How To Build A Body You Can Be Proud Of
DON'T FOCUS ON HOW YOU LOOK.
That's it. That's how you build a body you can be proud of.
That’s the end of the article.
Just kidding, there is more.
This is the main point: your outward appearance is not enough to keep your mind focused on your fitness goals. I'll repeat it.
YOUR OUTWARD APPEARANCE IS NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP YOUR MIND FOCUSED ON YOUR FITNESS GOALS.
Having a nice butt is great but if it’s the only reason you go to the gym - it is not a healthy mindset. Obsessing over your body leads to more depression and anxiety - at the very least it's blocking the full benefits of exercise.
If you are doing any of the following regularly, keep reading this article.
- Standing in the mirror pinching fat.
- Skipping a meal or eating very little to "meet a calorie goal
- Eating a cookie then stressing about back fat or tummy.
- Wishing you had "her body"
- Vowing to start being healthier only to feel bad you didn't actually do it
- Spending most of your days inside the house
This is not a sustainable way to live.
It is unhealthy and your mindset has to change before your health journey can truly begin.
Your wellness and fitness goals should be about finding balance and living your best life physically and mentally. When you suffer from depression, a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve symptoms and help you learn to manage day to day life.
HOW TO BUILD A BODY YOU CAN BE PROUD OF
1. COMMIT TO LOVING YOUR BODY
To build a body you can be proud of, you need to take pride in your body. Wherever you are in your fitness journey (even if it's just thinking about starting one), stop to love and appreciate your body.
The more you stand in the mirror fussing over your "flaws" the more depression you will experience. There isn’t a single person out there that is “perfect” and trying to live up to an impossible standard will get you nowhere fast.
Being body positive is where you have to start. Fall in love with your body the way that it is currentyl, then focus on making it healthier. Your body is a temple and recognizing and treating it as such is the baseline of your motivation to a healthy journey. This includes regular exercise, healthy eating, and positive affirmations that will help you accept where you are.
With that said, let go of any shame associated with your appearance. Commit to loving yourself better than you ever have before.
Use daily affirmations to recognize your beauty and appreciate who you already are. I have heard countless stories of women giving up because they weren’t ready make a commitment and improve every aspect of their well-being. The essential ingredient is the factor of self love.
READ: HOW TO USE FITNESS AND SELF CARE TO MANAGE DEPRESSION
2. BUILD A SUSTAINABLE FITNESS ROUTINE
Seeing progress is a wonderful motivator but without a routine, you may not see results. With that said, you need to build a routine that makes sense with your lifestyle in order to become consistent.
When you are first beginning, aim for exercises 3 times every week. This is enough to see improvements in strength and conditioning without being incredibly overwhelming. Diving in at 5-6 days a week is a fast way to burn out.
If you do want to work out 6 days a week, make sure you aren’t doing something like HIIT exercise or lifting weights every single day. Have a day for low impact, like pilates or yoga, or simply go for a walk.
3. SEEK PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE
Building a sustainable fitness routine is important part of your fitness journey, however, programming for your specific goals is daunting. It's very easy to give up when you walk into a gym without any clue what to do. Seeking out a trainer will help you achieve your goals much faster and reduce your risk of injuring yourself.
This can also include attending group fitness classes led by fitness professionals and the bonus of a group encouraging you to keep going.
4. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
It's important to find the right fit for your style. Although exercising is wonderful for your mind and body, it can feel difficult in the beginning. You need to find a good fit for you and develop your own workout style.
The wrong gym can contribute to stress and overwhelm if you are constantly stressing about what people think about you, or are afraid to go into the weight room.
Ask local gyms if they have 3-7 day trials. ACTUALLY go during that time, more than once to see if you mesh well. I also recommend chatting with the staff there. Are they friendly and encouraging, or aloof? Outside motivation is important when it comes to improving your fitness and overall health.
Try out a few group classes. Again, see if local gyms have free class trials. Try ClassPass in order to try out new and different classes in your city. Check groupon for inexpensive drop-in pricing.
5. SHOOT FOR BALANCE
This tip has two different types of balance.
First the balance between strength and cardiovascular training which are both incredibly important to your physical wellness. Finding the perfect balance between the two will push you toward your fitness goals. If you are working to lose weight, try to complete 20-30 minutes of cardio 3-5x a week in addition to strength. You can also mix cardio into strength training by performing circuits and HIIT workouts.
Second make sure to balance your fitness training with other types of self care journaling, eating well and getting enough sleep.
6. FOCUS ON HOW YOU FEEL
The most important part of your fitness journey is the way it makes you feel, and there are many tangible benefits.
Improved mental clarity
Boosting your energy level
Decreasing your risk of injury
Improving muscle imbalance that cause pain (ie. low back, neck and knee pain)
These are more important than how you look.
You don’t have to deny the visual benefits and you should be proud of the aesthetic progress you’ve made, but keep it secondary to the practical benefits. Those are the factors that will keep you going.
7. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
It’s really easy to go down the Instagram rabbit hole.
“I want a butt like hers”
“I can’t wait til I’m as skinny as she is”
“I wish my legs were as defined as hers!”
STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
This comparison game has the ability to set you back and cause you to lose momentum. It’s wonderful to be inspired by someone - be inspired by their commitment, work ethic, and desire to constantly improve. Don’t wish that you looked like them. Don’t wish that your life could look like theirs. I assure you, their life isn’t as perfect as you have made it in your mind.
Every single person’s journey is personal and beautiful. Not to mention you can’t expect to have legs like someone who can deadlift 285 lbs and has been lifting for 4 years just after completing your first set of squats.
Having a healthy lifestyle is a mental game and focusing on everyone else will fast track you to giving up or pursuing your fitness goals in an unhealthy manner.
Focus on the areas you want to improve and celebrate every progression.
Now get out there and build a body you can be proud of. Keep in mind that focusing on how you look will keep you from experiencing the fullness of the mental health benefits of your journey.
Love your body and build a routine that is sustainable and fits your lifestyle and goals.
Leave a comment letting me know which tip resonates with you the most!