Are you one of those who found every excuse to skip P.E.?
Does walking into a gym make you feel like if you did those fancy things on that complicated equipment you would fall flat to your face within the first five minutes? Or if you wanted to look like that strong, fit person, it would probably take ten years.
Well, I felt all of those until I had to start exercise as a part of recovery after my illness. There were two kinds of gyms I joined— both with similar amenities but different environments.
There was a poster in my first gym that read "Winners Don't Make Excuses" and we have all heard this one, "No Pain No Gain."
Those first words: "Winners Don't Make Excuses." Are we not winners if we do not exercise? We all have to fight with whatever life throws at us on a daily basis. After all that, we walk into a gym because we have heard exercise helps you feel better. A quote like that can be misleading for beginners and it can make people feel like they lost at everything if they skipped their workout.
"No pain, no gain" for beginners is like taking a test on the first day of class. Those just getting into exercise are being told it is going to hurt, and I am pretty sure the initial reaction would be to turn away.
A fitness trainer at my first gym also asked me to track calories and cut my big breakfast down to avocado and toast. My favorite meal of the day was altered, leaving me quite unhappy. Continually tracking calories became an obsession I just wanted a break from.
Not until I joined another gym did I started loving exercise. It was because of the attitude those trainers had.
Working out did not feel like a task.
The first thing they suggested was to get rid of that calorie counter. No need for added mental stress! Too much holding back only makes those cravings come back with uncontrollable force. When they talked about the flexibility in their own diets, I did not feel like an outsider. I did not feel as if I had to go through so much pain to fit into the world of fitness.
They laid out a beginners exercise plan that worked for me. No pain. Anytime I didn't feel too good, I was merely given a foam roller. Which, by the way, feels amazing. Every time I walked out of that gym, I felt happier and de-stressed, which is what exercise is supposed to be! It should not be a burden.
So, for those wanting to start exercise, start small. Take it easy at first and keep the routines short (I started mine with 15 minutes). If you feel like you are failing to keep up with a strict routine, don't keep track. Give yourself time and leeway. Just as Lao Tzu said, "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
Now that's a quote to live by.