These words have been uttered to me on more than one occasion. As we embark on a new year, I meet many prospective new clients, several of whom admit that they are begrudgingly seeking a new exercise routine because they “hate exercise.” (Often admitted in a whisper while shyly looking over their shoulder as if this is a punishable attitude.)
Exercise when achieved through something you have passion for or find fun (tennis, swimming, riding bikes with the kids) is wonderful! Exercise when it feels mandatory (or necessary but not voluntary) and in an uninspiring environment like a gym can feel like drudgery. So for those of you who are raising your hands in the secluded safety of your home that you are one of those exercise haters I have one question to ask you: Why do you exercise?
If your answer is “because I have to, to stay healthy” – then you will continue to feel resentment, and you will likely continue to fail at your fitness or weight loss goals. If your answer is “because I want to look more attractive” – then again you are setting yourself up for failure. There are many people, men and women, who do not fit into the stereotype of “attractive” (i.e., overweight, out of shape) yet due to a healthy dose of inner confidence and a healthy perspective of their own attractiveness, they have love, laughter, friendships, and happy lives. Granted some of these same people need to exercise to maintain better internal health, but therein lies an important secret that I’ll share with you all now….
It doesn’t take much exercise or radical nutrition to get your insides (organs, tendons, muscles, bones, and hormones) into decent HEALTH.
As for your outsides I’ll remind you of one of my favorite Star Trek episodes wherein the infamous (and beloved) Harry Mudd is transporting three breathtakingly beautiful women to a planet inhabited by rock miners desperate for wives. Kirk quickly uncovers the truth that these women are being fed “beauty pills” to keep themselves beautiful and enticing. When he removes their supply, they begin to turn ugly and disheveled. Panicked they beg for their pills and Kirk gives them placebos (sugar pills). The women instantly transform back into their beautiful exteriors again and it is then that they learn the truth. The beauty came from the inside not a pill!
Don’t get me wrong, as a trainer I’m the first to advocate that everyone have toned and strong muscles, flexibility and endurance. I do not however feel that everyone needs to look “slim and perfect” (for what IS perfect anyway). All I want is for my clients to have a healthy percentage of lean muscle tissue vs. body fat, and to find their exteriors beautiful, no matter their shape.
So back to the issue of hating exercise. IF you need exercise to maintain your physical well-being, then know this – 20 minutes, three times a week may be all you need. Anyone can handle 20 minutes of exercise can’t they? But make those 20 minutes count. You must be focused and accurate in what you’re doing and how (that’s where I can help). You don’t have to do it in a gym, and you don’t have to do it alone (misery loves company, right?). Of course, nutrition is also important, but that’s a subject for another blog.
So go on … get it over with … even if you hate it … but remember, in the time it takes to think about all the reasons you resent having to exercise, your 20 minutes will be over!