This year has really seen the explosion of ‘fitspo’ from Instagram models who can now make a living off squats, unsubtle detox tea and protein shake promotions. And then there’s Victoria’s Secret models sharing their multiple daily workouts getting ready for the show. You know, the usual amount of activity that absolutely no one with a full-time job could relate to. The pressure to have a six-pack and complete the squat challenge had us all rushing to the gym…#thestruggleisreal. But all I want you to think about is why? Are you feeling pressured by society? Or are you looking to enhance your health and fitness to live life with more energy and strength?
I remember trying to hide at the back of the gym class, and skip every push-up when the instructor wasn’t looking. I bought cycling shorts that looked like a diaper to try and ease the pain of the rock hard spin seat before my booty swallowed it whole as substitute for lunch. Images of those Angels ingrained in my head made me want to finish the 200 sit-ups even though, deep down, I knew unless I only ate lettuce the rest of my life, it wasn’t a realistic goal. (I exaggerate a little bit when I say only lettuce, but not much). So I had a love-hate relationship with exercise, I thought it was the only way I could attain the “dream body” (that the media tricked me into desiring,) but loathed every minute. That was about six years ago. Now I have a very respectful relationship with working out, and I miss it when I can’t get to a gym at least 3 days a week.
That all changed for me when I learnt that working out was for me, not to look like a supermodel. I wanted to be the best version of me because you can’t alter who you are, or your body shape. But you can be fitter and stronger. As soon as I changed why I was working out, I started creating healthy obtainable goals and challenging myself to improve, not for anyone else. I make time and don’t rush working out but also I feel no guilt if I can’t make it for a week. I fully nourish myself before and after so I don’t pass out, and can push myself fully. I also drink a protein shake after to replenish my muscles, helping them heal.
With this in mind, here are 12 ways to start loving your workouts.
1. Retrain your negative thoughts and start thinking about how working out makes you fitter and stronger.
2. Set realistic goals for yourself.
3. Try out a range of exercises from pilates, swimming or weights. Find what you enjoy.
4. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t go.
5. Write down how you feel after exercise. I have never regretted a workout.
6. Don’t make excuses. You are worth more than that. Be a women of your word. Instead of finding excuses that you don’t have time, allocate time because the time spent working out is personal investment into your future health.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others, and the same goes for the gym.
8. Find a playlist full of songs you love. Or, make one yourself.
9. Treat working out as a reward, relieve your stress, or use it as meditation. Focusing solely on a certain exercise can relieve stress and anxiety.
10. Take a friend or your partner.
11. Think about all those wonderful endorphins you’ll create.
12. Do it for YOU.
If you don’t already, I hope you can begin loving exercise as much as I do. I’ve started filming my favorite workouts, and I’m excited to share them with you right here on RunwayRiot.
Photo courtesy of Instagram
Iskra Lawrence’s Fun Skipping Cardio Routine to Get Your Whole Body WarmSelf-Care Saturday: How I Recovered From the Media’s Unhealthy Beauty Ideals