Fitness isn’t all cardio, lifting, stretching, and so on. If you’re not already exercising with an established workout routine that pushes you outside your comfort zone, it can be difficult just to get the ball rolling towards your goals. Besides physical limitations, the greatest obstacle to overcome in achieving fitness goals is the mentality with which you begin training.
If you start working out with a feeling of pressure to lose weight at an extreme rate, or to bulk up and lift unrealistic amounts in a short period, an enormous cloud will hang over the time you spend exercising. Sure, there will be times when you complete your workouts, and maybe even exceed your expectations for the day; but on the days your body is not up to it, or you’re tired, in a bad mood, or any other given reason for not operating at your peak performance, chances are that the disappointment will be overwhelming. This can lead to a general resentment and negativity towards the next day’s workout, and when that negativity starts rolling, it’s all downhill and piles like snow.
Some easy fixes that might come to mind could include lowering your reps or decreasing the weight you’re using, perhaps moving slower, etc. However, if you’re following a strict routine to achieve specific, quantifiable goals, you might not find what you’re looking for once you change the regimen.
If adjusting the ingredients in your workout routines isn’t the clearcut way to maintain a vital PMA for your fitness goals, then what is?
Easy: Change your attitude and expectations, and realize that you will achieve your goals at your individual pace, which is exactly the right timing for you.
Okay… This sounds pretty Hallmark-y or spiritually deep in a potentially off-putting way. Let’s break it down to clear away leftover transcendence:
1) Change your attitude: You might not be a negative Nancy every time your foot touches the treadmill; perhaps you’re not the brightest bulb in the bunch with a dumbbell in hand either. However, when you enter your gym, insert your pilates DVD, lace up your sneakers for a run, or whatever it is you do for your workout of choice, leave the rest of your day and feelings behind. Let your workout be your “you” zone where nothing else in your life can distract you. The lousy presentation from this morning no longer matters; focus on your breathing and keep one foot in front of the other. That girl whose number you got at the bar last night didn’t text you back; make sure your form is perfect. When you exercise, nothing else matters but you and your performance of the routine to make you feel the best you can.
2) Change your expectations: Not every workout has to significantly increase your VO2 max or increase your max lift. It’s unfair to set goals for yourself that are physically impossible or extremely unlikely without constant and extreme commitment and discipline to your diet and workout routines. You’re human, and there will be days where you aren’t capable of lifting as much as you did the day prior, and that’s okay. No one’s putting any expectations on your performances but yourself, which brings us to…
3) Realize that you will achieve your goals: Enter your workouts knowing that you will lose those pounds, or run faster, or lift more, and so forth. Although it’s day two of your 90-day program and you’re still struggling just to get through the entire workout, know that by day 90 you will look back proudly at all the work you’ve accomplished and see that you’ve done it, the rough days and all. Nevertheless, allow yourself the missteps and recall your humanity. Know that you will achieve your goals but on your own time. Realizing that the pace you’re moving is the best pace for you will make your workouts move all the more quickly and pleasantly.
When you start working out with a positive attitude, goal-managed expectations, and the realization that you will achieve the feats before you, the rest of the exercise is purely physical and you know how it goes from there: Just do it.