As a fitness instructor, a common theme I’ve seen reverberating throughout the wellness and fitness community this past year, is people seeking to heal their relationship with fitness.
Many people are looking to move away from extreme, all-or-nothing behaviors or punitive exercise regimens; and find ways to simply enjoy moving their body and feel good again.
If you can relate and are ready to start building a healthier relationship with fitness, this article is for you! Below, I’ve included 6 healthy habits that people who have a balanced relationship with exercise have figured out.
1. Work out on Your Own Terms
Simple scheduling or matters of convenience can often hold us back from accomplishing our day to day workouts. Work out where and when you want to. Everyone has their opinions on when and where you should work out, but the most important opinion is yours.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you run outside or on the treadmill, work out in the morning or evening, strength train in the gym or at home with dumbbells or bodyweight. What matters is that you get your workout in!
Explore your schedule, find what works best for you, and work around that! You’ll be a lot more successful when you work out on your own terms.
2. Know What Workouts You Like
You must enjoy the activities you do in order for them to stick! You can’t hate running and expect it to be a sustainable addition to your regular fitness routine. But because of fitness fads, trends, and even our own idealism, it’s easy for us to get trapped in a fitness routine we think we should be doing.
If you’ve stopped enjoying your fitness routine, reflect on what feels good and brings you joy. There’s no single approach to successfully achieving your fitness goals. In reality, there are tons of activities to help you get your movement in for the day.
Sometimes just coming up with what we do like is surprisingly challenging. If you find yourself in this position, think back to your childhood and recall your favorite ways to move back then. Maybe you loved playing soccer, swimming, or rollerblading around the neighborhood.
While these may not seem like the traditional, structured workouts we’re used to seeing as adults, they’re a great way to achieve a fun (and effective) cardio workout. Get in touch with the activities that make you light up inside.
If you’re ready to mix it up, give these fun outdoor workouts a try!
3. Mix Up Your Workouts
People with the healthiest relationships with exercise balance their workouts with a mix of activities - including high and low impact, cardio and strength, lower and upper body. While it may not be what you want to hear, general balance in your fitness routine will reduce your risk for injury - and make you stronger for the activities you do enjoy most.
As a collegiate track athlete, I was the first to admit early morning weights and after-hours stretching weren’t my favorite parts of the week. However, they were things I knew I needed to get done to maintain my physical health, remain injury free, and improve my performance on the track. So I showed up.
Use your passion for the activities you do enjoy to encourage you to find more balance in your routine. For example, if running is your passion but you don’t enjoy strength training, find a strength training routine specifically designed for runners.
It will make you more excited to mix up your workouts if you can see the direct benefit it will have towards the parts of your routine you do enjoy.
4. Take Rest Days
Know when it’s time to skip a sweat session! As much as you may love your workouts, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Rest - mentally and physically - is just as important as work and play.
Rest days are essential to give the body time to recover and adapt. Taking regular rest days will give tired and sore muscles, your mind, and overworked body time to recuperate and come back fresh for your next workout!
I recommend taking at least one rest day a week.
5. Don’t Work Out to Eat, Eat to Work Out
If I got a dollar every time I heard someone say ‘I earned these tacos’ or ‘I do it for the donuts,’ I’d be rich!
Food is not something you need to earn, and your motivation for exercise should not be food. Our bodies require a minimum number of calories simply to survive, and exercise requires even more energy.
When we add exercise into our routine, it’s important to view food as fuel and not the enemy. Start by focusing on a healthy whole foods diet to maximize the quality of calories you have coming in to power up your workouts!
You’ll also want to make sure you’re eating the right foods before and after your workouts for best results.
6. Are Patient with Themselves
Building a healthy relationship with fitness takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your fitness philosophy won’t be either. You’re constantly evolving, changing, and learning more about yourself.
Pay attention to what makes you feel good and what keeps you coming back again and again, and do more of that! If you can achieve that, you’ll be one step closer to a healthy relationship with fitness.