Find Joy in Your Workout
"Wow, I really regret that workout" -No One Ever.
This quote pops up a lot on my Instagram feed and I love it. It’s so true, think about every time you’ve made yourself go to the gym or a class that you didn’t really feel like going to and then remember what a rock star you felt like after. Our present selves don’t always love working out but our future selves love the work we put in. With all the stress you deal with, you want to sprinkle some happiness in here and there so your workout doesn’t become just one more thing adding pressure to your day. Develop a mind body connection to fitness, your mindset can dramatically change your work out and you’ll want to stick with it.
So here’s five tips to keep your fitness practice joyful:
1. Make your work out your safe place to go.
Your fitness practice should help calm the crazy and quiet the mental static. It’s a place you can go to get centered, get stronger, take a min vacation from your stress, and then face the world again. It’s a little gift you can give to yourself. Teach yourself to see your workout as something you need when you are stressed rather than something you avoid, you’ll be amazed at how much easier and more enjoyable it is to work out with this mindset.
2. Step by step.
It might start with something as silly as “These are my favorite socks” or “These shoes look so cool”. “I need an excuse to wear this shirt” Sometimes a new pair of shoes will walk you to the gym, just so you have an excuse to wear them. Think of getting ready to work out as a min ritual or a tribute to your fabulous self.
3. Love your tunes. There is an amazing, universal, primal human reaction to music. We tap our feet, clap hands, sing a long possibly even dance around. Cue up your favorite song, no one needs to know that you’ve listened to it ten times already. Play a triumphant song as you commute to your workout. Yes, you know the Rocky theme by heart but if it makes you want to conquer a workout play it again! Set the mood for your fitness journey from the moment you leave your home. If you are working out on your own, make a playlist all of your favorite songs that make you feel powerful and energized (full disclosure I’m a big fan of the Hamilton soundtrack lately but I will listen to absolutely anything). Working with people privately I have playlists that cover everything from Jay Z to Rachmaninoff. If it makes you happy and work hard then play on! Own your work out musically! Another benefit to group classes is that usually the music is selected for you, listen to that music the instructor probably chose it or a reason allow it to get you in the zone.
4. Look for your favorite moments. During your warm up notice what parts you like best. “That quad stretch just gave my legs some life I did know they needed” Notice that the first little movements make your body wake up and feel alive. You are getting the kinks out. Who doesn’t feel a little proud of their soreness too? Notice if you are a little sore or tight from the day before and give yourself a min high-five for using your bod. As you start to move notice how your breath warms your body, you generate heat, your joints loosen up, you break a sweat. Take joy in the fact your body is a machine and you’re revving the engine. Find little moments of progress, maybe you bumped your weights up five pounds or you held a plank ten seconds longer. You might have hated those mountain climbers last week but today they might even be a little fun because you can go a little faster. Remind yourself that working out above all else should be fun, you are totally allowed to enjoy yourself!
5. Smile baby! When you work out you are literally putting stress on your body but this type of stress should feel like a relief. Keep your stress positive. Smiling helps, I know this sounds crazy but, during the toughest part of a work out I try to smile a time or two. Sometimes it’s because I’m thinking “Wow this is hard and I’m a crazy person for doing this on purpose” but sometimes is because “I am giving this all I’ve got and I love this challenge” You don’t need to force a smile the whole time (unless you’re trying to make people around you think you’re up to something and if that keeps you going, why not?!). But every now and again give it a shot. It makes you breathe and it keeps your work out positive. It helps relax the stress muscles we all use too much and makes your work out a happy place where stress can go away rather than drive your every movement.
You have to think of your mental form being as important as your physical form, it might not happen right away and it takes practice. But remember, you are in control of how you chose to feel about fitness and you might as well be joyful because we could all use a bit more happiness in our lives!