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All too often we have a real negative association with exercise.

We fear it has to be something tough, painful and a mild form of self-torture. There is a perception that each and every workout has to be this hardcore, puke in the bucket session or you’re just wasting your time.

Unless you have taken your 6 cups of coffee, stuck on your “no pain no gain” t-shirt and repeatedly slapped yourself on the head, you just aren’t ready for your workout.

Sure a bit of mental preparation can help on certain occasions. Approaching a max squat attempt probably isn’t the best time to be talking about puppies and your emotions (coffee, facing slapping and loud music are all perfectly acceptable for max squats!). However a Tuesday morning workout of push ups, planks and TRX work probably doesn’t call for some death metal music!

Only last night I was chatting to 2 amazing mums who train here with us. They, like many others here, finely balance work, family and exercise and have made it part of their lives.

One of the mums had only gotten 4 hours sleep, which was actually double what she night a few nights previous, still showed up all set to go. We had our quick chat before training and agreed that this wasn’t a night she needed to go hard with training. Just coming in, going through a light workout and feeling better was the goal of the night. Just being here was an achievement in itself.

Yes she did have some coffee but no face slapping was involved!

The second mother chatted about how she really enjoys the social aspect of training. She went on to mention that the social side of group training is what has kept her so consistent for so long. And when you see how her deadlift, squat and push ups have all improved its obvious she isn’t just here for the chat.  

Big improvements from staying consistent and just enjoying exercise.

Sadly sometimes exercise is used as a form of punishment.

Punishment for over eating at the weekend, punishment for eating certain types of food or only wanting to exercise to get rid of “this” as they grab some part of their body they don’t like. Exercise shouldn’t be punishment!

Unfortunately this mindset only sets up very vicious cycle and one we quickly need to get off. There is a big difference in a journey of self-improvement and punishing yourself.

 

I think the media, but more importantly us as trainers, have a responsibility for changing the perception of exercise. Pushing this approach of high intensity, hard-core, vomit inducing workouts is doing a massive disservice to people. Sure we can, and sometimes need to, train hard but this doesn’t have to be our approach every single day.

Moderate intensity over the long term is where we need to get to.

 

What’s better? The person who trains harder than a Navy SEAL for 6 weeks, who then crashes and burns and doesn’t exercise for the next 20 weeks. Or the person who trains consistently and enjoys the training for 6 months, and beyond, but at a lower intensity?

Do you really need to train like a SEAL or just simply move, look and feel better?

Making exercise an enjoyable and consistent part of your life is a massive part of success.

You hate running? Stop doing it! Maybe take up dancing instead.

Dread going for another cycle? Stop doing it! Look into joining your local badminton or basketball team.

Sure your training can be tough but let’s make it enjoyable.

Find a form of exercise you enjoy, stick with it and reap the rewards. Don’t use exercise as punishment!