5 THINGS TO (ALWAYS) KEEP IN MIND AT THE GYM

Happy Monday! So I know everyone is thrilled that January is over, but honestly, February is when and where so many of our goals and resolutions go to die. Let's face it: flu season is worse than ever, the damn groundhog saw his shadow, and in general this is that time of year when it's truly tough to see that light at the end of the tunnel we call, "Spring!"

I know a lot of personal trainers and fitness instructors will motivate you to workout now because summer will be here before you know it. I understand this tactic doesn't work for everyone, but even if you don't give a shit about "tank top arms," here's what I DO know - you give a shit about SOMETHING. 

Your reasons for living a happy, healthy life may shift over time. In fact, they should! What currently motivates you to want to be BETTER? To work harder, to sleep more, to eat better? Is it an event or a timeline? Is it an overall feeling? Is it something you're still striving to define?

I dare you to look at yourself in the mirror today and say, "What's keeping me motivated? How am I holding myself accountable?"

Here's my current list:

- First and foremost I want to be my happiest, healthiest, best and most energetic self for my baby girl (due in just over 5 weeks). 

- I miss my pre-baby body. I want it back.

- We have a baby naming, two weddings and a family beach vacation planned for the summer and fall. I want to be comfortable in my own skin at these events and not feel like I have to hide under cardigans and cover-ups.

Now, a lot of this will be accomplished by sleep and nutrition, without a doubt. But for me, I'm at my happiest and healthiest when I'm making my workouts a priority 5-6 times a week. The gym is my happy place, and even if it isn't yours yet, I challenge you to keep these five things in mind during your next trip there. I think you'll be surprised by how much better it all feels when you do.

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1. Just because someone else is doing it doesn't mean you should. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a member or colleague I admire performing a specific exercise and thought "Cool! I wanna do that!" but the truth is that not every move is right for everyone. And what's more, tempting as it may be to try something new, we all have different strengths, goals and limitations. I love watching other people box jump, but after breaking my ankle last year, I don't know that I'll ever truly feel comfortable doing those again. If you're truly interested or curious about an exercise you saw that you think might be relevant to your own programming, do some research or talk to a pro first!

2. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. DO NOT FORCE SOMETHING that feels painful or wrong.  I don't live by that old motto, "No pain, no gain." Soreness after a workout is one thing... pain during it is quite another. Listen to your gut!      

3. Not every workout will be your best. And while that may sound depressing now, it'll keep you coming back for more. There are days when a barbell feels light as a feather and other days when I feel like I'm moving through quicksand and can't believe how heavy everything seems. After most workouts I leave the gym feeling pretty good or at least decent, but once in awhile I walk away totally victorious - or completely defeated. Not every day be - or should be - a slam dunk. Revel in the wins and let the tough times humble you. 

4. You're stronger than you think you are. I'm not telling you to lift 100 pounds over your head right outta the gate. But I do want you to be really mindful and thoughtful of your strength throughout your workout. If you're breezing through sets with 15lb dumbbells in each hand, why not try the 17.5lbs?

5. Rome wasn't built in a day (and neither were you). It sort of boggles my mind to think that my daughter has been in my tummy for a good 8 months (and she's still cooking!) Good things TAKE TIME. One thing I always stress to my clients is to BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Crash diets are called just that for a reason; you may see results quickly but history shows us they're almost always temporary. Patience is key here. Your body will not change overnight or over a week. The best way to create long-lasting change is to find the right healthy lifestyle for YOU and stick to it!

So I'll ask again. What's motivating you?

Photo taken by DAG Photography.