We're dangerously close to bikini season, and I totally forgot to work on my summer body, soooo ... I'm kind of screwed. Especially because very often the idea of exercise is enough to make me buy a skirted one piece. But here's Lisa Hayim, a registered dietician who has offered to share some easy tips on how we can actually make exercise fun. Yes, fun. So read on, because summer is coming and we can't stop it.
In order to restructure our thoughts and relationship about movement and the gym, we must change how we view exercise. That all starts with the thoughts in our head and the language we use surrounding both food and movement. Movement is something most of us take for granted, and is at the core of importance when it comes to doing the things in life that bring us joy.
Exercise has been positioned as something that is mandatory, boring and time taken away from doing productive things. Most of us procrastinate it and have it circulating at the top of our brains of “things to do that we don’t want to do.” We can all agree that the feeling after exercises is always worth it. Why then, can’t we begin to change our view about it.
Here are some of my top principles to embrace in order to change your relationship to exercise forever.
1. Exercise isn't a punishment — it's a privilege.
If you can go to the gym and use the cardio equipment and the weights, you are privileged. If you can get out of bed and walk to your mailbox, you are privileged. You have functioning body that has made its way through life’s dangerous curvy course thus far. Be grateful, because these sorts of things are not guaranteed.
2. Understand that Food is not a reward for exercising.
Most people make the mistake of using the gym as a form of punishment, to cancel out the food they ate, and they truly believe that they need to work out to deserve food. In reality, food and movement can work harmoniously together. We can use the food energy we get from eating to assist us in a workout. We can even use food after exercise to help recover and rebuild our muscles. You deserve to eat whether you exercise or not.
Even at rest, doing absolutely nothing, we would still need calories. Instead, let’s exercise to show love and kindness to our bodies, not to give ourselves permission to eat. It’s a critical distinction.
3. Ditch the No pain No Gain attitude.
This is a is a popular phrase used by trainers and those in the fitness world to “motivate.” It's also a prime example of how the language we use causes us to have a toxic relationship to exercise. It sends a clear message that working out should be painful, and the more pain, the better! Not only is the language dangerous, the message hasn’t worked — there are instances when its good to push yourself during a workout. This is actually how we get endorphins to fire and can even gain some inner trust and appreciation for what our bodies are capable of. However, pain can be serious and pushing through pain is not a good way to foster a good relationship with exercise and your body. Plus, effective exercise doesn’t need to be painful at all! Those with a healthy relationship to exercise know when too much pain is not good.
4. Find what feels good for you and do that.
The gym is not the only place you can move. If you really hate the gym, which some people really do, find other movement that suits you. Maybe its walking, maybe it’s a boxing class, maybe it’s just dancing. It’s IMPERATIVE you find out what works for you and DO that.
5. Realize that exercise is not stolen time.
So many people think that being at the gym takes time away from doing other things. We spend so much of our lives doing for others — whether we're at our jobs, or in our role within families. Most of us are creatures that give give and give. I personally like to think of the gym as my escape. My 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted ME time.. When I think of it like this, I look forward to the time I can carve out to be at the gym!
6. Embrace that it's a compound Investment.
When we exercise we are investing on behalf of our future self that wants to be happy and healthy and there for the family events and celebration of mile stones.
7. Become part of a community.
Whether it’s a gym, a class or being in the park, exercise brings us together. Just begin around others with similar interests can lift our spirits up and make us feel like we are part of something
Lisa Hayim is a Registered Dietitian born and raised in New York. She studied communications and psychology at the University of Miami. Upon completion, she returned back to New York to pursue her real passion — nutrition. She holds a Master's in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. In 2015, she put that education to work and founded The Well Necessities, a private practice that prides itself on simplifying the science of nutrition and empowering clients to embrace real food while guiding them to eat mindfully. As her Instagram account, @thewellnecessities, gained popularity, her wellness blog was created. It's best known for being a place to come to for its 5 ingredient recipes, sound and trusted nutrition information, and wellness recommendations. Lisa has appeared on multiple media outlets including the Dr. Oz show.