While I was working the other day at my gym, I stopped in front of our locker room to check out the newest complimentary trainnig sessions we were offering to our members. You see, at a commercial gym, we trainers have to promote ourselves to the members to pick up paying clients and one way we do that is through offering free classes and workshops. When you’re a new trainer hustling to pick up clients, you have to stand out from the crowd. And that typically means coming up with the catchiest titles and flyers to allure members.
So it is not uncommon to see titles like:
- Ab Blaster
- Tighten and Tone Your Arms
- Feel the BURN!
And words like this: Extreme, Intense, Attack.
In media, we see something similar with our wording:
- The “battle” of the bulge
- The “fight” against cancer
- The obesity “epidemic”
It’s as if we are in a war against our own bodies and I got to thinking: Why are we attacking and almost, punishing our bodies when most of us are overworked, overstressed, undernourished, and lacking love in our lives. Why do we find the need to punish ourselves even more?
I mean really. Do you really want to “blast” your abs? When I hear this I think of blasting the side of a mountain with dynamite. Do we want to blast the very part of our body that gives us structural integrity?
I dunno, maybe I’m just rambling a little, but it just does not make sense to me.
Its marketing like this that conditions us to think that “pain” is “gain”. That being completely debilitated after a session is a sign of a good workout. That a trainer is a good trainer because he or she can make it difficult for you to squat and pee after a class.
Its all pretty silly to me.
I posted a few weeks back on Facebook that I just don’t get what our fascination is with bragging about how sore we are after a workout. And it stirred a little commotion at the gym amongst my co-workers. I mean, I get it. It means that change is occurring in the body, we tear our muscles to build them back up, yadda yadda yadda, yeah I get it. But its more so the mentality of how we view our workouts that I’m trying to get at here.
I mean, even the term “workout” implies that we are giving up some part of us. But aren’t our workouts suppose to be giving us something? Like better health, a better body, and a better sense of being?
It’s no wonder with a mentality like this that we feel our bodies are working against us. We are dieting like crazy and working out like crazy, and yet we’re not seeing any results.
For instance, just this week I started working with a nutrition and lifestyle client who was struggling with this. She had a typical story, a 33 year old stay at home mother of 3, she wasn’t overweight by any means, but she suffered from fatigue, anxiety, GI issues and cardioitis…you know, that deadly condition of being addicted to cardio and yet not losing any weight. She came to me so that she could learn how to eat better, to have a better relationship with her body and just to feel better. But what was her workout schedule?
5-6 days at the gym at the ass-crack of dawn to do 30 minutes of cardio on her own BEFORE a 60 minute cardio class.
Uh, no wonder she was tired.
She even admitted that she didn’t actually like cardio – that she forces herself to do it. And just as if we were to force an animal into a corner, our body will defend itself. If that’s the case, good luck trying to get your body on your side. Yet, we continue to slave away forcing ourselves to stick to workouts and diets that give us no pleasure.
I mean, is this what we’ve come to?
I just don’t get it.
So what I trying to say in this post is that I think it’s time for us to take a step back and re-evaluate how we look at our attitudes towards our workouts and our bodies. Instead of attacking our body and causing pain on our body, why don’t we look at ways to be in harmony with our body? I mean, we live in our body, it is ours, we own it, why do we treat it like a red-headed stepchild? (no offense to my red-headed readers).
Let’s find ways to nourish our bodies, to heal our bodies.
Part of that may actually mean not working out.
Part of that may actually mean eating more calories.
Part of that may actually mean being honest with yourself about what you want with life.
And a part of that may actually mean addressing emotional issues that are causing you poor health rather than hopping from one program to the next trying to find your “answer”.
So, the next time you head to the gym, ask yourself: Am I at war against my own body?