Why the Gym Should Not be a Punishment

It is so easy to fall into the common trap of using the gym as a form of punishment for your body, particularly at this time of year. You will hear it all the time, people talking about how they need to burn off yesterday’s food or more specifically Christmas lunch. Not only does this perpetuate feelings of guilt surrounding going to the gym, but it can harm your relationship with food and exercise.

Instead make a conscious choice to rewire the way you see exercise. A good way to do this is by beginning to look towards performance goals rather than as punishment. Some performance goals may be;

  • Rowing 1000m in a quicker time
  • Walking to the next house, street sign, or block in the same amount of time
  • Getting your first pull up
  • Trying a new class that you originally thought may be too hard
  • Putting your shoes on with ease

So instead of seeing exercise as a way to burn off the food you eat, see it as a way to improve your health, fitness, ability to perform day-to-day tasks, hobbies, and most importantly be proud of what your body is capable of.

Setting Yourself Up to Avoid the New Year’s Resolution Trap

The buzz of the new year often brings around feelings of wanting to completely start over, upturn your life, and become the best version of yourself in the shortest time possible. Resist this urge! Instead aim for sustainable changes that are not just going to get you through the next six-week challenge at your gym but rather the next six years and more. When we talk about goal setting, the SMART principle is often used as an effective way to assess the goals you have made for yourself. Goals must be:

S- Specific A goal should be well defined to maintain accountability and have a clear path to achieve it. Think who, what, when, where, and why.

M- Measurable. The goal should have specific criteria to measure your progress e.g., Decrease the time taken to walk 1km.

A- Achievable Make sure your goal is attainable and not impossible, within the timeline.

R- Relevant Is your goal worthwhile and is it going to benefit you and your life?

T- Time-based A clearly defined start and end date will enable you to plan each step along the way.

Whilst making sure your goals meet these criteria is a great first step on the road to success, it is also important to think about the barriers or road bumps you may face along the way. Planning for the road bumps reduces feelings of anxiety when they do come up and gives you clear strategies to deal with them so you can continue to progress. It is also a clever idea to find someone to help you reach your goal. Whether that be your partner, a friend, your children, or a professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, they will be able to help you plan your goals and strategies to overcome any barriers.