Gym class sucked for most of us women.
One word: DODGEBALL.
I can still hear the sound of that ball, and can still feel the sting of getting hit, both physically and emotionally!
And how about: PARTICIPACTION?
Please! I barely earned the stupid pin!
Total nightmare for anyone but the "jocks" in school.
All of it pretty much sucked. Competitive, intimidating, humiliating. Not fun.
(Oh wow, I just remembered that rope we had to try and climb.
What were they thinking?!)
I forged my Mum's signature on many notes to get me the hell out of that class. Ugh.
I often hear from clients that they want to workout but they hate exercise, and it is usually followed by: "I have since gym class".
But let's think about that for just a second or two.
They are saying that they haven't changed their thoughts, feelings or beliefs surrounding exercise since they were around 12 (when most things to do with physical fitness became mortifying).
They are closing the door on any possibility of liking (forget loving) fitness based on their experience years ago.
Not changing the narrative at all on that topic.
Assuming something about themselves based on the past.
Accepting something about themselves based on the past.
Basing the fact that they hate exercise on DODGEfuckingBALL.
(That doesn't seem fair to fitness at all, right?)
So, no matter what the physical activity is, and no matter what age they are:
THEY HATE EXERCISE.
They will not enjoy it. End of story.
No blame or judgement here at all, it is the way we humans operate.
Once a negative experience occurs, we hold onto the memory of it to protect ourselves from it ever happening again.
This is a brilliant survival technique and something to be grateful for and proud of.
(don't go that way again, that's where that dangerous animal's den is)
So, any form of exercise, in the mind of someone who hated gym class, is going to be clumped into the horrible experience that Dodgeball (or that horrible rope climbing) was.
However, when the "danger" is not actually dangerous, and it is holding us back from being who we want to be, how we want to live, and bringing out the next best version of ourselves.....we need to question it, not just simply accept it as fact.
I can remember many moments when I have felt big love for fitness.
What I can't remember is the moment that my narrative changed from dreading gym class to never wanting to miss a BodyPump class at Goodlife.
I can't remember an actual moment of change because it happened naturally, as a process. The change occurred because I have always questioned and pondered my thoughts and beliefs (and everyone else's too!).
It has always been an innate fascination and curiosity of mine.
Why we think and behave the way we do.
Looking for the "behind the scenes" of our way of being.
I have always added a "Yeah, but what if we looked at it like this" element to pretty much everything.
Always seeking the outside along with the inside of the box.
(Now I see how my career as a Life Coach is such a great fit for my mind!)
So much of my work is with women who need help to discover what old thoughts/feelings/beliefs are blocking them from being the next best version of themselves and being the person they truly desire to be.
At some point, I knew I wanted to workout. (who I wanted to be)
At some point, I investigated whether I really did hate exercise, or if it was just the horrible memory of gym class. (limiting belief to ponder)
More importantly, I questioned whether I wanted to hate exercise or not.
And the answer was NO!
I wanted to embrace and enjoy fitness.
I wanted it to be a part of my life. (the next version of me being held back by an old belief.)
So, I changed my thoughts about it.
This led to a change in my feelings about it.
This changed my belief about it.
This changed my behaviour and habits: finding the time, energy and love for fitness. (being the person I wanted to be and living the life I wanted to live.)
I encourage you to do the same.
(About anything really.)
If you are a woman who says she hates exercise.....ask yourself: "Based on what?"
Then ask yourself: "Do you want to change how you feel about it?"
And really be honest about it.
There is a chance that this old belief is still serving you.
Perhaps it is there for you because you are actually really fucking exhausted and actually don't want to exercise.
That is different from hating it.
That is you seeing the truth: you don't want to exercise.
You are exhausted.
Once you uncover the truth, you will be able to change your story from thinking you are someone who hates exercise to someone who just doesn't have the energy right now to add it in.
Totally fair and understandable!
And a way more valid reason than hating it because gym class sucked. The cool thing is: when/if you find more energy, you will go forth and find your fitness - and do it gladly!
You are solving the real block and not setting yourself to hating it no matter what.
But when/if you found more energy and time, but still believed that you hated exercise....you may go ahead and workout, but you would still hate it.
Because that is what you still believe.
Chances are greater that you would find ways out of doing it when you are believing you hate it.
(any equivalent to forging a note from your Mum)
"Well no wonder I'm not succeeding at this, I HATE exercising!" I hope this is making sense.
Or maybe the thought: "I HATE EXERCISING" is based on the limiting belief that all exercise out there totally sucks.
This can be based in the past experience of gym class, too.
It's not like we had a choice, right?
"Dodgeball? No thanks, I'll be over here line dancing until the bell rings, thanks".
We had to take part in the activity no matter what.
And it was competitive and a source of nightmares for so many of us.
Seeing exercise through the eyes of the limiting belief that "it's an intimidating and competitive thing that I have no choice in" would lead to hating it for sure.
It blocks the logical, adult part of your brain from saying: "Hang on a sec, what about line dancing? You love line dancing! THAT IS EXERCISE TOO! AWESOME!"
Or walking the dog, belly dancing, playing with your children, badminton, kicking a ball around, hula hooping, horseback riding, drumming, ballet, yoga, swimming, paddle boating, ribbon acrobats, 3 sets of bicep curls and 30 seconds of squats, taking the stairs and going up 2 more floors than you need to and coming back down again.....it's all exercise.
You only need 15-30 minutes a day!
And it can be doing whatever you want to do to move that remarkable body of yours.
It's your turn to choose.
You don't need to go to the gym or do a cross fit workout or a Zumba class if that's not your thing.
Start at your own pace.
Get to know what you want to do and for how long and for how often.
It's your gym class now - what do you feel like doing?
Reframe it as movement, not exercise (if that word makes you cringe a bit).
You don't need to follow a fitness Instagram guru for workouts or tips - in fact, that can drive the limiting beliefs even deeper into you.
The fitness industry can feel just as intimidating as gym class and can solidify your limiting beliefs.....leaving you doing nothing because you are telling yourself that YOU HATE EXERCISE because it sucks just as much as gym class did.
Sorry, one more side note:
I have seen many workout videos labeled: For Beginners.
BULLSHIT! 99% of these are not for beginners!
If I were just starting out and was searching Workouts for Beginners and came across these as my source, I would be totally defeated. I would give up. I would be ashamed at not being able to even do a "beginner" workout. Believe me when I tell you, these are unfair and DO NOT represent where anyone starting out should begin! They don't give you instruction on proper form and they are far too challenging. You risk injury and feeling useless.
Just wanted you to know this in case you have experienced any "I can't even do a Beginner workout" thoughts. It isn't you!
Okay, we're back:
Where to go from here.
It is a simple concept, but it is not an easy thing to do.
Find the limiting belief and investigate it.
If you don't want it, change it.
It takes practise and patience, women!
It's a process. Remember that and take the time it needs.
Step one: Find the thought/belief that you want to question. ("I hate exercising")
Step two: Ask yourself what that is based in. ("Why do I think I hate exercise?")
a) Based on past experience:
Remind yourself that you are no longer that younger version of yourself and reframe that thought. ("I get why I felt that way in the past, but I now want to be the version of me that looks forward to moving this awesome body of mine.
Result: Now I know I don't hate it, awesome!)
b) Not based on past experience:
Find out what the truth behind it is. ("If it's not because gym class sucked, why am I telling myself that I hate exercise? Maybe I actually really don't want to exercise, I am too tired. I just didn't want to admit that to myself, it feels like I am failing.")
Maybe saying that you hate exercise is an easier pill to swallow than saying you are too tired and can't handle the idea of fitting it in right now. Because the ability to 'fit it all in and then some' is a badge of honour in our current society and to admit you can't do it all is looked at as weak.
Just like being the first one hit in Dodgeball or being the last one picked for the team.
Ouch. What a memory that is. No wonder you are trying to block that feeling.
Be okay with admitting the truth and don't feel badly about whatever comes up.
Give yourself a relaxing inhale and exhale and work on helping yourself heal what the real truth is.
("I am better off resting right now. I'll go for nice walks after dinner, or go to bed 1/2 an hour earlier than I do now. Once I am feeling more energized, I'll start working out.
Same result: Now I know I don't hate it, awesome!)
Either of these scenarios: You need to "sit" with them for awhile. It will take time to reset your thoughts/feelings/beliefs.
Once you practise thinking your new thoughts and do it often enough, it will become a belief of yours. You will fully own it.
A belief is a thought that has been thought a shitton of times.
Once your new belief is in place, I promise you that your actions and behaviours will match the new belief.
You become that woman in all its totality.
If you are no longer telling yourself that you hate exercise, you will begin to exercise and enjoy it. Actually embracing it and looking forward to it. Can you imagine that?
And loving who you are. Meaning: taking care of yourself.
If you discover that the underneath of that belief was actually exhaustion, you will find ways to lessen your fatigue. You will find ways to fix that legitimate reason for not choosing to exercise. Meaning: taking care of yourself.
(Instead of beating yourself up mentally for not being able to "handle" working out or pushing yourself to "do it anyway"...leading to strengthening the untruth that you hate exercise - what a vicious, shitty cycle!) Meaning: not taking care of yourself.
It is important to know that you are capable of changing old beliefs, ones that are no longer serving you.
You can change the thought patterns that are limiting your potential to become all that you want to become.
You are most definitely in control of your thoughts and the direction you want to go!
It takes stepping back and having a good (friendly, understanding and loving) look at your current thoughts and being willing to let some go.
We are to be forever evolving, forever changing, forever growing.
We are here to learn, to be brave, to invite change in.
Here to help when you are ready :)