Confession: Sometimes I skip going to the gym.
I love lifting and getting sweaty just as much as the next gym enthusiast, but sometimes I just really, really don’t want to go to the gym.
We’ve all been there; even those who identify as gym-junkies and fitness fanatics have had periods when going to the gym was the absolute last thing we wanted to do.
Sometimes that feeling is a message: It could be time to rest, recover, or reduce the intensity with which we exercise.
But other times it’s just… resistance.
It’s just a matter of fighting that resistance, making things more realistic, and removing obstacles that stand in the way of us and our workouts.
Thankfully resistance can be overcome; here are four simple strategies to assist you in doing so.
1. ACCOUNTABILITYThe oldest tool in the anti-resistance toolbox is also one of the most effective:
Ask other people to hold you accountable.
This can be done by signing up for a class that you’re expected to attend, having a gym buddy, or simply asking a loved one to hold you to your intentions.
With the wonders of modern technology, we can look to devices and online communities for accountability.
Exercise trackers such as FitBits and Facebook groups are effective and alternative methods of increasing accountability.
If you say you’re going to do something and other people are counting on you to do it, you’re more likely to actually do it.
2. THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCEIf resistance is the issue, it makes sense to take the path that involves as little of it as possible.
• If evening exercise is the aim, keep your gym bag in the car so that instead of going home after work, you go straight to the gym.
• If early morning exercise is the aim, pack your bag and lay your gym clothes out the night before.
• Try to find a gym that’s close enough to your home or place of work that getting there isn’t inconvenient.
If you can create a situation that involves fewer external obstacles, you’ll increase your likelihood of overcoming resistance.
3. MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSEPart of what keeps so many of us from committing to a consistent fitness routine is the misunderstanding of what that has to entail.
You were probably led to believe that workouts need to be long and comprehensive in order to be effective, allow me to disprove that myth.
While it’s nice to be able to commit to a long training session when time allows, this isn’t always possible. Further, we fall into the trap of thinking that if we can’t do said training session, we might as well not do it all.
Incorrect on all counts!
Minimum effective dose is the smallest or shortest amount of something you can do while still eliciting a positive response.
So rather than commit to hour long workouts, consider 30 minutes or even less. If all you’ve got is 10 minutes, use those 10 minutes to move—because yes, it counts.
And here’s why: when it comes to fitness (and just about any other positive habit), consistency is more important than perfection.
If perfection is the goal, we’ll rarely-if ever-reach it.
By setting ourselves up to only go to the gym if we have plenty of time, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
What happens when we’re slammed with work? Up all night with an infant or sick kids? Traveling and pressed for time?
If we set out to move consistently, regardless of the length of the workouts, we’ll be more likely to create a sustainable, long term habit.
Along this same vein, consider that not every workout needs to be “hardcore.”
A brisk walk or just 15 minutes of yoga can be highly effective when consistency is the intention, because the more consistently you move, the more movement becomes your norm.
4. REFRAME YOUR REASONSWhen we stress and obsess over the reasons behind our pursuit of fitness, it can often be difficult to step into a space of ease and adaptability.
We wind up making things feel very serious, and in the process can bump up against a mountain of resistance.
But if we learn to move for the sake of movement, to view fitness as a means of self-care and a method of respecting our bodies, we can begin to overcome this resistance.
Take the “shoulds” and the “musts” and the seriousness out of fitness, and ask yourself instead: What do I actually enjoy? What makes me feel alive?
With the right tools and a willingness to adapt, resistance can be overcome.
Fitness doesn’t have to be so serious!
It can be something that adds a tremendous amount of value and meaning to our lives.
LET’S OVERCOME RESISTANCE TOGETHER
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