The very thought of exercise elicits a whole range of reactions, usually negative, from painful cringes to been-there-done-that eye rolls. And that’s unfortunate. We can partially blame the media for unrealistic goals and misinformation. But the blame also rests on “fitness professionals”…a term I use very, very loosely (we can get into the woeful state, quality, and business of personal trainers another time). At its core, exercise should be therapeutic, not miserable. You should finish your workout feeling better than when you started. Keep in mind, these are all relative terms. Even professional bodybuilders and elite athletes, although they are crushed and exhausted, still feel better. It is as much a mental state as it is physical.
Especially if you are new to exercise, the attention should be laser-focused on therapeutic movements that leave you feeling better. Any trainer or professional who tells you differently…run away immediately. The reasoning is two-fold. First, the obvious physical component. The human body is an incredible piece of engineering…and it was designed to move. It should move without pain, even while exercising. As I mentioned, everything is relative, and there is a time and place for really, really hard workouts. When you are just starting out, and getting your feet wet, is not that time. The focus should and needs to be on pain-free movement and mobility. These types of movements will act as a massage on your muscles and joints. Over time, it will prepare your body to take on more work and conquer new challenges. And that new work won’t be painful anymore, because your body will be prepared. Secondly, the mental aspect. Just as the idea of “dieting” should die and be replaced with a lifestyle change towards healthy eating choices, so should the dreadful feeling of “having to workout”. Exercising your body should be viewed in the same light as brushing your teeth. If you neglect your teeth…bad things happen. You brush your teeth daily (I hope) and you need exercise or activity, daily. The goal is a healthy, active lifestyle…marked by pain-free movement. Build the habit now by picking activities that you don’t dread and leave you feeling a little more energized. Walking, yoga, and mobility classes are all great places to start. Once it is engrained as much into your mind as much as it is into your schedule, you can progress to new territory.
The secret is getting to a place where you actually look forward to your workout. Because you know, even through it may challenge you…physically and mentally, you feel better afterward. Some people take longer than others to get there. If you have conquered that first step, how did you do it? Please comment, I’d love to hear and I know others want to hear your story as well. If you aren’t quite there yet, let’s hear about it and strategize together. #liveyoursuccessstory #bariatricfitnessrx #bariatrics #wls #bariatricexercise #bariatrichealth