True Fitness Is A State Of Mind – Written by Anne Marber.

Forget What The Media Tells You – True Fitness Is A State Of Mind.

The fitness and weight loss industry is huge. Everywhere, headlines scream about new ways to lose weight, to put on muscle, to eradicate cellulite and chisel your abs. New diets and fitness challenges appear every day, and quickly gather devotees. However, many if not most of these are doomed to fail. While some may see temporary results, the mindset that promotes appearance rather than general health does not stand people well in the long run if they want to maintain the levels of slim fitness they’ve attained during their gimmicky diets or muscle-piling challenges. Fitness is a mental state – and, in order to achieve that mental state, one must forget virtually everything that the established weight loss and muscle-gain industries tell us…

Don’t Be Distracted By Shiny Equipment

Fitness doesn’t have to be all about the gym. It doesn’t even have to be all about expensive fitness equipment. Of course, these things can be a great help – but the danger is often that they become either a distraction from the real business of honing your body, or the be-all-and-end-all, without which you believe that fitness is an impossibility. One must always remember that, while gyms are enormously beneficial for many people, they are also trying to make a profit. They therefore encourage users to believe that there can be no real gain in fitness without their facilities – which leads many to pin their fitness hopes onto gym machines rather than developing a focus and mental attitude which would undoubtedly benefit them more. It’s all too easy for individuals to neglect their health and fitness completely outside the gym. The simple truth is that you do not actually need the gym to get fit. Indeed, while gym equipment and the gym environment can greatly help many to develop that mental focus you need to get fit, if you have the right mental attitude, it’s completely possible to get fit without spending a penny. If you are the type to get easily distracted from the main issue – your own health and fitness – by shiny exercise machines and gym propaganda about weight loss, 30 day goals and so on, then you may be a lot better off spending your gym subscription money on holistic exercise classes, or a holistic personal trainer who will help you to develop that all-important mental attitude.

Don’t Set Goals

Given that health and fitness appears from the outside to be mainly about the body, it’s surprising how much of it comes from inside the your brain. The simple fact is, however, that fitness is a state of mind. Furthermore, it’s a state of mind that needs to be developed and cultivated just as much as your muscles if you’re going to achieve true, whole, holistic fitness. True fitness is for life – not just for slimming into a Christmas party dress, or buffing up for the beach. This piece of advice is somewhat contrary to most of the fitness tips you’ll hear on other platforms – but it works: don’t set superficial goals. Instead, set yourself the goal of constantly working towards and maintaining your personal health and fitness. The thing is, if you set yourself the goal of, say, losing five pounds in three months, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for a lifetime of yo-yoing fitness and a profoundly unhealthy mental attitude towards your body. While you may (in fact, you probably will) lose those five pounds, once you’ve achieved your goal you’re likely to congratulate yourself heartily and head right back into your old habits. In another five months, you’ll be staring back at your old self in the mirror. ‘That’s ok’, you think, ‘I’ll just set myself another challenge’. Which you do, and achieve, only for the pattern to repeat itself again. Statistically, people who use this ‘challenge’ method of weight loss and fitness-gain tend to revert to their old physiques within a few years. The ‘yo-yo’ effect is also pretty bad for both your body and your mind. Perhaps the most harmful effect of this type of weight loss is the idea it gives you that your body is a resource which you can play around with and modify at will. Not so. Your body is an essential part of the whole that makes up ‘you’, and thinking that you can alter it willy-nilly through spurious and superficial ‘goals’ is an unhealthy attitude to develop. It is far better to forget weight loss and fitness ‘goals’, and to focus instead upon developing a healthy, fit lifestyle which will last you a lifetime. The weight loss and toning-up will follow as a side-effect.

Forget Your Looks

Concentrating on your health rather than your appearance is absolutely key to developing the right mental attitude. On one level, this is because you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more if you’re less focused on what you look like. Exercises like kettlebells put your body through some interesting contortions and facial expressions, very few of which are particularly sexy! On a deeper level, you’ll also be less liable to get depressed and frustrated, and jack it all in if visible results are a long time coming. If you concentrate on changes in how you feel rather than changes in how you look, you’re a lot more likely to remain positive about the endeavour. Furthermore, if you understand that what you’re doing is for deep and lasting health reasons rather than superficial aspects of your appearance, you will also begin to develop a much healthier relationship with your body. This is something that people pay counsellors a fortune for, so treasure it! Finally, entering into a regime with the holistic idea that this is for your entire self, not just for your appearance, then you are a lot more likely to incorporate your newfound respect for your personal health into every aspect of your lifestyle. As such, it’ll become a way of life rather than a temporary weight-or-muscle based initiative. If you start to work for your health rather than the way you look, the habits you form will last a lifetime. The appearance stuff will follow as a side effect – trust us on that – you simply have to make the mental transition from the idea of a weight-loss ‘regime’ to a fully integrated healthy lifestyle – of which fitness is a vital part.

Anne Marber December 2014

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