5 Best Practices for Staying Sane on Your Fitness Journey
Going to the gym and training as athlete can be fun and awesome and rewarding… most of the time. Sometimes we hit PRs and learn new skills and feel generally like a bad ass (as you should!). But sometimes we struggle and fail and get frustrated and there is just no avoiding it, especially if you have been training for some time. So here are (from my experience) the 5 best practices to staying sane on your fitness journey:
- Be Patient
I get it. It’s hard not to want to be good at everything right away. Trust me, I am impatient to the MAX. But if there’s anything I have learned to be better at when it comes to going to the gym and lifting, it’s to BE PATIENT. Be patient with yourself, be patient with the process, be patient with the bar. Easier said than done though, right? Whenever I get frustrated about my progress (or lack thereof) I try to put things into perspective. Keeping a journal or a log of your workouts and PRs is a GREAT way to do this! Whenever I feel down about what’s happening (or what’s NOT happening) in my training, I like to look back to where I was a year ago, 5 years ago, or when I first started. Most of the time I am thoroughly impressed with myself and how far I’ve come. (Hello, pat on the back!) Plus it helps to relieve the pressure of needing to be the strongest, fastest, most Wolverine-like athlete around and helps me refocus on the things I CAN control and the attitude I have about training.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Yes, it’s sooooo easy to hop on to Instagram and scroll though all the incredible athletes and “fitspo” people on the interwebs and feel like a sad little potato compared to all of them. But guess what? Miss Suzy Fitness Model or whatever her name is probably spent a bajillion hours trying to get the right angle or the right lighting or the right duck face for that selfie (not to mention FILTER!) and as much as you probably think those posts are real, they’re not. They’re carefully crafted to make you feel a certain way so you will go out of your way to buy whatever protein or tea or diamond-studded water bottle they’re touting this month. Do yourself a favor: UNFOLLOW anyone who makes you feel like a sad potato. They do not deserve your likes! DO follow people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Same thing goes for in the gym, too! If there are people in the gym who you find you are comparing yourself to, recognize that everyone is at their own place in their fitness journey. Recognize that some people may have different strengths than you but that doesn’t discount all the things you are good at and all the things you are capable of. Stay in your own lane and you’ll save yourself the anxiety of wanting to be someone else.
- Let Go of the Guilt
Miss a workout? It’s okay! Eat an entire pint of ice cream? It’s okay! Didn’t PR your back squat this time around? It’s okay! Look, I know we want to be perfect all the time, every day, for the rest of time, ever. BUT THAT’S JUST NOT THE REALITY. We are imperfect beings and even though we all try to do the best we can, we will try and we will fail. The key is not sitting around and wallowing in self pity because we failed. The key is to get up, brush yourself off, and move the f*** forward! Being stuck in feelings of guilt only hinder us from making progress and learning from our mistakes. Do your best and if you fail, learn from it and move on.
- Have Fun!
I mean, why else would we do this?? And this doesn’t just apply to being in the gym. If you like hiking, do that! If you like swimming, do that! If you like Zumba, for God’s sake GO DO IT! (And invite me maybe, I’ve always wanted to try it.) Whatever you like doing and whatever gets your butt off the couch and moving around, do it. And have no shame doing it! Try new things. Work on the things in the gym that you enjoy the most (lifting, gymnastics, etc). Do whatever it is that lights your soul on fire and enjoy the heck out of it!
- Celebrate Your Wins
It’s easy to get bogged down in the grind sometimes so celebrating your wins is key to enjoying the process and staying motivated. Hit your goal of getting to the gym 3 times this week? Sweet! Celebrate with a new workout top or a nice fancy cup of coffee Sunday morning. Get your first pull up? Nice! Celebrate by going to that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. PR your deadlift? HELL YEAH. Shamelessly post a video of that s*** on Instagram and take pride in what you have accomplished. Chances are it will inspire someone else to work hard to be a bad ass just like you.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your progress and time at PDXstrength, see you in the gym!