do you think has affected your performance. It will help you into performing better, keeping you motivated and relying on your OWN strength. If that’s not enough, train with a friend, or let them know when you are working out and make them ask you how you went so you know you have got to do it.
- Find the simple and cheap way. You don’t need a gym membership to workout, or the best running shoes. There are tons of ways to find workouts and exercises to do. If you want some quick and fun workouts go on YouTube, or download the Nike Training Club app. If you want to run, Google beginners program, download the Nike Running app and track your goals. If you want to do yoga, there is YogaGlo.com, one of the best streaming services out there. Reddit and Bodybuilding.com are two of the best resource archives when it comes to fitness, plus they are a community, so you can find lots of support. Google anything and I can assure you that you will find a cheap way to do anything.
And the only and possibly most important tip of all: believe in yourself.
You can spend hundreds of dollars in equipment, gym membership and training in the right way with the right people; but if you don’t believe that you actually CAN do it, then you just simply won’t. That’s why you need to believe in yourself and the power that you have withing you to wake up and go for a run, or go for a surf even when it’s freezing and the waves aren’t that good. Because when you keep training, when you keep persisting and fighting for your goals, that’s when you build confidence; and when you got that.. well, you won.