We live in a world that demands perfection. It’s as though everyone plasters their happy endings all over social media without showcasing the hard work, grit, and failures that were necessary along the way. This false sense of success so easily displayed online can create external motivation for others to achieve the same successes. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can become a slippery slope when goals become inauthentic to oneself. Loneliness, confusion, and feelings of disappointment can be common themes when people work hard simply for the gratification of others.
Fitness is a prime example. Oftentimes we put others' opinions of ourselves ahead of our own when it comes to body image and performance in the gym. From personal experience, this can lead to an ugly cycle of chasing perfection.
When you start seeing progress in the gym, especially as a beginner when the success comes quickly, continual improvement becomes addicting. Needing to objectively improve every session becomes necessary in order to feel successful. For some, fitness may be strength training three times a week, and for others it may be a spin or cardio class everyday. It doesn’t matter how it looks, what matters is how much power you give your fitness routine. Giving fitness and “dieting” everything you have, day in and day out can lead to an unbalanced life that becomes unfulfilling. Below are four crucial ways to ensure the need for perfection is not ruining your fitness experience.
Know Your “Why”
It is common to get lost in the process of becoming our best self while improving health, performance, and body composition. The adrenaline, the feelings of success, and the thirst for more can leave you feeling dried out without warning. It is crucial to know why exercising is important to YOU! Having a deeper understanding on how fitness makes you a better version of yourself and WHY you are doing it, can make the hard times more worthwhile. If your WHY involves someone other than yourself, and you allow them to be the reason for reaching your fitness goals, exercising can become dreadful.
Take A Step Back
During the process of continual improvement, it is natural for things to feel monotonous. Doing the same thing over and over again may leave you feeling lost or empty. Feeling this way all of the time is not okay! Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture; why you work out, sleep 7+ hours, eat high quality foods, etc., can help ease the feelings of loss or emptiness. Seeing the whole picture can help identify areas where improvement is needed while also acknowledging where progress has been made.
When we refuse to take a step back and reflect, it can become easy to ignore red flags that lead to injuries or even something bigger.
Sometimes taking a step back may involve taking a short break. It is a common belief that taking breaks will affect your results, but that is a myth! The truth is, while you may detrain to a degree, taking a short amount of time away from the gym will help your body to fully recover, and allow mental recovery that will support more focused pursuits in the long-run. Furthermore, changing environments can help you see things in a new perspective that will contribute to your success in and out of the gym.
It is part of the process to have crappy days and the sooner we can accept that, the sooner we can enjoy all parts of the health and fitness journey; the good and the bad. In the end, it’s not about the destination that matters most, but the journey. Finding positives in every training session will help you gain a deeper perspective about yourself as a human.
Find the Positives
Whenever you have a bad training session, don’t let it dictate the rest of your day. When things don’t go the way you expected; the weight lifted wasn’t what you wanted, or your conditioning was slower than expected, you can only take it as a lesson and move onto the next thing in life. Don’t hold onto that bad moment at the gym, rather focus on the good things that happened during that session. Even if it feels like there weren’t any, there is always a silver lining, you just have to practice finding it. For some, just showing up is already a huge win! Everything, big or small you do inside or outside the gym sums up the achievement of your goals. A small mishap down the road won’t erase everything you have accomplished.
Think of every training session as either a good session or a learning experience. When you get caught up in chasing perfectionism at the gym, you can lose sight of what was once important to you: family, friends, health, etc. Training, if it is not done in order to compete, should not drain all of your energy in a way that leaves nothing left for the rest of the day. There are many small victories in life that we can learn to appreciate other than what happened in a single training session. If you are tired of chasing perfection and want to get control back of your training sessions, click the link below to schedule a free strategy session with one of our professional coaches!