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If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time at all, you’ve probably noticed I talk about feelings a lot. To quote my colleague, friend, and one time contributor to this blog, Patrick Umphrey, “Feelings matter”.

To let your feelings interfere with whether you work out on a given day or eat healthy would be a mistake, but equally as bad is not having an awareness of how your emotions can dictate your success.

I want you to be brutally honest for a second here, and ask yourself what feelings you feel, or felt, that kept you from starting to exercise and eat healthy.

Most of the clients I work with probably experienced the same feelings you are now when they first started, shame and vulnerability. Shame of not already being in shape, and feeling vulnerable setting foot in the gym for the first time worrying that you’ll stand out like a sore thumb.

It’s extremely common, though I wish it wasn’t.

Coming to grips with this is an important step, because once you recognized how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, you can start to address it and make real progress in the gym.

Truth is there are probably many reasons why you may be experiencing these feelings, and answering why is not in my wheelhouse, but what I do feel confident in doing is helping you find the right way(s) to overcome this.

First ask yourself, is this shame strictly pertaining to wanting to get in shape or have you battled with feeling not good enough, and ashamed of yourself for whatever reason most of your life.

If you find the second half of that question being the answer, please ask for help from a professional. Getting the help you need takes courage and is nothing to be ashamed of, but left unchecked it can wreak havoc not only on your progress in the gym, but other aspects of your life as well. Take it from someone who’s battled this first hand.

Remember you’re in the majority in this country when it comes to not being “in shape”, but you’re taking the first and most important step in the process in deciding to start working out and eating better.

Take pride in that.

Secondly, focus on what you can do today as opposed to what you wish you could do eventually, and be sure to celebrate the small victories you have.

This cannot be overstated.

By simply shifting your mentality here, you create a positive mindset that helps you build momentum and empower you, leaving you feeling like there is nothing you can’t accomplish without executing the plan you lay out for yourself.

Eat all your veggies today? Sweet! Give yourself a big high-five.

Increase the intensity of your workout today in some way? That’s baller, give yourself a pat on the back, and if you can try to up the stakes again either next workout or next week.

Going hand in hand with celebrating those small victories is actually tracking what you did to earn that small victory, and even tracking where you may have stumbled and hit roadblocks so you don’t make the same mistakes again. That is a huge piece of the puzzle.

A strategy that has really helped me be successful is being “on” 80% of the time with regards to eating healthy and sticking to a hard training schedule (when I’m getting ready for a meet, it’s a little more like 90%).

When I say that, I don’t mean that the other 20% of the time I fuck around, it’s more that I allow myself to enjoy foods I may not always eat, or do some exercises that might be more for fun than they are for function with regards to my program (biceps curls come to mind).

Lastly, be willing to forgive yourself when you get slightly derailed, forgive yourself for not getting started sooner, and forgive yourself for taking breaks at times when you need them (remember exercise is meant to ENHANCE your life, not become your life).

Basically, don’t be an asshole to yourself, since there will be plenty of people over your life time that will fill that position gladly for you.

Remember you’re doing the right thing by starting/coming back from a hiatus. You can’t fuck up, the worst you can do is fall off the horse, and I know you’ll get back up.

 


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