Many of us have preconceived notions about what “working out” means. We often look to women’s health magazines and Instagram influencers to help us figure out what we should be doing. But this approach has it all wrong.
Exercise isn’t about burning X amount of calories so you can take that elusive selfie — or doing as many repetitions as possible because you read about it in some article. More than anything, it should be about doing what feels right for your body. Below are a few reasons that are keeping you from achieving your goal.
You’re Exercising to Lose Weight
Say you signed up at that new gym by your house and are ready to tackle those few extra pounds you gained over the holidays. You’re pumped and motivated, but after a week of putting in the hours, the scale isn’t changing its tune.
Here’s the thing, you’re going to hate exercising when its sole purpose is based on making you conform to societal norms. Instead, you should approach your workouts the same way you seek out anything else that brings you joy. Rather than dragging yourself to the gym to face an endless series of machines and weights, try activities like Zumba or swimming which are more likely to keep you coming back.
You’re Burning Out
So you’ve been working out religiously for the past week and have to admit to yourself: You hate this. More than likely, you’re going overboard with your exercise routine. According to US News, one of the clearest signs you’re exercising too much is disinterest.
Many of us get into the habit of overdoing it when we first start out (e.g. I once hurt my knee badly going full speed ahead on a stationary bike). Make your goals smaller and more attainable when you’re just beginning: Try taking a five-minute walk and remember to stretch properly before and after each workout session.
You’re Feeling Unmotivated
You don’t get how all these Instagram influencers are sweating up a storm everyday with smiles on their faces. We feel you: Trying to stick to an exercise routine is hard.
But the best way to offset this mindset is to start small and do something you like. If the idea of lifting weights makes you want to stay in bed, opt instead for something fun like rollerblading. The point here is to stay active, not make yourself feel bad. The more you can focus on the joy, the more you’ll feel motivated to stick with your goals.