Seven lessons to take home from the gym

  • Written by Caron MacLane, Caron Circle Coaching
When you go to the gym, what is your agenda?  What benefits do you receive?  What do you learn?  Consider these seven attributes and how they can be valuable habits to lead you to your own achievements both in and out of the gym.

Persistence pays. When you go to the gym consistently over the long term, then you derive increased benefits. Whether your intention is muscular strength or overall endurance, either takes time to build. You begin at some place you may call “weak” and build from there. The work is cumulative. It takes time to realize a change.  Longer than a day and longer than a week. Look at any of those hard bodies that catch your eye to see the results of persistence rather than quick-fix shortcuts.When you build the long term habit of exercising, you can experience the benefits that only come with time.  Persistence is strengthened with consistency.

Consistency is key.  Going to the gym for long term results starts with building a short term habit. You can define your own habit.  Perhaps it is twice a week.  Starts and stops are ineffective, as sometimes the stops are longer than the starts. During those stops, you can lose everything you built up and may have to start over.  The rewards are high when you are consistent every time even when the days are difficult.

Every day is different.  Some days you may feel excited to go to the gym.  Other days you may feel resistant. Some days other things may beckon.  The gym is the given entity.  Your perception is the variable.  Your perception may be swayed by the voice in your head.  When the voice in your head says things to lead you astray, it is time to fire that voice and choose what you would like the new voice to say.  Write your own script for the voice in your head.  Then remember to apply that script.  Relentlessly. This is further strengthened when you have an intention.

A clear intention increases the likelihood of success.   Whatever your intention, make certain it is meaningful enough to give you incentive when you feel like reneging.  Your intention serves as your reason to go, your “why.”  The things that can be in the way can be extremely compelling.  That means your why has to be bigger than the challenges.  When your why is big enough, it can motivate you when challenges emerge.  And challenges will emerge.  Some days there may be so much to do you just think about how much time you can save by skipping the gym.  Remember how strong you would like to feel the next time when you are riding your bicycle and would like to keep up with your friends?  Keep your appointment to work out.  Once you get there, take those baby steps that will lead you to success.

Results are incremental and cumulative.  In our fast paced culture, we look for things to happen immediately.   Effects of workouts show after you change your body, which is a relatively slow process.   Whether you measure with time, repetitions or weight, you can increase the number with time. Those initial pushups that may feel shaky and painstaking can become smooth and definitive after you have developed the habit and strengthened those muscles—one pushup at a time. That smooth and definitive feeling can increase your confidence.

The mind works more effectively when the body is strong. The ancient Greeks glorified a strong mind in a strong body. Work out physically to feel more alert and alive mentally. Since there are fewer physical demands as part of survival, you can utilize the gym to compensate for our modern comforts. Your body was designed for use. When you use your body, it offers an effective home for your mind. Thus your mind can more fully function. And you increase your care for yourself.

A workout is self care.  Workout time can be time for you to be with yourself, a respite from the rest of your life. You can use it to nourish yourself and fill your cup.  It may be a push at first that can morph into more clearly fulfilling your sense of self care. Or perhaps it feels like self care when you feel the endorphins.  Those endorphins raise your experience of well-being, making life feel harmonious.

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