I’ve recently had to schedule in a six week break from the gym, under strict orders of no training and only light cardio. The prospective of giving up the gym for any amount of time was terrifying. In the past four years the most I’ve taken off the gym is 10 days, so six weeks seemed like forever!
I’m not an out right cold weather hater, for one, I love winter fashion, and two, I love being snuggled up in the warmth. It is so difficult to get motivated when it’s cold outside! Even more so to get to the gym and exert yourself.
If you’ve ever been on a diet you will have definitely been in this position at some point. In fact I’d go as far as to say this happens to the majority of dieters regardless of your end goal!
If you are new to competing it can be really tricky to work out what category and show to go for! There are more and more federations each with their own unique take on the industry and specific requirements.
It may be the first time you’ve ever stepped foot in a gym, or maybe you’re returning after a hiatus. Either way there is no doubt about it, going alone to a new gym can be utterly terrifying!
Recently I completely lost all my motivation to workout, I just didn’t feel like venturing out in to the cold and dark and getting myself to the gym.
Today I received the images from my photoshoot – the pinnacle of my challenge. Looking back now I am so gratified with the experience and contented that I pushed myself as hard as I did; I know I really gave this every ounce of my soul.
I had an interesting conversation with my beautiful training partner Kim tonight about judgement. More specifically how feeling judged by people can really hold you back from your full potential.
We live in age where even the most private aspects of people’s lives are documented online, from the depravity of human nature right up to the most wonderful achievements of our kind.
For me personally I find it difficult to put myself out there as sometimes I feel my word holds less value then others. I used to be so much more confident than I am now and bizarrely over time I have developed a fear and nervousness of being judged for who I am or what I believe in. I suspect each one of us experiences this to some degree.
What seems to be a common thread is that those who can let go of fear, push other people’s negativity away from them and not care so much about opinions seem to achieve more in their lives.
Those people who are willing to take a chance and hell to anyone else are not constrained by imaginary barriers.
“I can’t post that it makes me look weak”
“I can’t write about that it’s too personal”
“I can’t talk about this I don’t know enough about it”
But that’s the thing, anyone can, and the only difference in the people doing it is that they have balls. They have the confidence. It makes me wonder how much wisdom we miss from the quieter souls of this world.
Basic psychology teaches us that to create confidence we need positive experiences. So I’m making this an extension to my own personal challenges… To choose to be free of judgement, feel the fear and do it anyway.
I suppose really very few people care as much about you and what you are doing as you do, and as Kim very succinctly put it “it will always say more about them than it does about you” if they bring negativity.
This year I’ve taken on the challenge of a 12 week prep with Super Heavy Weight bodybuilder Laurie Carr. I’m not intending on doing any shows so this is not a contest prep but I am treating it as though it were and throwing myself whole-heartedly at the whole experience
Today I am going to talk about something that is maybe slightly off topic… mindfulness.
You may have already heard of the principles of mindfulness, but if you haven’t here’s a quick summary;
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. (BeMindful.co.uk)
Now don’t panic I’m not about to go off into too much of a babbling monologue of philosophy, but I am going to show you how mindfulness can be applied to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Starting right now, not tomorrow
Mindfulness and its techniques can be really useful if you struggle to stay motivated and concentrate on the here and now. We can apply its principles to the gym, exercise and motivation.
We’re often so worried about what we need to do later, tomorrow, next week, by summer, that we forget that the actions that we take right now are our life.
In a world of work, traffic, people, stress and responsibilities how often do you take to just breathe?
If you’re struggling to get motivated to hit the gym try this first.
- Sit in a position you find comfortable
- Take in a breath and observe the sensation
- Feel your chest rise and fall
- Listen to the sound of your inhalation and exhalation
- Clear your mind of thoughts, concentrate on you, your body and that present moment
- Take a few moments to reflect and be calm
Stop thinking and start doing
When you’re in a gym or exercising it’s quite easy to slip into negative thoughts of self consciousness.
“What if I’m doing it wrong”
“What if they’re watching me”
“They’re doing it different, they must be right”
The trick here is to zone into yourself and your body, ignore everything else in that room. Think about;
- The muscles you are using
- The limbs you are moving
- How your body is achieving those things
You might have heard this referred to as the mind-muscle connection. If you can master this you will find your gym sessions are far more focused.
What are you doing and why
You never really think about doing the washing up, you just do it, and joyfully let your mind wander elsewhere. Which is fine, because really the washing up is a mundane task and it doesn’t much require focus to achieve the end goal! But when you’re training for your body you need to keep your mind on track.
If you’re working out in the gym and you’re thinking about what Burt over there is doing, you’re not thinking about what you are doing. If you’re thinking about the pizza you’re having in two days, you’re not thinking about how you’re working on your range of motion. Try to keep yourself in the moment.
Ask yourself, why am I doing this? And constantly remind yourself, that at this present moment you are doing it for you! And that you deserve your own full attention…