As the gyms are beginning to die down from all the New Year’s resolution hype, so does the determination of many resolution setters. Prior to the new year, people are obsessed with the idea of getting on more efficient and regular workout tracks and dieting plans. Although this could be seen as a good thing by most people, Americans are going about the process all wrong, and are upset when their goals and aspirations are not achieved or even improving at all by the end of January.
The first notable issue is our attitude towards fitness. Most people I know that ramble on about fitness all workout for the same reason: they want to look good. Now, the aesthetic side of practicing fitness is definitely an added bonus, don’t get me wrong. However, people will find themselves more successful if they view their workout session as a time of therapy or an allotted time for self-improvement. When I say self-improvement, I DO NOT mean improvement of appearance. I mean inner-improvement; mentally and physically. What is seen on the outside is much less relevant than how strong you are internally. If going to the gym becomes more of a haven for your mental state where you can release all of your stress and anxiety through a punching bag, yoga pose, distance run, you will find yourself actually looking forward to this time of self-therapy, and will not be closely monitoring weight loss and toning results.
Another flaw people have when approaching fitness is preparation. It is essential to prepare ahead of time when you are most energetic and to commit yourself to that time each day you hit the gym. If working out at home or at the gym is treated as an appointment, (written on your calendar or in your personal planner) then it will be much easier to not make up an excuse not to exercise for a given day. For example, if working out in the morning is extremely difficult since you are not a morning person whatsoever, then make a point to exercise every week day after school at the same time. Same goes for if you have more energy in the morning than you do after school. Regardless of the time you choose, it quickly becomes a routine and will become less challenging over time.
Along with preparation is organization. Once it’s decided WHEN you will workout, you will find yourself much more successful if you also plan out HOW you will workout. As opposed to showing up at the gym and eyeballing the machines until it magically comes to you what you feel like doing for the day, you should have a written up plan; each week being mostly the same. For example, Mondays could consist of cardio and legs, Wednesday’s cardio and arms, and Fridays cardio, back, and core. With the exception of varying cardio exercises, a generally similar weekly routine will make your time at the gym much more attainable and stress-free.
Like I had mentioned earlier, the goal for many people at the gym is too look good. We need to start taking our outwards goals and focusing them inward. Instead of saying, “I really want abs” say, “I’m going to push even harder in order for my core to be stronger than ever, it is the base of my body after all.” Instead of “I need my arms to look ripped” say, “I’m going to challenge my body at the gym to prove to myself that I can push through anything and become mentally and physically stronger because of it.” Regardless of your goals, make a plan so you can alter your workouts in order to see their results.
Once you find what works for you, you will learn that fitness is a lifestyle, not a temporary change. Become dedicated to your body, and grateful that it is able to function and push hard when faced with extremely challenging exercise. Not everybody has the luxury of a fully-functioning body, so don’t under-utilize yours. Your body was built to be great, and to do great things. You can do this.