3 things you should know to have a sustainable fitness- oriented lifestyle.
So you’re just starting out at the gym, or perhaps you’re back after that 6 month break you took for no reason.
Anyway, no judgment here, I promise. You walk through the big glass doors and all around you people are radiating awesome… or maybe just sweating profusely. But there’s a sense of greatness in the air as endorphins are being secreted everywhere.
You pick up a dumbbell big enough to make your self- consciousness evaporate, or set the treadmill to a speed that will leave your self- doubt miles behind you. And as you start, every muscle in your body fills with regret. You’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Hopefully you’ll just pass out and you won’t have to see the people stare at you.
Okay that was super dramatic, but you get what I mean, right? If you kind of get what I mean, that’s cool too. Let me elaborate:
I’ve never been the fittest person, nor have I had the most stunning physique you’ve ever seen. However, I have recently started to sincerely reevaluate my health and changed my lifestyle accordingly.
Now, before you start thinking “Geez, this shit is pessimistic…” I urge you to try not to be conscious of these things, and let me know how it goes. No, don’t do that, just keep reading.
What follows are a few things I made sure to remind myself of, or get loved ones to remind me of when I started out, and as I continue my journey towards the goals I’ve set for myself. When you start a lifestyle change, it’s best that you remember that. Everyone sweats at the gym; but if you are self-conscious outside of the gym you should grab some underarm sweat pads to help reduce sweat stains on your shirts.
It’s not about other people
Your goals are not about other people’s expectations. Yes, that sounds like some corny quote from some Tumlr feed somewhere, but it’s true. Far too often people are trying to push themselves beyond their limits, or picturing the summer body they want to show off.
No idea what that last one’s doing there… Anyway, this form of motivation is not sustainable. If, on the other hand, you’re doing it to improve your health and overall standard of living- you’ve got a winner. Why? Because when you view your gym routine as part of a lifestyle, you see the bigger picture: how many more facets of your life are being positively affected by the constructive changes you’ve implemented.
For instance, how you feel less tired and sluggish; how there are suddenly more hours in a day; how refreshing- as opposed to torturing- a good workout can feel; and how your mind, not only your body, is improving as well.
The amount of weight you lift or kilometers you run has nothing to do with the intimidating jock or super flexible Yoga instructor doing their thing right next to you.
“Your goals are not about other people’s expectations.”
Once you make it about you, do what you can manage- but keep challenging yourself– I guarantee you’ll see results before you expect it. This being said, you need to keep in mind that…
It’s going to feel like crap when you start out
So you got through that first session, and you’re feeling great. You head home, grab a shower, get to bed, and then… You wake up the next morning and you’re fine!
However, the next (yes the second) day you’re going to feel like a truck and a bus had a baby, and that baby was a mutant freak piece of machinery that found you, and killed you by driving over you. It’s usually the second day after you gym that is murderous on the body.
Those who have experienced this know that it’s probably the main thing that will make you lose momentum. This can happen when you start, or when you are splitting your workouts by isolating an area of your body each time you gym.
It’s not the only thing that can get you. You should know that what you think is working for you and what really does, often will not align. I see overweight people pumping iron like it’s going to burn that belly away; and I also see scrawny people (trying to bulk up) running like they’re being chased by Godzilla.
Do some research before you start: know what your BMI is, and find some articles where people similar to you, with reference to body type, weight, health conditions and so on explain things you should know and tactics you can implement when you are working out. This will help decrease the pain, and increase the gain- or loss- depending on what you’re aiming at. And when you’re aiming, please keep in mind that…
It’s a journey, not an event!
Don’t let those endorphins after a great workout play tricks on you! Do not construct an unreal version of the results you got from that one awesome gym session.
“Unrealistic goals will not only kill your routine, but your self- esteem.”
Once the awesome feeling wears off, you’ll notice that you lied to yourself, and you’ll end up shame-eating or shame- smoking or shame-not-going-to-gym-again…ing.
Accept that you’re not going to see results overnight; that you may need to tweak your workout- and diet– in order to see any kind of progress over the mid to long term.
Unrealistic goals will not only kill your routine, but your self- esteem. Instead of striving for something unattainable, rather enjoy what you’re doing and let the results be a by- product of a new- or old- awesome hobby that makes you feel good in the literal sense.
Starting out at the gym, whether from scratch or if you’re making a return can be extremely strenuous on the body and mind, but don’t let that discourage you. Remember that it’s all about you, and even though it will be daunting at first, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
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