Sweating Out the Negativity

How difficult is it to stay positive at the gym? We work hard to create a supportive environment and enriching experience at our gyms, but we know it’s tough to stay positive one hundred percent of the time. We all have some free-floating anxieties, and at the gym, when we’re already tired out, we’re even more vulnerable to them. So, here are some tips for sweating out your bad vibes:

  • Recognize that you are making a change, and that change is hard. Of course you’re feeling vulnerable! You’ve probably felt this anxious about other changes to your routine, like a new job or new neighbourhood or new relationship. It’s only natural to feel a bit daunted by this change, too.
  • Understand that the mean voice in your head that plays to your insecurities probably belongs to someone else, from your past. Maybe it’s the bratty kid who bullied you in grade 6. Maybe it’s your mother (or your mother-in-law). But because those people are Not You, you don’t have to listen to them. Their road is not your road. You’re the one in control of you.
  • Remember: being “discouraged” is allowing something — whether it’s an ad campaign, an ex, a frenemy, or your own insecurities — to take away your courage. It’s separating you from your own willpower to do brave and adventurous things. So when you feel dis-couraged, remind yourself that this journey takes courage. The root word of “courage” is coeur, or “heart.” When you allow someone or something to dis-courage you, you’re allowing them to cut away a piece of your heart.
  • It’s easy to focus on pounds lost or sizes worn, but it can also be helpful to focus on pounds lifted and reps done. If you’ve spent time at a lot of other gyms, you might have noticed that men tend to brag about their strength, while women brag about their appearance. Mainstream culture encourages men and women to think that way, so it’s an easy trap to fall into. But if you flip the script, and focus on your strength, you’ll be doing yourself a favour. Ask yourself: can you do more than you did last week? Do you have more energy? Is your resting heart rate lower? Are you sleeping better? These are important benchmarks of health.
  • Give yourself five more minutes. This is similar to the “two more bites” approach you may have been subjected to in childhood, but it still works. When you’re feeling frustrated and you’re ready to give up, give it five more minutes (or five more reps, or five more squats). If you can finish out those five minutes, you probably don’t need to quit. One part of you may want to quit, but it’s only one part of you — and it doesn’t have to be the part you listen to.