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Phrases we should ban from the gym for good

After 10 years in the TV biz and 8 years as a competitive boxer, all my passions collide to bring a fresh, fun and often sassy perspective on all things fitness and lifestyle.

We've all heard the popular phrase, "mind over matter." As much as I believe in the power of positivity, I also believe there are certain situations where this mantra just simply does not apply.

For example, imagining myself lying on a beach will not help me from freezing my ass off, in the dead of winter. Similarly, envisioning a full bank account will not help me afford those coveted YSL booties. Channeling Beyonce will not make me look more graceful in front of a wind machine, (trust me, I've tried) and no matter how many times I picture Tom Hardy on top of me, I'm almost positive this fantasy will never materialize.

On the flip side of these unfortunate realities, there are many circumstances where the "mind over matter" motto is quite effective. This is especially true when it comes to fitness and body image. So much of the gym game comes down to attitude and mindset. Don't let a bad attitude stand in your way of success. Here are five phrases you should ban from the gym, forever.

"I hate this!"

If this sentence is going through your mind mid-workout, ask yourself one question, and answer it honestly. "Do I just hate this style of exercise or do I hate all forms of exercise?" If it's the former, then switch it up! There's so much out there. Explore different classes, sports and trainers until you find what works for you. But, if you're just not feeling exercise in general, then I'm sorry to say, we need to work on your attitude.

First of all, I do applaud you for showing up despite your dislike for being active. However, perpetuating this bad attitude will only make your time there more torturous which will in turn cause you to be less eager to show up in the future. Though I would love nothing more than to have you repeat, "I love sweating" over and over in your mind, lying to yourself simply won't work. What you need to do is focus on the positives that are buried deep in your mind. For example what are the reasons it's a priority for you to move your body? Perhaps it's about increasing longevity. Or, maybe it's so you can keep up with your babies (or in my case, fur babies). Maybe the motivation is weight loss, either for your health or for an upcoming event. You could even be there with hopes of finding a date. No shame! Whatever the reason, it's important to focus on those positive goals and block out that "Negative Nancy" voice in your head. That way even if you don't love working out, you can remind yourself of all the good things that will come out of showing up and working hard!

"I'll never be as strong as her!"

Picture this: You've spent the better part of the last few years working on your push ups... or perhaps, push up. It's not your forte, but you're trying. Kudos to you! So, you're at the gym and look over to the girl on the mat next to you who is effortlessly pumping out one push up after the other. You have a few options here. You can let it devastate you, defeat you and deter you from ever trying again. Or let it inspire you, encourage you to keep at it and move on with your life.

Worrying about other people's fitness levels is not only totally pointless, it's extremely short sighted. You don't know if that woman has been practicing day and night to perfect her push ups. Maybe she's really good at push ups but has underdeveloped leg strength. There are probably many things that you can do that she can't. But all that doesn't matter. You're different people with different goals, different resources, different body types. Stop harping on comparisons, remind yourself of your strengths and keep working on your weaknesses.

"I'm skipping that exercise"

Been there, done that. Believe me! Truth be told, there are many days when I’ve said to myself, "Today is just not a burpees day!" Or, "Jump lunges suck!" The problem is, it's generally the exercises we don't want to do, that we actually need to do. Chances are we hate doing them because we're not good at them. They cause our lungs to burn and our muscles to ache days later. Sound familiar? Thought so. Brace yourself for another annoying mantra, "practice makes perfect." Yes, the only way to make these moves less torturous, is to get better at them... i.e. do them more often. Eventually we will master them and move on to hating something new.

"I don't have time to stretch"

Again, this is another phrase that I've spent a lot of time saying to myself over the years. I used to feel like stretching was a waste of time; an annoying chore that I would prefer to skip, in favour of more "hardcore" work. But, it wasn't until I took the personal training certification that I learned that not prioritizing flexibility is the equivalent to ignoring cardio, or snubbing strength training. Each one is crucial to being truly fit. Also, turns out, flexibility isn't for suckers. Actually, it's exactly the opposite. Stretching more only helps increase exercise intensity. It helps you lift heavier, run faster, punch harder, kick higher, recover sooner and best of all, not worry about injury setbacks. Sold!

"I'm so fat"

I saved the worst for last. This is both the most common and the most damaging phrase of them all. Calling yourself "fat" mid-workout is both detrimental to your progress and also just downright depressing! But, isn't this the total opposite of how we're supposed to feel after a good gym session? Exercise is supposed to uplift you; make you feel better, stronger, more accomplished. Sweating it out should make you feel powerful, unstoppable, indestructible. Name-calling will only stand in your way of reaping these incredibly positive benefits.

We all have different goals and if getting in better shape is one of yours, then that's great! But, to gain success we must stop insulting and start uplifting. Try focusing less on your weight and more on fitness-related goals. For example, concentrate on increasing the speed of your sprints, how long you can hold a plank or the amount of weight you can squat. Feel good about those benchmarks as you reach them, appreciate the hard work you put in, and replace the phrase "I'm so fat" with "I'm so strong!" #Boom

Image: yuan2003/Flickr
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