Finding the motivation to begin, and maintain, an exercise program can sometimes be harder than the workout itself. Attempting to seek out the drive you need to get to the gym, or to yoga class, or to tie your running shoes can often feel like a daunting task. Even though you may understand that developing a routine is exactly what you need to achieve your goals, setting aside the time to do so requires a mental commitment that can create a challenge all of its own.
I believe that the biggest challenge facing us in creating our own healthy lifestyles is the negative stigma that has been created around exercise.
Consider this – does going to the gym sound like a punishment or a reward?
If you’re like most of us, considering the gym as a ‘reward’ sounds straight up false. Who gets through their day and thinks “I’m going to reward myself with a trip to the gym!” Instead, it is often considered a thing you just have to do.
Have you ever told yourself that you have to go to the gym tonight because you ate a donut for breakfast? I know I have. This means that going to the gym is your punishment for indulging.
While it certainly isn’t poor thinking to give yourself an extra push when you’ve had a few extra calories, it is poor thinking if you feel the need to punish yourself with exercise.
We need to change our mindsets!
If we can start to go to the gym not because we feel the need to punish ourselves, but instead because we love our bodies enough to take care of them, we can start to diminish the negative associations with fitness.
LOVE yourself enough to exercise!
LOVE yourself enough to find a workout that feels good, and that you will be proud of.
While this may sound all good and dandy – perhaps you are wondering how to begin changing your fitness mindset! Here are some tips and tricks I give to my clients to start seeing, and feeling a difference:
- STOP food shaming yourself! We are all human. There is a difference between maintaining a healthy balanced diet and beating yourself up for enjoying a piece of cake at your kid’s birthday party. Moderation is your friend.
- STOP body shaming yourself! Love where you are at, and respect yourself.
- Buy workout clothes that you feel GOOD in! Putting on a cute outfit before working out can make you feel on top of the world. You deserve it.
- BEGIN searching for a workout that you enjoy. Working out doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a miserable task. There are SO many different ways to exercise these days, you don’t have to setting for something you don’t enjoy. Try taking a new class, or downloading a new workout craze video like Oula or Zumba!
- BEGIN seeking a workout buddy. Exercise is more fun with friends. If it feels outside of your comfort zone to workout with somebody else, look for an accountability buddy! Together you can work to motivate each other to not only exercise, but also to find a program you enjoy.
Abby Gray is a fitness professional located in NE Minneapolis. She has been working in the industry as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for eight years. She has specialized in boxing, kickboxing, weight training, and aerial. She is currently an instructor at The Aviary based out of NE Minneapolis and Minnetonka, at weRow – an (indoor) rowing studio in NE Minneapolis, and works independently through her brand Abby Gray Wellness with personal fitness instruction and nutrition consultation.
She has a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology (focus in Exercise and Health Sciences) from the University of MN, and a Masters of Science in Exercise Science from Concordia University, St. Paul. She lives with her fiancé Ben, puppy Wyvern, and two cats Isaac and Isabelle. In her free time, she is passionate about building her own personal fitness and aerial arts skills, and loves partnering with local businesses to bring fitness and nutrition to our community.