Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons people give for not being interested in work out. It wasn’t that many years ago that I was one of them!
Here are a few things that used to be barriers for me when it came to getting healthier and stronger.
Feeling Disconnected from Fitness Culture
How I Dealt With It: I stopped trying to connect with it.
I’m tentatively hoping to write a couple of posts about my impressions of fitness culture in general later on this spring, but for now I’ll say that this is a complicated topic that I have a lot of thoughts about. There is absolutely nothing wrong with structuring your life around becoming as fit as possible…but that sort of strict attention to detail doesn’t work for me personally.
Yes, I eat a healthy diet and have found several forms of exercise that I love. These are interests I deeply enjoy discussing with people who share them. There are so many different workout routines and diets out there that I always enjoy discovering what has and hasn’t worked for other people.
With that being said, I do not want to filter every morsel of food I eat or every other decision I make through this lens. This technique seems to work beautifully for some fitness enthusiasts, but I’m the sort of person who needs to have those occasional breaks – and I’m not only talking about food here – in order to stay interested in following my diet and exercise plan the rest of the time.
How I Dealt With It: I drilled down to what it was exactly about working out that made me dread the thought of it and chose alternative forms of exercise.
To make a long story short, it turns out that competition is my kryptonite, I do not enjoy running at all, and I’ve never met a team sport that I found enjoyable.
Kudos to those of you who like them. They’re simply not stuff that appeals to me personally.
Since at least one of those three things were present in the vast majority of the workouts I did in gym class, it took a long time for me to tease them away from my thoughts on exercising in general.
Once I realized that I enjoy dancing, lifting weights, and brisk walking, it became a lot easier to fit those things into my regular routine. I’m always open to trying other forms of exercise, too, now that I know that my dislike of this activity isn’t universal.
Not Wanting to Start
How I Dealt With It: I agreed to do some sort of physical movement for five minutes before re-evaluating how I’m feeling that day.
This isn’t a mind trick, either.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, there have been times when I stopped after five minutes of exercise and decided to take the rest of that day off even if I wasn’t injured, sick, or in pain.
By skipping that one session every once in a great while, I maintain the motivation to continue working out the other 99% of the time. This seems like a fantastic trade-off to me.
Perfectionism is a trap.
Five minutes of exercise is better than zero minutes.
Not only that, but I’ve found that the hardest part of any workout is actually getting it started. If you can convince yourself to start the routine, it often feels much easier to finish it than to stop partway through.
Feeling Frustrated with My Progress
How I Dealt With It: I set goals and made observations about things that had nothing to do with the numbers on a scale, measuring tape, or body fat percentage.
This isn’t to say those numbers are unhelpful, but they’re far from the whole picture when you’re trying to figure out if your fitness program accomplishing its goals.
One of the first changes I noticed when I began exercising regularly again about five years ago was how much more energy I had.
Suddenly, I was sleeping better and not feeling so drowsy in the afternoon.
That wasn’t something I’d anticipated at all when I first began working out, so taking note of it was a sign that I was moving in the right direction.
A reduction in the amount of anxiety I was feeling was the next helpful sign. This happened weeks before the numbers on the scale nudged down enough for me to realize it wasn’t a fluke and I was slowly losing weight.
What are your ghosts of fitness past?