The Right Perspective on Exercise
© Tina Anderson, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
I am probably like many of you when it comes to some of the reasons I first started exercising. When we were young, it might have been organized sports or a community-based program. Some of you might have competed in college and/or currently compete in triathlons or other competitions. Others start a program after a health scare or after seeing a picture of themselves. Unfortunately, many people are exercising out of fear or as a reaction to improper nutrition, the latter being worse. Today’s blog is about putting exercise in the right perspective.
My time in the gym or wherever I’m working out is literally sacred to me. It’s a block of time to gift myself with de-aging and with a natural high that results from endorphins and tapping into my strength and power. It’s a time for me to focus on empowerment and a time to feel truly alive and connected with my body. It’s a time to release stress and concerns and block out negative or critical thoughts. What it isn’t, is a time to punish myself for eating too much or eating the wrong foods. Yes, I indulge and yes, I overeat at parties or when I’m not paying attention. But, I control my shape through nutrition the following day or longer, if needed. You can’t exercise away a bad diet and believe me, I’ve tried! When you start adding more minutes and even an extra hour or day because you’re terrified of gaining weight it can become a vicious cycle. I know more than a handful of group fitness instructors that taught eight classes a week or more not because they enjoyed teaching that much but because they were scared they would gain weight if they stopped. Having said that, adding an extra workout or a few more miles to pay it forward for an upcoming gathering or right after one is fine and makes total sense. Going harder or longer in a workout or adding extra sets because you feel like superman is the bomb and I love it when my body responds that way and I can take advantage of it. But, that’s different than feeling trapped in an arduous workout routine to prevent weight gain. Exercise to strengthen your mind and body; to reshape your body; to fix flaws and to feel better overall; to compete at your best level or even to rehab or address medical issues. And, of course, exercise to lose body fat and to help you get and maintain your ideal shape and size but in general, use your diet and nutrition to lose body fat and tackle weight loss goals.
Hope this makes a sense and helps you put exercise in perspective. I’ll end with this important reminder: exercise smart so you don’t waste your time and get even more frustrated. Smart means matching your goals to the workout along with what you enjoy. A yoga class yields very different results than a five-mile run, etc.
Now go exercise in peace and have a party in the gym! (BTW, I was one of those instructors but I am long since “recovered” so I speak from experience!)