A lot of us can relate to the following moments. We are living a comfortably monotonous routine and life merely passing by, one fine day, gives a rude shock. Somebody points out how bent out of shape you are in “jest”, an unexpected diagnosis with a health condition that you thought only other people could get bums you out or while playing with the kids, something somewhere snaps leaving us horrified that our body is not as nimble as before!
Rather than making peace with your age and avoiding any kind of movement even more, listen to the signs crying out for you to get back in shape. Primitive thinking residing at the back of our mind views exercise as a painful discomfort and hence prompts us to avoid it at all times. It is merely a thought holding you back, which you can overcome by creating pleasant associations with physical movement.
Fitness enriches a person with never before felt positivity. Earning toned flat abs and razor straight posture the hard way through exercise and healthy diet makes us respect our body and take pride in it. It instills self-confidence, while keeping us grounded at the same time.
Self-awareness is the first step to break mental barriers. Fight inhibitions and deal with any of the following factors that could be detaining you from taking up exercise seriously.
- Low Self-Esteem:
Sometimes life’s problems pile up in a series of dispiriting events, which overwhelm us to the point of leaving us completely immobilized. If you are strongly dissatisfied with how you look and feel; the only way you can drag yourself out of the shadows is with a series of accomplishments, no matter how small.
When extremely out of shape, the gym environment particularly feels intimidating. However, a decision to make simple amends like walking for 30 minutes daily or giving up simple sugars after 2 pm would be a good place to start. Break down your intentions into the tiniest possible baby steps and once you start taking them, do not let the momentum break to the best of your ability.
- Obsession with physical perfection:
Looking up to celebrities is fine but rather than getting inspired by what they do, if you find yourself possessed by the idea of looking JUST like them in every way possible then your preoccupations have taken an unhealthy turn.
Among today’s vanity driven generation, there is enough disposable income to avail the services of slimming clinics. Still, there is simply no replacement for the holistic benefits of a multi-dimensional exercise program, which also triggers a healthy process of self-acceptance.
If you suffer from poor body image, try out a few physical activities, preferably in a group, to figure out what you see yourself enjoying the most just for the fun of it. As you invest yourself emotionally and get into a deeper groove of daily activity, you will be able to apprehend your body’s weaknesses and take appropriate action with greater ease to progress further in terms of fitness.
- Getting in too deep, too fast:
Often people struggle with patience while trying to achieve the body of their dreams. For instance, a new year is a very popular time for people to make resolutions to get back in shape and join a gym. Nevertheless, over-enthusiasm for quick results might make one push oneself too hard in the very first week to set them up for painful soreness or injury that might be bad enough to quit for good, in the very first week itself.
If you have a tendency to overestimate your abilities, it would be in your favor to have a long discussion with an experienced trainer first. Discuss your fitness history, diet, weight, problem areas and related concerns in detail and formulate a realistic plan with progressive difficulty that also allows for some measure of flexibility for rest days and difficult exercises to begin with.
If you fail to see visible results in the beginning, do not despair and stick with your effort. Constantly hold yourself accountable for where you might be going wrong. Giving up on exercise altogether in defeat, will throw you back even further from what you would like to see yourself as.
Nothing kills the motivation for fitness as the same old boring routine followed on a daily basis. People tend to do the same set of exercises, using the same equipment, set at the same resistance, in the same order for months or even years. No wonder results fail to show!
Diversity in workouts is the key to ensure constant progress no matter how little. If you do not know any better, then request a trainer to create a 4-6 day weekly routine that challenges different parts of your body and different aspects of your fitness on each day of the week. Repeat the routine not more than 3 weeks in a row. Thereafter, ask for a new weekly plan to avoid hitting a plateau. Generating frequent muscle confusion will constantly have you slightly out of your comfort zone, challenge your mind as much as your body and will soon have the two working in seamless tandem.
- Invalidating Diet Plan:
No amount of demanding exercise can out-train a bad diet. Poor nutrition driven fatigue is a common cause why people struggle to keep up with their workouts in the long term and hence feel it is easier to quit.
Those who are constantly low on energy or unduly out of shape need to inspect their daily diet. If the basic guidelines offered by a trainer do not help, then it would be best to hire a nutritionist for a couple of weeks who could help reform the portions and timing of different food groups and better explain the long term repercussions of any junk food or empty calories that you might be consuming knowingly or unknowingly.
- Cluttered time table:
Work, family, a desperate attempt to have a social life and catching up on your favorite TV shows; might leave you mentally far too burned out at the end of the day to consider exercise.
Nevertheless, if you want to get fit bad enough, then one can always plan to take out time. Since, accommodating a new change can feel overwhelming even to the most well intentioned people, it is best to reach out for some help to maintain accountability.
Seek a workout partner to sneak in some exercise on weekends from Friday to Sunday, while socializing at the same time. Alternatively, hit the bed half an hour early to squeeze in twenty minutes of exercise early in the morning on weekdays. These changes may not be substantial enough to bring about radical improvements, but they will give you the confidence to stay in motion at a constant pace in favor of your personal goals.