It’s that time of year when you see red hearts, lacey this and that, roses, poetry, all of that romantic stuff everywhere you turn.
This Hallmark holiday promotes selfless love for others, but I want to flip it around. How’s your relationship with yourself? How much love are you receiving from yourself this Valentine’s Day?
Self-love is one of the most important ingredients of an effective training program and is an absolute prerequisite to lifelong health and wellness. Self-love is the understanding that you deserve kindness and happiness and that the desire to create this happiness must come from within yourself.
Approaching fitness from a place of love and appreciation for yourself and your body leads to sustainable habits and positive results. The overarching goal of training becomes to nourish yourself; with movement, food, sleep, and calm head-space. Nourishment looks like patience, sustainability, and progress and your training can follow suit.
Nourishment’s opposition is punishment. Exercise and dieting often become forms of punishment when we are unhappy with how we look, or guilty about what we’ve eaten. There are some major problems with this punishment mentality. It minimizes the effects of training. Physical training supports us well beyond improving body composition. If our head is in a negative space, we miss out on a self-discovery process in which most of us find empowerment, confidence, and all sorts of things about ourselves. A big part of this discovery is understanding your body’s adaptation to varying intensities. In almost every scenario when exercise is viewed as punishment training intensity is adversely high and working out is not enjoyable.
This mentality leads to very aesthetically driven goals. “I want to lose 15 lbs” or “I want a six pack.” This type of goal can provide temporary motivation but is not sustainable for a lifetime. These goals also lend themselves to harsh and judgmental self-talk. Sustainable goals aim at the process, not the outcome. Outcome goals can be beneficial in offering direction. But alone, they don’t actually bring us closer to achieving what we really want.
Process goals are the real drivers of success, and they require the patience and honesty of self-love. If you want to lose weight process goals might include wanting to become more consistent with your nutrition or wanting to improve mobility so you can do more compound movements. Process goals lead to incremental progression and lifelong health and wellness.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Society is filled with messages of romance and my hope is that you are showered with love. But, I hope for a love that starts with yourself and leads to sustainable habits and positive training results.
by Bryan Falk-Steinmetz
Fitness Coach, RaceStart Training