How to find your fitness nirvana…and never say ‘I hate exercise again!’
Do you remember back to when you were little and there was no such thing as ‘exercise’…you just played, moved your body and had fun.
I look at my kids today, currently 8 and 10, and although they have been influenced by me in terms of wanting to ‘model’ exercise, in other words, they want to do what mum does…it’s not necessarily a conscious thought for them. They see me doing things that they want to try – period.
Unfortunately when we grow up, exercise can become a dirty word or scary idea and another one of those things you may tell yourself “you should be doing more of”.
Here are 3 common problems that prevent many woman from finding their exercise nirvana.
PROBLEM 1 – Unhelpful childhood experiences
Unless you are a naturally sporty kid, formal exercise like school and weekend sports can feel hard and sometimes embarrassing. A friend of mine who has a daughter hates to run. Her little girl avoids all school activities where running is involved and I have even heard her say “I’m so bad at running”.
This saddens me because the real issue is that she has not yet found the perfect type of exercise that suits HER body – running is obviously not the right thing for her. She has a strong build and boy is she strong.
Yet because running is more mainstream, and exercises that involve strength are not available at her age, she is left feeling ‘not as good’ as the other kids. She is one of the many females who may grow up feeling like her body has let her down.
THE SOLUTION – think outside the square
If you have a daughter similar to my friend, help her identify what movements make her body feel amazing and her confidence sky rocket.
There are so many different activities kids can try these days like material arts, horse riding, wind surfing, ice skating, skateboarding and so on – things that may be slightly less accessible or mainstream but are far more likely to help the child feel they are capable of using their bodies in an awesome way. Coincidently, you might like to try the same process on yourself!
PROBLEM 2 – Exercise that is attached to the sole goal of weight loss
In the 24 years I have been a Trainer I have experienced many different ways to exercise…not all of them I loved either. In fact, the ones that I hated the most were typically those that were attached to ‘traditional weight loss.’
Long distance running is one of those and is touted by many in the fitness industry as the ideal way to drop weight. However this is not the case for all people – some will experience weight drop off whilst others won’t and that’s all down to genetics, lifestyle and hormonal health.
I would be a rich woman if I had a dollar for the number of times I have been asked why I have not done a half or full marathon. People assume because you are fit that you are keen or capable of running long distances.
I know my body could do it, but it would likely become injured in the process and I would hate every moment of it. I’m the ‘short sharp, get in and get it done’ kind of exerciser. The thought of running for 3 hours would feel equal to someone stabbing needles into my eyeballs.
Now I’m not saying it’s a bad form of exercise. On the contrary, I have friends who love running, it gives them freedom and space to just chill out and it suits their body type. However it’s not my kind of exercise and in fact tends to promote fat gain, not loss with me.
THE SOLUTION – Check in with how you feel
If you are thinking of starting an exercise program, ask yourself one question…how does it make you FEEL when you do it?
If you hate the thought of boot camps and feel horrible every moment you are doing it, then change to something else that your body loves more.
It’s often thought that hard exercise is the thing that creates a leaner physique. That is not true. Exercise can build a strong, resilient and energetic body which creates confidence. What you put in your mouth, your sleep quality, the level of stress you experience on a daly basis (both internal and external) and your hormones will directly affect whether you lose body fat, build lean muscle or stay as you are.
I work holistically with women to help them to put all of the pieces of their unique puzzle together so they get the result they want and in a way thats sustainable and enjoyable.
PROBLEM 3 – Telling yourself porky pies (lies)
Just because some mean kid in primary school laughed at you when you tripped over at the cross country race or a nasty girl in high school told you it was ‘uncool’ to exercise and that boys don’t like strong girls…does not mean you have to believe it today!
However these experiences are often what hold adults back from enjoying exercise, whatever form that may be. What we believe about something is how we behave. But what if that belief was not actually true?
I am currently working with an amazing lady who was extremely fearful of exercising. She told herself for years that her body was not capable of doing anything other than walking, it was not strong enough and that she would hurt herself if she tried. In fact she told me she hated to exercise!
But that was over a year ago…now she is moving in ways that she never though possible. At her session this week she said that she was hooked…that she felt really ‘blah’ when she didn’t exercise. She hasn’t turned into some cross fit junkie or hard core boot-camper…she is an awesome woman exercising at a level she is comfortable with and doing exercise that makes her feel confident and strong in her body.
THE SOLUTION – Challenge your beliefs!
So you can guess what my solution for this problem is…it’s to challenge those long held, not so useful beliefs about what exercise means for you.
A really easy way to do this is to close you eyes and remember back to the time in your childhood where you just moved your body…what did you love doing then? Was it dancing, bike riding, swimming, throwing a ball…you get my point.
It’s this memory that might give you an idea of what – as an adult – you might like to try or get back into. If you are a little hesitant, rope in a friend and get them to be your ‘wingman’. The only thing you have to lose is the belief that’s been holding you back.
As a child I always wanted to be a dancer, but at age 3 I was told I was ‘too heavy for ballet’. After that I wasn’t encouraged to do dance lessons (I think it was my mums way of protecting me from further hurtful comments).
I’m now approaching 42 and have just signed up to my first dance class program called Ladies Athena Dance and after only 2 sessions I LOVE IT !!! Yes I was nervous at the first lesson, but I chose a class with women of similar ability and age, and the teacher is just beautiful.
I don’t have any aspirations to become a world class dancer, but I do love that one of my long held beliefs is no longer ruling my life.
So my suggestion to you is this…
Make 2016 YOUR YEAR to discover that your body CAN do whatever it is you want it to, regardless of age, experience or ability. Exercise, movement, activity…call it what you will…but our bodies were meant to move and in doing so you will not only bring about positive change to your physical self…but also a positive shift in your mindset as well.
Lisa Mills Xx
PS…I LOVE this new initiative by The Department of Health which focuses on encouraging women and girls to ‘Make their move’ which means getting out there, getting active, focusing on energy and moving their bodies. They have lots of ideas, activities and stories about how you can MAKE YOUR MOVE. Check out the website – CLICK HERE