It's valentines day, so I'd like to talk about a different type of love, your love of yourself.
Have you ever heard the phrase "you have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else"? Well, it's true.
What's that got to do with fitness? Everything. Being kind to yourself can come in many forms, feeding yourself a wholesome, balanced diet and getting a good nights sleep will form the foundation of your health and fitness. Without those two things, you won't get the results you're looking for.
Your mindset towards yourself will influence your goals, your effort and therefore your outcomes. If you're dragging yourself to the gym every day, hating every minute, are the results going to be as good as if you're motivated to go and enjoy your sessions? No. You are the most important person, only you know how you feel and, that, is why you need to love yourself.
I'm not talking about enjoying every minute of every workout. Yes, there will be moments you hate it, you're pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, but it shouldn't be the entire workout and it definitely shouldn't be every time. So, lets re-frame the thoughts. Think about the benefits you're seeing, noticing little changes when you look in the mirror, better sleep, feeling good, a clearer mindset.
Once you find an exercise regime you love, whether it's insanity classes, weight lifting or running, you'll find your passion and see a change in your mindset.
If you're currently dreading your next workout. Stop. Think back to your last one. What is it you didn't like? Was it that you were uncomfortable and out of breath? Felt self conscious in the gym? Or were you bored? There's lots of reasons you might be dreading your workout - think about what they are and address them one by one. For example:
Uncomfortable and out of breath
Any new fitness regime will feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this is a part of it. The fitter you get, the easier it will become and the more your body will adapt to the pressures you're putting on it. Keep reminding yourself of the benefits of cardio exercise.
Feel self conscious
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE feels self conscious when they try out a new gym. Yes, even me. Most gyms will offer a free personal training or induction session when you first join. Take them up on it so you feel more familiar with the space. The first time you go, take your time and plan your workout ahead of time so you know what you're doing.
Gyms can be boring when you're stuck in a routine that's become old or monotonous. Are you listening to music or a podcast? Maybe an audio book would help to keep you entertained. You could try going with a friend too. If you're frustrated because you don't feel your workout is getting you anywhere, try out some classes or something new. But remember to give any new programme a good 6-8 weeks of commitment before you change, consistency is what breeds results.
Exercise is fundamentally good for our health, it doesn't make us ill or angry, and the benefits are huge. So there's no need to carry on dreading it.
Results take time, so whilst you're working towards your goals, remind yourself of why you're doing it. To keep up with the kids, to improve your heart (cardiovascular) health or just to feel good? No-ones telling you to do anything crazy, start simple and work up.
Be proud of what your body is achieving and what it can do, remember the benefits you're seeing. You've got this!