5 Emotions Getting Between You + Your Fitness Goals0 Comments
What do you do when you don’t want to exercise?
We all have days when we don’t feel up for a workout, and our minds feed us pretty convincing excuses, but what if we dig a little deeper?
What if we go beyond “I don’t have time” or “I’m not seeing results” and explore the emotions behind our excuses.
When we scan the way we feel about our workouts, it gets easier to overcome the mental barriers between us and our fitness goals.
Your mindset makes a difference, and that’s what we’re going to look at in this post.
We’ll go over 5 different emotions that might be keeping you from committing to your exercise plan and how to change your mindset to power through even when you don’t want to.
Let’s jump in!
1. You Feel Anxious
It’s pretty well known that physical activity can improve your mood, help reduce anxiety + keep depression at bay.
But here’s an irony that few people talk about: exercise can sometimes trigger anxiety for people.
First, the sensations of exercise (elevated heart rate, sweating, heavy breathing, etc.) can feel alarmingly similar to anxiety.
Couple that with any social aspect of fitness (like going to the gym or exercising outdoors in a busy neighborhood), plus the fear of being judged, and an anxious mind might start working against you.
The mental overload from anxiety is exhausting and could be the culprit behind telling yourself, “I’m too tired to workout today.” Not to mention, entirely valid.
How To Change Your Mindset
If you’re someone who has an anxious mind, there are several things you can do to make exercise less unnerving.
1. Call It What It Is
Try naming the feeling you have or labeling the emotion out loud.
Thomas McDonagh, a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist and founder of Good Therapy SF, says, “continue to name the emotion until the intensity fades; for example, I am experiencing pre-workout stress right now.”
Repeat your label like a mantra whenever you feel exercise anxiety start to creep up on you.
Research shows that verbally naming a feeling helps decrease brain activity in the areas connected to emotions.
2. Reframe Your Perspective
Although it’s challenging to do, try and reframe the discomfort you feel from anxiety as a positive. Consider this quote from Brianna Wiest:
“Discomfort is what happens when we’re on the precipice of change. Unfortunately, we often confuse it for unhappiness and cope with the ladder while running from the former. It usually takes a bit of discomfort to break through to a new understanding, to release a limiting belief, to motivate ourselves to create real change.”
Discomfort is a signal. One that’s often very helpful, and the anxiety you feel indicates you’re working towards something you genuinely care about.
3. Have A Plan
Going into your workout with a plan will help you feel in control of the situation.
When you know what to expect, your mind won’t be racing with thoughts like, “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “how long should I do this for?”
If the idea of putting your own workouts together stresses you out, download the Crossrope App for 500 unique + pre-made strength, cardio, and HIIT workouts for you to try without worrying about the details!
4. Move The Way You Want
Exercise is meant to be fun, so if the idea of jogging down a busy street or lifting weights in a crowded gym makes you anxious, don’t do those workouts.
Find an exercise that makes you happy, that you enjoy and look forward to. Don’t force yourself to do something just because you think it’s the only way to see results.
Kathy, who lost 100 pounds with Crossrope, explains that the freedom that came with jumping rope attracted her the most.
“You don’t have to worry about making a mistake with a step or the wrong movement. You don’t need to worry about where to go or reserving a spot at the gym. I throw on my favorite music and allow myself to move however I want.”
Whatever it is, find your thing and move the way you want.
2. You Feel Frustrated
While the pursuit of fitness is often an enriching experience, that doesn’t mean it’s without frustrations.
Sometimes, you can’t seem to nail that jump rope trick after practicing all day. Or maybe, you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, and the number of the scale just doesn’t want to budge. Other times, you might be struggling to move up in weight for one of your lifts.
Pile on the frustrations, and you could end up thinking, “I’m not seeing progress anyway, so what’s the big deal if I skip my workout?”
We start to feel frustrated because we believe that success is somewhere we arrive at. We’re constantly trying to take a snapshot of our progress to see if we can be satisfied yet.
We’re wired to think that “success” is somewhere we get to—when goals are accomplished and things are completed— we’re constantly measuring our progress by how finished things are or how someone else would react to the before and after photos. We forget that nothing is permanent, and a single setback doesn’t summarize your entire fitness journey.
Accomplishing goals is not success, rather how much you grow in the process is.
How To Change Your Mindset
If you’re starting to skip workouts out of frustration, here’s how you can approach the emotion and adjust your thinking.
1. Build a Routine
People feel content in routines because the pattern confirms a decision they’ve already made.
Let’s say you decide to join a jump rope workout challenge, and you build a routine around one workout a day until you finish the challenge. That commitment + practice confirms not only your decision to take the challenge but also your ability to do it.
Your healthy habits create your mood, and your mood is the filter through which you experience your progress.
2. Stop Avoiding
Frustration and avoidance go hand in hand. It’s one thing to skip your workout when you’re sore or tired, but avoiding it because your frustrated is entirely different.
The best way to confront uncomfortable feelings is to face them. Remind yourself that putting your work out off will offer temporary relief but will only leave you feeling more frustrated later.
3. Mix Things Up
You don’t have to get stuck repeating the same workout every day. There’s always room for variety.
Throw some different exercises into your workout routine as a palette cleanser. If you’re stuck trying to learn how to do double unders and it’s making you frustrated, for example, take a break + do something fun to clear your mind. Get back at it when you’re in a better headspace.
3. You Feel Embarrassed
We all start somewhere, but when you’re a beginner, the random, uncomfortable, and embarrassing thoughts that cross your mind can get in the way of trying something new.
Maybe you’re embarrassed about the way you look or the gym clothes you have to wear. Perhaps it’s been a while since you exercised, and the thought of having to constantly catch your breath through your workout makes you self-conscious.
We’ve all been there thinking that everyone’s staring at us. We become overly self-critical and embarrassed by how we don’t fit in. Please, take comfort in the fact that this is universal.
How To Change Your Mindset
1. Know That You’re Not Alone
We think other people are ruminating on the embarrassing stuff we do while working out, but they’re not. They’re busy meditating on their own stuff the same way you are.
Do you judge the things other people do at the gym often? It’s unlikely.
2. Write It Down
Get a notebook that’s exclusively for letting it all out, which is what you’re going to make a habit of whenever you feel twisted up with embarrassment. Write down whatever comes to mind— whatever gruesome, awful, self-loathing, embarrassing thoughts that come up and let them out. Once you make journaling a regular practice, you’ll start to feel better releasing those thoughts.
3. Partner Up
There are so many benefits of working out with a partner. One distinct benefit is that you’ll feel more confident in what you’re doing.
Trying new workouts with a partner relieves a lot of the pressure. The two of you can support each other in stepping out of your comfort zones.
4. See Embarrassment As A Sign of Growth
It’s ok to feel embarrassed by where you’re starting out—really. It’s a mark of progress, and it’s a mark of positive change. It doesn’t mean you need to stay embarrassed forever.
Eventually, you’ll be able to look back and think, “how was I ever in that place?” meaning that you’re no longer there. We hope you never reach a point in your life where you look back and think, “Of course, I had it all figured out!” That means you’ve stopped growing.
4. You Feel Guilty
It’s easy to feel guilty when you prioritize yourself over others or other things.
Maybe you feel guilty for stepping away from your desk to take a walk. Or you’re telling yourself that you should skip your workout because you’re not spending that time with your family.
In fact, 1 in 6 moms feel guilty about exercising instead of spending time with their families.
Your guilt is convincing you that you’ve done wrong in someone else’s eyes. When really you’re making yourself better for those people and those situations.
How To Change Your Mindset
1. Prioritize Self-Care
Psychologist Emma Kenny says, as a parent, “you may believe that looking after everyone else’s needs is your main priority. But the truth is you need to take care of yourself first and foremost to ensure you have the energy to look after everyone else.”
The same idea can be applied to your work life. If you’re feeling guilty about taking a physical activity break during the workday, know that it will actually benefit you if you do.
Exercise benefits your work performance in improved concentration, a sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and less stress.
2. Join an Online Community
There’s something to be said about finding yourself through fitness, but just because you’re on a personal journey to become stronger and more confident doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. In fact, it’s sometimes better that you don’t.
Cue online fitness communities.
Use this opportunity to connect with other people and talk about your exercise guilt and lean on each other for support.
Want to dip your toe in but don’t know where to look? Try Crossrope’s Online Jump Rope Fitness Community. We have 95K supportive community members who love sharing tips and advice.
5. You Feel Jealous
Has the green-eyed monster ever come out while you were at the gym?
You see someone who seemingly has it all figured out— they have the body you want, the clothes you want, they know what they’re doing, and it all seems effortless.
It can be a pretty discouraging situation, which leaves you thinking, “I don’t want to work out because I’m never going to be like *that person*”
What’s worse is fitness jealousy can happen right at home on your phone. It’s so easy to fall down a social media rabbit hole and play the comparison game leaving you greener than the smoothies you see influencers bragging about.
How To Change Your Mindset
1. Self Reflect
Think about what makes you feel the most jealous.
The things that make you the most envious are usually the things you feel you’re not living up to in yourself.
We get jealous of the fit person at the gym not because we want to look like them, but because we’re lacking something much more important, which is love for ourselves.
We’re jealous of the fitness influencer not because we also want the likes and recognition, but because we know we’re not doing the work to get there.
Take the time to self-reflect on what the root cause of the feeling is, and then make a plan for putting in the work to change what really needs to be changed.
2. Use Affirmations
There’s power in what you tell your mind. When you focus on your own achievements, you’ll spend less time fussing over the achievements of others.
Affirmations are a powerful way to ground yourself in your personal fitness journey. Here are a few to get you started:
- I am allowed to take up space.
- My body is improving.
- I’m focusing on my health every day.
- My fitness is increasing each moment.
- My health is important to me at this moment.
- I have the right to develop a healthy body or any type of body that I wish.
- I’m taking care of my body.
- I’m a work in progress.
- I love my body.
- I trust my body.
- My body works with me and not against me.
Over To You
Paying attention to our emotions and how they play a part in our goals is an important part of caring for our mental health.
When we’re trying to fit more exercise into our daily lives, we’ll no doubt come up with excuses to protect ourselves from how we’re actually feeling.
Take time to examine how you feel before and after a workout. Chances are the feelings of discomfort you have beforehand will be replaced with more positive emotions afterward.
Have questions or comments? Drop them in the comments below.