I had this belief that “more is better.” I approached my fitness and physical activity with this mindset. Every time I worked out, I wasn’t satisfied with the number of reps I completed or the number of exercises I finished. For me, I wanted to do more. I raced against the clock to do finish in less time or lift more weights than the time before.
With this mindset, I quickly became frustrated and burnout soon followed. I even struggled to find the motivation or willpower to work out. The aches, pains, and injuries piled up and after suffering for so long, I finally made a change.
I searched for a better approach and found that it was my mindset that was my biggest challenge. I had to let go of my ego (Bye – Bye “More is Better” belief) and embarked on a journey towards a mindset that supported my fitness goals and, more importantly, my health.
Changing my mindset may seem simple but it proved to be quite difficult. My process can be your gain. By bringing awareness to what is holding you back, you can take the necessary steps to move forward – physically and mentally.
Three Mindsets to Avoid:
1. No Pain, No Gain
This is where you exercise to failure to force your body to get quicker results.
The danger when applied for long periods of time is that it’s too much for your body. Going all out, all the time, depletes your energy and motivation. This makes being consistent more and more of a challenge. with out consistency you’re not going to get the results you want.
Did you know that when you’re ignoring your body’s cues during exercise, you’re conditioning your body to associate pain with exercise? If exercise is not enjoyable, fulfilling and positive, your motivation or consistency in the long run will suffer and you’re not likely to meet your fitness goals.
2. More is Better
There is a saying that “more isn’t always better, more is often just more.”
What this means is there is a sweet spot of training where the time you spend provides you the greatest amount of benefit in return. On the other hand, you can double your time and effort in training but only get a fraction of the benefit since your body can only tolerate so much work. If you continue to do more, this can lead to degrading the body and eventually injury.
3 – All or Nothing
Rarely does the “all in” effort match your expectations. When this happens, you quit. You may give 100% for 8 weeks with the goal to lose 15 pounds only to lose much less. As a result, you lose motivation and stop training all together.
When you don’t meet your goals in your time-frame, it’s a big blow. You may bounce between different programs in an effort to find the one that works because of this “all or nothing” mindset. Being at the two extremes of “all or nothing” instead of the middle ground will only lead to failure. You need to recognize that meeting your goals is a process that you need to trust.
How do you address these problematic mindsets?
Though these mindsets start with good intention, they inherently fail. Fitness doesn’t have to be binary, where it’s “all or nothing” and an “on again and off again” approach. It doesn’t have to be about working out to the point failure or ignoring pain. It also doesn’t have to be about doing more and more, until you’ve exhausted yourself mentally and physically.
Training is great for your mind, body and spirit. With correct planning and the right mindset, it can be sustainable and enrich your life while transforming your body. If you can see fitness through the lens of the long term benefits in health, body and mind, you will be on the right path to change.
My approach to fitness looks at all these aspects for optimal well-being. The “MOVEMENT” FIRST mindset is a unique and different approach to fitness that I can’t wait to share in following blog posts.
Stay tuned and keep moving,