There are two kinds of people in the world… those who loathe exercise and those who love exercise. I can confidently say that I’m the latter, and I’m genuinely excited to bound out of bed at 5:10am every morning to get to my morning gym class… but it hasn't always been like this. My relationship with fitness has been a journey and a long one at that. At first I resisted it, then I resented it and after 11 years now absolutely revel in it, so much so that I turned my passion into my profession by becoming a Group Fitness Instructor. And boy have I learnt some things along the way. Here are 3 things fitness has taught me.
1. Exercise is a privilege not a punishment
Like many young women, I too used to view exercise as a form of punishment for not adhering to a ‘perfect’ day of eating. If I had a piece of cake in the office, I’d do a second session to ‘burn it off'. If I knew I was going out for dinner, I’d do a session to ‘earn it’. This mentality made exercise something I resented, but then an injury I sustained from reckless overtraining sidelined me for three months and made me realise how much I’d been taking my ability to move my body for granted. Exercise is not a punishment for something you ate, it’s a privilege that not everyone is afforded with. Don’t do it because you have to, choose to do it because it feels too good not to.
2. Failure is not a bad thing
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve failed something, particularly in a gym environment (I’m looking at you unassisted chin-ups), I’d have $8,772. Failure can actually be a good thing, it just comes down to reframing your attitude and thoughts around it. Many successful people even credit failure as the thing that differentiates them from less successful people. Dave Goggins (who has been coined the world's toughest man) thrives on failure and says it’s what fuels him to succeed. Whether it’s a max set of weighted reps you failed or a running time trial, don’t let it defeat you. Use it as inspiration to keep trying and thank it for allowing you not to become complacent.
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
I used to roll my eyes when I heard people say that that magic happens outside your comfort zone, but now I’m one of those people. As nice as the thought may be, there’s no shortcut when it comes to fitness and that PB or goal we all chase, it only happens after you push yourself harder than you have before. This is the mantra I (internally) yell at myself whenever I’m in the resistance track of my favourite RPM class. The best thing about this lesson is that it’s completely transferable to so many different areas of your life whether it’s career or personal development.