I don’t know about you, but for me working out is work. I’m not one of those people who hops out of bed at 5:00am and skips over to spin class. Getting me to the gym usually requires some serious butt-dragging, which can sometimes feel like a workout of its own.
So what do I do to make the most of my time in the gym? How do I keep myself going week after week (after week after week?) Here are some tips that helped me and can help you too:
First, buy yourself some cute workout clothes. My previous attire consisted of old basketball shorts and a pajama t-shirt with a hole in it. Not exactly the garb of an Olympic athlete in the making! Get yourself some proper clothes that are comfortable, sleek, and fun. You’ll feel the part if you look the part.
Next, get your motivation figured out. Before you start any workout regimen, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you exercising to look better? To lose weight? To gain muscle? To feel good?
I certainly hope you said yes to that last one. No matter your answer to the other questions, always say yes to feeling good.
Why is feeling good so important? Good feeling is the one factor you can count on time and time again to make you lace up your sneakers and get moving. How we feel determines how we react and respond to just about everything that happens around us. If you’re feeling blah, your whole day will appear blah. If you’re happy, people around you seem happy. If you’re sad you will find sorrow at every turn, and nothing in your closet looks good on you.
If you’re working out to feel good – physically, mentally, and emotionally – then you can and will get your butt to the gym. That’s because every time you work out you get to feel powerful, determined, and strong. You get to feel good about yourself, and this will have a profound effect on everything else around you.
However, there are always those days when you’re just super extra tired and haven’t reached your goal and want to stop. For those days, here are some mantras to keep you going:
1. I’d rather be here.
Being at the gym is like a time-out from all other daily busy-ness. When I think about everything on my to-do list afterward (like errands, chores, emails, etc.) it actually changes my mindset from wanting to leave the gym to wanting to stay. Consider gym time to be your own little sweaty “vacay” from the day.
2. This is what my body wants. This is what my body needs. My body is thanking me for this.
It may not feel that way at the time, but it’s true! Our bodies are designed to move, and working out gives us a chance to thrive with physical action. Your muscles want to be engaged, your blood wants to pump, your skin wants to sweat. Working out gives your body exactly what it wants.
3. I’m lucky to exercise.
When you have a physical ailment or pain of any kind, your mobility and freedom can become limited. If you can exercise and move without pain (other than the pain of the burn), then enjoy every minute. It really is a blessing to be so lucky, and there is no guarantee how long that state of health will last. Savor every moment.
4. I’m releasing toxins. I’m cleansing my body and mind.
Sweating is a major release — physically, mentally, and emotionally. I like to envision any pent-up feelings of negativity, anger, or frustration all flowing out of me. They’re all carried away with every drop of sweet, sweet sweat.
5. My battery is charged.
It’s easy to get exhausted and feel like you’re running on empty. The next time that happens, choose to imagine a little battery icon (just like the one on your phone) that represents your stamina. Picture it fully-charged and glowing brighter with every exertion. Thinking of yourself as fully-charged instead of completely depleted will help increase your endurance, both physically and mentally.
6. This is what strength looks like. This is what strength sweats like. This is what strength feels like.
It’s immensely satisfying when your exterior form feels aligned with your interior. And when your inner strength begins to take form as outer muscles that you can see and flex? Watch out world – serious confidence coming through!
Here’s to a healthy, happy workout and to a healthy, happy you!