We’ve all seen those ads. The ripped model dripping in sweat, exhausted from a grueling workout. There’s usually some quote about conquering or surviving. Part of me feels inspired because I admire those athletes and I think the human body is amazing, but I also find myself thinking, “you worked out… You didn’t go into battle… Relax.”
As a fitness professional, I struggle with these ads. I do get it. For people who enjoy high intensity challenges, that feeling of pushing our limits creates pride, confidence, and a lot of feel-good hormones. We don’t have to feel like that every time we go to the gym though and I want you to understand that. We don’t need to feel the pressure to constantly perform at 110%.
Fitness doesn’t have to be so hard. Unless you’re a soldier or professional athlete, you don’t have to train like one. Similarly, you don’t have to be a chef to make lunch.
Suppose my doctor told me that in order for me to eat, I need to buy the best cookware, rearrange my kitchen, become a gourmet chef, and use exactly the right spices, precisely measured ingredients, and put my absolute best effort into making my food every time I cook or else I shouldn’t eat. It would be awful to have to adjust my life in that way. Can’t I just make a sandwich?
I see this struggle with people every day. They try to adjust their lifestyle to do what they believe they must to get fit. They fill their Pinterest pages with airbrushed photos of exhausted elite athletes dripping in sweat with 10% body fat wearing next to nothing. They push themselves to their limits and judge their workouts by how sore they are the next day. They buy all sorts of powders and pills. They start off motivated, but soon, they have to psych themselves up to work out again. Then they criticize themselves if they don’t perform how they think they needed to. It’s mentally and physically exhausting and it can’t be maintained.
It doesn’t have to be so hard. You need to move. That’s it!
You don’t have to be exhausted or sore after every workout. It’s not true that you have to give it your all and have a warrior mentally to be fit. You shouldn't have to psych yourself up to do something good for your body. If you don’t believe me, stand up right now, reach up to the ceiling, twist side-to-side, breathe deep and shake your legs. Sit back down. Feel a difference? Just that simple movement made you feel good. Moving should feel good. It shouldn’t be an intimidating activity that only elite athletes do. Your body needs it, but it should be a stress reliever, not a stressor. Remember, it’s your workout.
Love your workouts. Don’t fear them.