In my 10 years of experience as a personal trainer, I've concluded that the number one quality that keeps a person consistent with exercise is having the right mindset. My most consistent clients (and the most successful at reaching their fitness goals) are the ones who think exercise is a reward, not a punishment.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that exercise is a punishment. After all, exercising doesn’t usually feel good while you are doing it. In fact it can be extremely uncomfortable when you’re pushing really hard.
But think about all the benefits of exercise: Weight control, reduces risk of heart disease, improves mood, increases energy, improves brain health, manages blood sugar, improves strength, makes you look good, improves bone density, improves sleep, and so much more.
If we weigh the pros and cons, it becomes obvious that exercise is an extremely positive thing to do for yourself. Why then do we associate exercise with punishment? We should be craving the moments when we get to treat our bodies to a workout!
Here are some signs you have the right mindset:
You breathe a sigh of relief when you get to take an exercise break from the day-to-day hustle.
You get excited for what you will accomplish in your workout.
You plan ahead to avoid as many conflicts with your workout time as possible.
You get annoyed when a meeting is scheduled over your exercise time because it means you need to reschedule your workout. Notice the instinct with this mindset isn’t to just miss the workout.
Here are some instincts to watch out for:
Saying to yourself that you HAVE to exercise because you overate unhealthy food- By thinking this way you are creating a negative association with exercise. Think instead that you CHOOSE to exercise because you WANT to do your body some good.
Hoping for a scheduling conflict to arise so you can skip a workout- Why would you want something to get in the way of doing something that does so many positive things for you? Beat the craving for instant gratification and think about the big picture.
Dreading the last set because it will be difficult- The last set is where progress is made! Don’t let your mindset take away an ounce of effort at the most crucial part of your workout.
Sarcastic jokes about dreading a workout can be fun sometimes, but deep down you should be excited to exercise because it’s the time you get to work on yourself. Adopting this mindset will lead to more consistent and higher quality workouts, which will eventually lead to better results.