Fashletics® Blog

Load the Bar, Clear Your Mind : The Gym as Therapy


I forced myself into my car the other night and headed to the gym. The day nearly beat me. I wasn’t really in the mood to do anything at all, let alone heave a 14 lb medicine ball at a wall repeatedly or launch my tired body to the top of a box… and down, and up again, and down again… you get the picture.

But a weird thing started to happen as I got closer and closer to the gym. My energy levels started to rise. The effects of the terribly difficult day started to fade away. My posture straightened and my focus narrowed. I took a deep breath, filled my lungs, and then… release.

It wasn’t that I suddenly started to look forward to the physical pain I was about to endure in this workout. It was because I started to look forward to the sense of gratification I would feel after it was over.

My mind needed it even more than my body did. I knew I was on my way to erasing some of the damage of the day, which would allow me to start tomorrow with a clean slate.

I needed a little fixing, and my subconscious was reminding me that an hour at my CrossFit box would do the trick.

A lot of people wonder where my motivation to work out so persistently comes from. There have definitely been times I have been driven by the physical results – I wanted to run faster or for my body to be leaner. I had a specific competition that I was preparing for or a team that was relying on me. These are all perfectly good reasons to exercise, but none of them are the reason that I keep coming back for more. They are temporary and specific. After the race is over or the baby weight is gone… you still need a reason.

Since I was a kid I have been experimenting will all sorts of sports and fitness disciplines. I didn’t like them all, some I even flat out hated. I was pretty terrible at volleyball in middle school, my coach yelled at me and called me “knobby-knees”. I played for a few seasons and then quit. But let me be clear - I quit volleyball, I didn’t give up on sports or fitness altogether. It’s not like I traded in my kneepads and short-shorts for a remote control and a tub of ice cream.

Here are three tips that will help get you in a consistent fitness groove:

1. Keep moving. Keep moving until you find whatever class or sport or activity has a lasting positive psychological effect. If you hate running, don’t join a running club. It will make you grumpy and your subconscious will try to tell you that you hate all forms of exercise. If you’re a social butterfly, try working out in a group.

2. You don’t have to be in agony for an hour in order for a workout to be effective. There are a ridiculous amount of workout options these days and contrary to popular belief, you are allowed to enjoy it! Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 great examples from TIME. Think of it like dating – you may have to sweat with a lot of frogs before you find your fitness prince.

3. Go beyond the physical. Once you find something that you love, you’ll realize the benefits of exercise go way beyond the physical. You won’t need a looming “bikini season” or a high school reunion to motivate you to get in shape because you will see and feel the effects in your daily life. Your brain will associate your new exercise routine with things like more energy, a clear head, a better night’s sleep, and improved self-confidence. You’ll scape your tired body off the couch and into your favorite spandex get-up, driven by the knowledge that what you’re about to do has the power to breathe life back into you. You may even smile just thinking about who how great you’ll feel when it’s over.

Remember, you don’t need to be a world championship athlete to find motivation to work out. You just need to want the best for yourself and to realize that breaking a sweat on a regular basis will help you get there. Do it for your mind first, your body will follow. Or as we like to say at Fashletics: Lift heavy. Be happy.

What's your favorite form of "fitness therapy"? Let us know in the comments below! Know someone who could use a little motivation? Share this blog! --> Share on Facebook

  • Author avatar
    Sarah Wilson
  • CrossFitInspirationLife BalanceSelf ImprovementWomen's Fitness

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