In my prenatal yoga class over the weekend, a woman whose due date is right around mine said that she feels very lethargic these days and she misses the energy she felt in the second trimester. (At the start of each class, we go around the room and every woman says her name, how far along she is, etc.) Her remark gave me pause; I'm not sure if I'm feeling energetic because I'm feeling energetic or I'm forcing myself to feel that way. Does that make sense?
Prenatal yoga is hands down my least favorite workout of the week, but I do it because I hear it's good for labor and I also feel that I owe yoga a lot: it's the first form of fitness I did consistently back in 2011 when I committed myself to live a happier, healthier life. Yoga made me hyper aware of my body which in turn motivated me to eat better and move more. These days I think of it as more of a workout for my mind than my physical being, but I do appreciate the stretch!
We all have mental and emotional roadblocks to overcome when it comes to fitness. For some of us, we're just getting started and the unknown is scary. Perhaps the temptation to compare yourself to others is proving to be a real motivation-killer. And I think for all of us, we have to do what I call "get comfortable being uncomfortable." It's called a WORKout for a reason, right?
Today I want to talk about pushing through those mental hurdles. Oftentimes we let our mind get in the way of our body, and it can be damaging not only to our self-esteem but to our fitness! Here are five thoughts I want you to keep in mind the next time you're doubting yourself on the pavement, in the studio, or elsewhere.
1. You're lucky to be there. If you have the means - physically, financially, mentally, emotionally, etc - to exercise, you're lucky. If you have the time and the energy to dedicate to your continued well-being, you're fortunate. Above all else, be grateful for your drive, determination and health. (You're already there and in so many ways - that's half the battle!)
2. Only you can make it worth your while. Those weights aren't going to lift themselves and the instructor isn't going to do the set for you. If you leave the gym feeling accomplished and amazing, that's all you! But if you leave knowing you could have - and should have - done more, that's on YOU and no one else. Put your head down and get to work!
3. You are not worse (or better!) than anyone else around you. The temptation to compare yourself to others can be crippling - I know. Push that thought and instead focus on the fact that you and everyone around you is where they are to better THEMSELVES and no one else. We're all at different points of our health and fitness journey, but it's almost too easy to open up Instagram and see some figure competitor or fitness model and think, "Why not me?" Stop putting your behind-the-scenes, cutting floor dirty work up next to someone else's front page news or vice versa. Use that energy to focus on YOUR progress and betterment!
4. You are stronger than you think you are. You had the will to get there, and you have the will to keep going, even if you don't feel like it. Cheesy but true: you can't spell 'challenge' without 'change'. If you want one, you've got to learn to embrace the other, too.
5. You WILL feel better afterward. Last week, I mentioned having a mantra that keeps you motivated. Mine has long been, "I will regret skipping, but I'll never regret going." I don't depend on it as much as once days, but there will always be days when I'm feeling sluggish and know I can dig this up in a pinch to will myself to keep going. Elle Woods WAS RIGHT. The endorphins are REAL and I can pretty much guarantee you will feel better after your workout than you did before it! Something to look forward to!
What's your biggest mental hurdle at the gym?
Photo taken by DAG Photography.