"Beware the person selling Suffering as Dedication, Exhaustion as Virtue and Obsession as Health." –Brad Pilon, Author of Eat Stop Eat
If you’re having difficulty finding motivation to exercise and/or diet, looking for the best possible workout plan may not be the most efficient approach. Looking for the 3 magic foods that burn belly fat, or that one weird trick that helps build crazy muscle won’t help either. Nope. One thing that may be beneficial to you is changing your mindset.
Too many people view exercise and diet the wrong way. They’re entirely focused on results and set not only high, but unrealistic expectations. Another mistake people make is viewing exercise as a fat burning tool, as it can lead to rewarding yourself with more food afterwards, and if you think you can outrun a bad diet, you can’t. Finally, if you think that exercise has to be torturous or painful in order for you to reap the benefits, you’ll quickly drop your exercise regime and stay home to watch Game of Thrones or Walking Dead (Pretty sure Glenn is being killed off). Using any of these approaches could lead you to become disappointed, frustrated, and end up quitting before achieving the benefits exercise has to offer. You know, looking good, improving confidence, boosting self-esteem, mood, and some boring stuff about your heart.
Now, approaching exercise with a sense of enjoyment has been shown to be a great predictor in adherence. It’s all about your mindset. If you see exercise as a chore, then you’ll end up being active as often as you find yourself sweeping under the rugs and behind the sofa. Clients have often asked me, “What’s the best cardio machine for weight loss?” or “What’s the best exercise to burn fat?”. The best exercise is the one you will actually DO, and to assure that you will actually do it, you’re going to have to have some fun with it.
So how do you create a positive mindset when it comes to exercising?
Find an activity that you enjoy. Be aware of the activities you like, when you like to do them, and with whom, so you can develop a routine that you like to follow. It could be anything from aerobic classes, to walking, to soccer, but find something that gives you pleasure. The enjoyment can come from having a great fitness instructor, sociable peers, or being competent and capable when performing the activity.
Listen to music. Turn up your favorite tunes, whether it’s Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, DJ unzt unzt, or Justin Beiber (we’re not judging, okay, maybe a little if you like Justin). Music can alter your mood to an energetic and positive state. If you’re feeling blue and it seems like you’re dragging your feet just to get to your workout, crank up some upbeat tunes!
Stop doing exercises that you dread. Absolutely hate doing deadlifts? Don’t do them! Sure they can be a great exercise, but if the idea of doing them sounds like torture, you’re better off doing something else instead. Replacing a useful exercise you dislike with one you enjoy can actually help you follow your exercise regime.
Mix it up. Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be stuck at the gym lifting weights and running on the treadmill for hours on end. Head outside once in awhile, or step outside of your comfort zone (with a friend of course) and try yoga, a weeknight outdoor soccer league, or join a spin club. Chances are if you’re bored of what you’re doing, you won’t enjoy it, and as a result you won’t continue.
Prepare and get hyped up about it. Know what you want to do so you’re ready to take on the day. If you wake up and you have no idea what workout you will be doing at the gym, most often times than not, you will just end up not going. Get a program from a trainer or text your friend the night before and plan a run after work.
Remember, the goal is to get you to the gym, or wherever it is that you train. As aforementioned, the best exercise program, or exercise for that matter, is one you will actually do on a consistent basis. The next time you work out, find something you like about it. You might just stick around.
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About the Authors:
Alessandro Tirelli, BEd, MA
Physical and Health Education Teacher
Specializes in External Influences of Eating Behaviour
Alessandro is a teacher specializing in physical and health education. He pretty much enjoys all sports, and any physical activity, even yoga. He believes anyone can get fit; it just takes one step to start. He also prides himself on being a candy connoisseur and is currently looking for someone to employ him as one.
Camille Charbonneau, BEd, MHK
Mental Performance Consultant, Peak Perform
Certified Personal Trainer
Camille’s passions are health and fitness as she loves to help others change their lifestyle and develop healthy habits. When she is not playing rugby, weight lifting, teaching or coaching about physical and mental fitness, she enjoys working with children. Camille loves to travel and hopes to one day make it to the Olympics as a Mental Performance Consultant for Canadian athletes.
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