There’s a common misconception on the internet that being body positive means being anti-exercise. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Keeping that in mind, what I’m about to suggest might seem crazy. But what if I were to tell you that radically loving your body is the absolute best way to elevate yourself both physically and mentally. Would you be willing to give it a shot?
Self Love and Body Positive Exercise
Whether you’ve never stepped foot in a gym before or you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, working to overcome restrictive behaviors and compulsive exercising, you can benefit from this superstar strategy. Chances are though, you fall somewhere in the middle between never-having-exercised and completely-addicted-to-exercise. Guess what? That’s NORMAL. When it comes to fitness, the world is far from black and white. The gym is not just fitspos and newbies – it’s full of average joes like us that are somewhere in between, looking for a way to feel (and look) great.
As someone who went from not being able to do one, single push up (and not caring) to compulsively doing cardio for hours a day, and then finally finding a sweet spot of health, happiness, and strength – I want to make the process simpler for you. You don’t have to go through so many trials and errors, self esteem dips, and total gym burn out. You can secure your own sweet spot that combines body peace, regular exercise, and self love. And you can do it easily.
Be a Rule Breaker
It’s really that simple. In order to take your workout game to the next level, you must must must get comfortable breaking the rules, and breaking them often. It is the self love strategy that will change your life. To be a rule breaker, practice setting intentions rather than requirements for yourself, and if those intentions don’t pan out, practice breaking them. For example,
Let’s say your plan is to get to the gym at 8 AM, run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and then do three sets of ab exercises. After running for about 7 minutes, you start to feel a throbbing pain in your ankle that supersedes normal soreness. It’s not crippling, but painful enough to cause you a great deal of discomfort. Instead of continuing on the hurt ankle because that was the plan (the rule you imposed when you got to the gym) you choose to be a rule breaker. Get off the treadmill. Go bike instead. Do some lunges instead. Do anything that feels good.
Just because you went into a workout with a certain intention, does not make it the end all. When you trust and love your body enough to respect it when it asks you to slow down or choose another activity (ex. the pain in your ankle) you give yourself the freedom to remove the “punishment” element from exercise and focus solely on the enjoyment. With hundreds of thousands of exercises, moves, variations, and machines at your disposal – there’s no reason you should ever be limited to one rule of how it’s supposed to go that day. Ever.
(PS your new rule breaking mantra applies to any purchased fitness guides like BBG or TIU also. If something isn’t feeling good or you’d rather do something else, substitute it! Who’s going to come after you for it?)
Loving and Listening to your Body Doesn’t Mean You Won’t See Physical Progress
You’re still going to be working HARD! The sweat will be rollin’ and the calories will be burnin’ but on your terms. When you use self love as a strategy to break the rules when they don’t work for you, it’s so much easier to find what does. And guess what? Your body will respond to it. Movement is movement, so if it’s physical progress you’re after just remember that there’s millions of ways to get there. Why not pick one (or better yet, lots) that you enjoy?
Since it can be tempting to get wrapped up in the physical and vain elements of fitness (we’ve all been there, no shame) use this body positive calendar to track your workouts each week.
Print it out and slap it on your mirror or bring it with you to the gym. You can write down that day’s workout in the columns and either before or after, but make sure you keep on reading each day’s body positive workout before you head into the gym or out to the park. These body positive affirmations will help you stay grounded and make it easier to apply your self love strategies to each workout. And don’t forget to snap a pic of your body positive calendar on Instagram and tag me at @healthyezsweet so I can show you some love as well 😉
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