Setting up for success
All too often we just go to the gym as if it really is a chore. But when you think of something as a chore, you’re really just trying to GET THROUGH. Which makes you miss out on some of the really special emotional and spiritual benefits that exercise can bring.
“Organized, reasonable, and calculated baby steps wins the day, and allow goals come to fruition where you will actually start seeing results. You’ve got to plan, organize, and keep expectations minimal, reasonable, doable, and attainable.” – Lauren Millman read more
Cat Smiley, Fitness Director of Whistler Fitness Vacations implements these above mentioned baby steps into the Jump School programming, her 8 weeks integrated weight loss program. The goal is to turn women who struggle with exercise, into life-long enthusiasts.
Laura Shannon, a nurse who completed her 6-week stay under Cat’s guidance says “I’m so glad I did it, we just have such a blast! Fitness Vacation, it’s really a perfect name, thats exactly what it was. It’s been such a blessing in my life.”
1 – The Two ‘E’s’
In meditation and mindfulness, we take deep breaths and to regroup our thoughts and bring our mind to the moment. The same thing goes with exercise with lifting weights. Correct breathing for strength training is to exhale with the effort.
Example in a push-up, you’re pushing yourself up and exhaling at the same time. The opportunity to use all of your breath throughout the entire movement can lead to relaxing mentally (and emotionally) when working out. This leads to overall enhanced wellbeing gains.
2 – Relaxing through the movement
I often think of weight training as a great opportunity to relax. My muscles are working but through conscious breath and the repetitive motions there’s a relaxing reward at the end of each set. Taking that time to exhale is key! Exhalation is the root of reconnecting with our breath and reconnecting with our mindfulness.
Embrace the opportunity be present. When you start to enjoy it less, regroup.
In this regroup moment, challenge yourself to find a way to enjoy the moment just for one minute more, or five minutes more.. each and every time that you do it.
3- Life is like a box of chocolates
Forest Gump would probably agree. Exercise is similar to say eating potato chips. The first part of eating potato chips – the first 10 chips – taste great. But after 10, 12, 15 chips… not that enjoyable.
Perhaps you’re unclear why you keep eating. But you’re a finisher! And you’re not done until you finish the bag of whatch-do-ya-call-its! Right?
Welcome to the population of emotional eaters. That’s about 60% of us who use food to make ourselves feel better – eating to satisfy emotional needs. Yes it relieves stress, and helps cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom BUT at what cost?
You likely forget what the experience was like the next day, but remember how disempowered you felt.
And based on my experience in supporting hundreds of women in their body transformation, there’s a parallel between mindless eating and mindless exercising.
4 – Mindless eating, mindless exercising
With exercise, the first 10 sessions are exciting, liberating and give you great confidence. People compliment you, the world encourages you and perhaps in those first few weeks you see significant change on the scale.
Fast forward to 12, 15 workouts… the external boosters may not be there and you have only yourself to convince that this is ‘worth it’.
If this sounds familiar, mindfulness in your workouts is even more important for you.
5 – One good thing leads to another
ACTION STEP: Track how long it takes until you can find that end point of enjoyment, while pushing yourself to find the enjoyment a little more each time. This is what’s going to help you to commit to exercise in the long term.
Aim to enjoy ten minutes and just be aware of whether you are enjoying it, in that moment. If not, reconnect with your breath, reconnect with your movement. Try to make the mind and body connection and if you still aren’t finding the joy (and the movements) stop and go back another time.
Love the feeling….
It might not happen today, it might not happen tomorrow. Yet consistency and patience really does pay off. Ditch the all-or-nothing thinking!
Think about ONE goal and ONE behavior to tackle. Build consistency and habit. Commit to making it happen, no matter what. You can always build momentum as you go, if you decide you need more. But get the consistent win under your belt. – Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD
Working out is a privilege denied to many… switch up the thought process about training to be something you ‘get to do’ not something you ‘have to do’. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, it’s not a chore, unless you make it that way. Changing the view might just be the healthiest gift you can give to yourself. Yet it starts with both taking the time to find an activity that you enjoy, and being mindful when you do it.