We’ve all probably said the phrase, "I need to go to the gym" at least once in our lifetime. Personally, I feel a negative connotation that comes with this phrase. To many, it’s a place where unrealistic expectations are forced upon oneself, usually by what society tells us what we need to look like.
The gym can be a place that empowers your body and mind.
I believe for most people who go to the gym can be categorized in two main areas. To lose weight (weight is usually the word being used, but in reality it’s body fat most people refer to), or to increase muscle mass (jacked, yoked, swoll, for you gym rats out there).
“This is a place where goals are met.” The typical slogan plastered on a wall of a gym. Quantitative goals such as how much body fat (weight) I need to lose or I want my arms are wide as my face can be detrimental and often times put you in the front seat of this out-of-control rollercoaster of both physical and mental changes. Imagine the mental and physical challenge of someone that lost weight, gained it back to losing it again, and then gaining it all back and then some.
What if I don’t reach your goals? What now? When the gym becomes a place where goals are not met, then it becomes this place of dreadfulness, a place where I don’t want to be. You’ve probably asked yourself this, “why am I doing this to myself?” “This is torture.” “I’m not going anywhere with this.” I’ve seen and heard a lot of similar sentiments from all my years as a personal trainer and fitness coach. It’s depressing. Which will eventually lead you to think (gym = not fun or a place I DO NOT want to go.) How many times have you heard someone say “I need to go to the gym” along with words like ugh… or man… or I don’t want to… or did a meteor fall on the gym today :D?
We all know the benefits exercise and what it does to our body both physically and mentally, but why do so many of us fail to do so consistently month after month, year after year. A person will get motivated because he or she wants to lose a few pounds (body fat) and once they’ve reached their goal it’s back to our old habits. Bring on the ice cream and potato chips! Then those pounds comes rushing back like when hipsters see skinny jeans on sale, and usually bringing more of their lipid friends along. Your story may be different, but you’ve probably heard a similar story over and over again.
The truth is, the gym is a great and useful place to help you improve or maintain your health, physically and mentally. They gym is like a tool box, use the tools inside when it’s useful for you and your goals. They’re many different way you can accomplish your health and fitness goals without ever stepping foot in a gym.
The next time you think to yourself “I need to go to the gym.” Ask yourself, why?
Associating the gym as simply a place to lose body fat or build up lean muscle loses its appeal really fast. Because when you’re not able to hit your goal, then the gym because a place is denial and a place you probably don’t want to be. For most cases, it’s not because you’re not working hard enough. Now you may not know what to do to reach your goals, and that’s where health coaches like myself comes in. I believe the secret to success is first to ask yourself what does losing body fat or building up lean muscle do for me and my life.
Focus on your life goals and NOT a number on a scale. Everyone’s life goals is different, yours may be to pick up your kids without straining your back, or competing in the world’s strongest man competition. Then use the gym as one of your tools to obtain those goals, and it’ll keep you going back consistently time and time again.
So today, when I say I need to go to the gym, I think of what I’m going do there to improve my life both physically and mentally so I can live my life the way I want to. No one is giving me a piggyback ride up Mount Kilimanjaro.
I’ll leave you with this. We all seen bodybuilders both male and female work relentlessly in a gym to obtain their goal of trying to get their biceps an inch bigger or their waist an inch smaller. What drives them is not how big or small their biceps or waist gets. For many, it’s their livelihood. It something that pays their bills. Even for those who do not compete, then it’s more about their confidence, self-worth, ego, and why they consistently go to the gym.
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