Here’s How to Be Mentally Strong When Exercising
Getting yourself to the point where you look forward to exercising is all about changing your mindset. Before I fell in love with my workouts, I had the desire to get to the gym, but my thoughts were what kept me on the couch. There’s always tomorrow, I told myself. I can take a day off.
Or I’d get those thoughts in the middle of a workout. The ones where you decide you’ve tried hard enough, and it’s OK to slack off for once.
The problem is that it’s never just that one time. I would take it easy at the gym one day, then two days, then more often than not. That would lead to convincing myself there was no need to go at all. There wasn’t enough time or energy, whatever fit my mindset of the day.
I’m here to tell you, you can learn how to be mentally strong when it comes to exercising. Whether you go to a gym, work out at home or speed-walk the hallway at work, there are ways around your mindset. Here are some of the best tips I’ve found to defeat mental negativity and conquer your exercise goals.
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
I used to drive home from work, physically and mentally worn out. The quiet moments of listening to the radio, making dinner and getting my lunch ready for the next day caused me to lean into myself and not think twice about thoughts that only demotivated me and my desire to exercise.
Sometimes all you need is to give yourself a pep talk. Talk out loud in the car about why you’re going to hit the gym. If you have a pet, tell them what workout you’re going to do today and how it’s going to help you.
And, most importantly, tell yourself you’re going to crush your workout and feel amazing when you finish. You may feel a little crazy at first, but hearing positive encouragement is a great way to get yourself closer to starting your workout.
Get a New Perspective
Sometimes life interferes, and you can’t fit in time to go to a gym or finish a whole workout in your living room. It happens to me a lot, especially around the holidays. It’ll help to get a new perspective on what exercise is, because not every workout has to happen in a gym.
Instead of letting someone at the grocery store bring your purchases out to your car or driving through an automated car wash, do the work yourself! You’ll sweat by parking at the back of the store parking lot or scrubbing your car clean. I feel like I’ve exercised anytime I increase my heart rate, which is easy to do anytime by thinking outside the box during your daily routine.
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Learn About Your Body
It feels good to complete a workout, but how much do you know about how your body reacts to not working out at all? Learning more about the effects of not exercising encouraged me to be more proactive about my health. An easy way to learn is to watch educational videos about your body.
For example, I learned sitting for long periods leads to bad posture, which puts pressure on your spine, which leads to health issues. Little tidbits like that will help your mind stay focused on exercising now to benefit you in the long run.
Working out isn’t just about feeling better, losing weight or having increased endurance. It’s about improving your life and making sure your body works even better in the future.
Find the Humor
Lots of people feel intimated when they go to the gym because it’s full of people who look like they’ve made exercising their whole life. In the moments I feel most intimidated, I try to find the humor in the situation. Everyone is working out to chase their goals. It’s just life, and no one is in competition, so let yourself breathe easy and go after what you want to accomplish.
Learning how to be mentally strong when you work out takes practice. And the thing is, no one ever gets to the point where they work out in the best mindset perfectly all the time.
It’s OK to have occasional moments where you question or doubt but look at them as an opportunity to grow even stronger. Believe in yourself, encourage yourself and you’ll be amazed at how far your fitness journey will take you.
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Also published on Medium.
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