By Brittney Bergen
You know the feeling:
- Zero motivation to get to the gym
- Workouts that feel like a grind
And chances are, if you’re in this boat, nutrition decisions aren’t coming easily either.
I feel you. I’ve been there. And I’m writing this from the other side. Now, my training feels:
- Fun AF! Like I’m a kid wanting to run, move, and CREATE with my body.
- Like meditation. (You know the “pain cave” CrossFitters talk about? I feel like I’m getting there now, only it doesn’t feel like pain. It feels like a strangely peaceful and yet exhilarating altered state of consciousness. Like a new way of connecting with my body, mind, and spirit through movement.)
It wasn’t easy for me to get to this playful place in my training. I want to help you skip the hard part and enter workout BLISS.
Here’s what might have to happen for you to enter exercise euphoria.
1. Ego Death
- Is your identity all tied up in your workouts?
- Are you a CrossFitter, weightlifter, or powerlifter who couldn’t imagine being anything else?
That was me. And about two years ago my gut started talking: it told me to quit lifting and take up a yoga practice.
I didn’t listen. And guess what? I got a hernia exactly a year later in the same spot where I had the gut feeling about stopping.
I grinded for another eight months at a sport that wasn’t fulfilling me the same way it used to, because it’s what I thought I was. I was a weightlifter who’d built her entire life around the barbell:
- My business tagline is, “Lift Weight. Uplift the World.”
- I met all my friends, and my boyfriend through lifting.
The funny thing is, after having let go of my weightlifter identity one layer at a time, I feel more like ME than I have since I was a kid.
It definitely felt like a death of sorts along the way. And guess what? After death comes new life. Here I am on the other side feeling renewed and exhilarated when it comes to working out.
The second thing that might have to happen for you to arrive here is…
2. A Switch from Working Out to Working In
Most of us are:
- Working full-time, applying tension to our bodies and brains all day
- Stressing out in other aspects of life: relationships, finances, health, etc.
We are in fight-or-flight mode most of the day, rarely switching to rest-and-digest to let go of stress and recover from training.
I call any types of activities where we feel like we’re going and giving, “yanging out.” (You know, the Eastern concept of Yin and Yang: it’s about balance.)
We need more Yin in our lives, not Yang. We need to CTFO. Yang activies are energy-robbing. Yin means energy-giving.
Do you need to give your body back some energy through movement? It might be time to switch to the Paul Chek concept of Working In, instead of working out. When you make the switch, you’ll always leave the gym feeling better than when you first walked in.
How to Work WITH Your Body
Here’s how I train now: I check in with my body.
- Do you want body-weight movement (like gymnastics, yoga, or animal walks)?
- Do you want resistance training (like lifting kettlebells, barbells, or doing banded or cable resistance training)?
- Do you want to get your heart rate up and lungs working? (like riding the air bike, running, skipping, burpees, or box jumps)
Once I have the answer, I’ll ask my body to get more specific.
- If it wants to get the blood and breath pumping, I’ll check in: “Do you want to airbike, run, do burpees…?”
- I’ll feel my body either clench against the activity, or soften and open to it, and that’s how I know what to do.
I’ll repeat the process from movement to movement until I feel a sense of closure in my workout. My body designs my program, instead of my mind, and it feels revitalizing.
(I learned this new way of checking in with my body from Sharleen Froats. She owns the gym I train at.)
Cool It Down, Sisters and Bros
Do you want your training to feel…?
- Playful – Like you’re a kid in front of a jungle gym and a big field. Imagination and exploration meet you there to guide your movement.
- Connected – Like you’re working with your body instead of fighting against it and beating the shit out of it.
Then it might be time to let your identity go (I know how hard that is), and open up to Working In.
You Are Enough
If you take one thing away from this blog, please choose today to partner with your body. Accept your body where it’s at right now, rather than comparing it to the body you used to have or one day desire. Know that you are perfect and whole just as you are.
How would you move your body if you loved it?
If you want to learn how to love your body even more sign up for our Dream Life Design program (starts May 9, and there are 10 spots available). We’ll teach you how to take your love for your body deeper, how to connect with your mind and spirit through meditation, and how to set and smash goals that are in alignment with where you’re at right now.
Photo Credit: Emma Love Photography and Jesse Godin