Written by Susie Lemmer
Can the very act of working out help you increase your body positivity while you work out? Choosing the right class format, type of exercise, instructor, and even location can make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself.
Do you find yourself hiding towards the back of your fitness class or waiting until the gym is nearly empty before working out? How are you supposed to get results if your workout leaves you feeling insecure and critical of your body? Regardless of the type of fitness activity you participate in, your fitness mindset will have the greatest impact on your body confidence and positivity.
First and foremost, change what you’re focusing on. Rather than relying on scale numbers or measurements, develop a fitness mindset that uses strength, endurance, and body awareness as a measuring stick. Functional fitness trains muscles and movements that are used in everyday life and improves your life far beyond the gym or studio walls.
Avoid emphasizing superficial goals, such as getting “bikini ready,” and find classes where the focus is weight neutral. A weight-neutral focus might focus on flexibility, stability, and even mental and internal benefits that can be achieved.
Don’t engage with trainers or attend classes that “punish” you or use language like “Earn that dessert!” Food is neither earned nor a reward, and exercise should not be viewed as a punishment. Thinking of fitness in such a negative light can lead to you also thinking about your body negatively. Instead, try to view fitness and exercise as a positive, empowering force in your life, and that mindset will spill over into how you view your body.
When it comes to location, do your homework! Make sure you aren’t choosing a venue where you’re intimidated by the other members, the trainers/instructors, or the setting. Comfort is key, and everyone feels at home under different circumstances. What works for your friends might not work for you, and there is nothing wrong with that!
Don’t be lured by the anonymity that large group offer. You might think that being part of a large crowd helps you hide, but if you want to become more positive and confident in yourself and your body, find a place that encourages you to develop relationships with the instructors and your fellow classmates.
Several exercise modalities encourage body positivity over traditional motivators, such as dress size and calories burned. Pilates concentrates on mobility, flexibility, and alignment and thus promotes better posture and increases lean body mass and strength in a sustainable, low-impact way. Benefits can be gleaned from both mat and reformer Pilates.
Yoga is one of the most body-positive workout practices. In fact, the focus in yoga is on just that: your own practice and your own body. Yoga has many of the same physical benefits as Pilates, but there is a very strong mental component to yoga as well. The mental aspect of yoga is based largely on developing your breath and accepting your body and what you can accomplish each time you come to your mat. There are also various branches of yoga, providing you with many opportunities to find the practice that speaks the most to you!
Though the ballet barre may have previously been associated with lithe ballerinas, barre classes are a great equalizer. Regardless of your weight or curves (or lack thereof!), barre classes are a great way to gain strength while making your muscles quake.
If you want a heart-pounding, higher-intensity workout, check out a kickboxing class or boxing club and discover just how strong you are! Classes like Zumba and cardio dance give you the chance to develop a skill (or show off the skills you already have!) while sweating out your day. Certain bootcamp workouts can also be highly body positive, particularly those that utilize a variety of workout styles and lots of bodyweight and partner movements. Opt for bootcamps that foster teamwork and where everyone encourages each other.
The common theme of all these body-positive workouts is that the majority of them utilize your own body weight in a functional way. Rather than requiring you to feel competitive with how much everyone else is lifting, you will move your body in a natural manner until you progress beyond that point.
Working out with weights can be incredibly beneficial when you work with a personal trainer who can help you shape your body and increase your mental and physical strength without you even realize that you’re doing it. Working one-on-one with a professional who knows exactly how to help you get the most from your time in the gym is invaluable experience that can transform the way you work out.
Just like when you’re looking for the right fitness class, instructor, and gym location, remember that not every personal trainer will be the right fit for you. Some trainers are very focused on having you reach quantifiable goals (e.g., weight, dress size), while others might focus more on helping you develop yourself in other ways. A good trainer will push you, but he or she will also understand when you need to back off.
Working out can be overwhelming and intimidating for anyone. But with the right workout, you will find yourself strutting in and out of the gym in no time!
Source: Fix.com Blog