Ask any personal trainer and they’ll tell you that the biggest snags to getting on with a training program and making real improvements are purely psychological.
A self-esteem that’s in tatters is like having a reverse cheerleader, some tiny troll that follows you around and insults you while you workout.
But it’s time to let go of that.
Here are some things to remember when you’re feeling crap about yourself and your progress:
- Nobody cares. I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and tell you that you’re beautiful. You’re probably just fine, but more importantly, nobody is paying enough attention to notice. Think about it. The last time you were at the gym, did you look over every single person and rate them for their bodies and worth as human beings? If you did, you might consider professional help for that, but chances are most people fade into the background. Like you also do.
- Focus on doing. This can be especially hard for women who’ve had some intensive social conditioning in life that fitness is all about how you look (proof: any “fitness” magazine). You should, instead, not worry about your physical appearance but by turning your focus on what you can do. Your body is a functional thing. You’ll care less about your belly if you’re on the other end of a set of badass pull-ups.
- Nobody’s perfect. Ok, some people are perfect. But hot, firm bodies are usually a result of youth more than anything. Washboard abs are nice, but what’s also nice is developing a kind of discipline and dignity you learn as you train. Self-knowledge, an indomitable spirit, courage and all that other fluffy goodness – these are the other rewards of perseverance in the gym.
I get it. I used to be that “shy”, awkward kid in the locker rooms, desperately trying to get changed without anyone seeing me, wondering if my bellybutton was normal.
I can tell you: that was 100% wasted time and energy. Nobody cared that I wasn't perfect, and in the end, none of it mattered anyway.
If anyone’s interested, I have since discovered that my bellybutton is just fine.