3 reasons your first workout “back” is so damn hard…

Photo of Strand Fitness, Wheaton, IL where I conduct all my in-person training sessions. visit www.strandfitnessllc.com to learn more about training with us.

If you are anything like me, and you are here so I expect you are, you have a very on and off relationship with health and fitness. There are times you are on fire, you are dedicated and you experience results. Then life happens, you “fall off the wagon” and next thing you know, you are back to square one or worse. Many of us have experienced this rollercoaster more times than we can count.

Moving our bodies feels good. We know that we always feel better after our workout… so why is it so hard to get up and do that first workout?

Here are a few things to think about. . .

We associate fitness with dieting and actively trying to lose weight.
Being stuck in the “diet” mentality is draining. Hyper aware of food choices, deprivation and binge cycles, failure at weigh-ins, guilt and defeat. Fitness is a part of that cycle for many of us. A missed workout leads to panic, you become afraid to rest for fear that you won’t pick back up. Workouts are punishment or bargaining chips for unhealthy food choices (I’ll eat these cookies and do an extra 20 minutes of cardio tomorrow). Have you ever really experienced movement for movement’s sake?

We feel guilty about how we have “let ourselves go.”
Women reach out to me all the time longing to get fitness back into their lives, but they are so embarrassed by how “unfit” they have become. The starting point can be uncomfortable. If you used to have a higher level of fitness, there is a sense of failure associated with having lost that. We are afraid to start again because we don’t want to feel failure. That first workout looms heavy because you don’t want to see just how far you have “slipped.” When you think about your starting point, your body right now, what kind of feelings come up?

We don’t know where to start
If you have been “off the wagon” for a while, sometimes it’s hard to know where to get back on. So many women, especially plus size women have never experienced fitness for pleasure before. You may not have a go-to thing that you liked doing, and motivating yourself to get up and do something that you don’t enjoy, that makes you feel bad about yourself, is no easy task.

So now what? You are ready to re-engage with your health, but not sure how. The problem is with your mind, not your body. Your body wants to move, but your head is stuck. It’s drowning in guilt and shame around all your past “failures.” That’s a lot of extra weight to carry, and it makes starting a fitness journey that much harder and heavier. Let yourself believe this mantra:

I am allowed to move my body in ways that feel good, just because they feel good. My own joy is valuable. I do not have to exercise to “lose weight.” I choose my own goals.

Pleasure first
Did you know you are allowed to workout because it feels good? Let me repeat that. You are allowed to workout solely because it feels good for your body. Mentally, that’s important. We need to start breaking the exercise-for-weight-loss-only cycle. Movement feels good for your body, allow it to feel good for your mind too.

Start Small
If you have been exposed to fitness culture for too long, you may start to believe that anything less than 45 minutes a day 5 days a week is pointless. It’s not effective for weight loss or fat loss. It’s basically a waste of time. Bullshit. If you are a busy person, the idea of trying to find that time in your schedule can be enough to keep you from starting. Focus on getting 10 minutes a day.

I encourage my clients to set a timer for 10 minutes and move their body in whichever way feels good. No plan, no stress. Ask your body how it wants to move and go. Oftentimes, when that timer goes off, you’re not ready to stop. Many sweaty dance parties have happened in my kitchen that way =)

Re-evaluate your Goals
Why are you exercising? Is it about weight loss? If it is, I encourage you to re-evaluate that goal. Another option, you can forgo goals altogether. The choice of yours. Exercise can exist for its own sake. You can work your body because it’s good for you, physically and mentally, period.

Need More?
If you need help, if you are unsure of your next steps and want to work with a coach who understands, CLICK HERE and let’s schedule a discovery call! Strategize with someone who sees you as a whole person, not a number on a scale!

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