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This Is Not A Punishment – Why This Should Become Your New Exercise Mantra

Hangovers, credit card debit and ten years of being reminded of the fringe from hell every time you whip out your drivers license. There are plenty of things in life that punish us for our moments of weakness and your workouts should not be one of them. 

We’ve all had people tell us a one hour workout is 4% of your day, but who are these people? Are they aliens? Do they not eat, sleep, or require gainful employment? Once you squeeze in the recommended eight hours of shut eye, complete a work day and put aside a few hours for commuting, eating, dressing and basic hygiene, your one hour workout is taking up around 1/4 of your free time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be prioritising this time for getting your sweat on. You should. It will improve every aspect of your life from your brain function to your orgasms. I am simply saying you shouldn’t be spending 25% of your precious free time moving your body in any way that doesn’t bring you joy and leave you feeling energised.

This starts by learning to recognise the difference between discomfort and despair. Discomfort can be a good thing, and without it we wouldn’t grow. It’s the final thirty seconds in a three minute plank, a first attempt at boxing or a chaturanga. There will always be an element of discomfort when trying something new or pushing to another level. Despair for me was grinding it out on the cross trainer like a zombie every morning before breakfast, feeling half starved, attempting to get incrementally leaner. Those of us that are able bodied enough to sweat are privileged and our workouts should be a celebration of that, not penance for overdoing it on the chocolate covered almonds.

If you aren’t enjoying the exercise you’re currently doing, why? Is it because you feel unsure or uncomfortable? You aren’t enjoying the setting or are feeling blasé about your current routine? There are so many different ways to move your ass and I’ll bet my boots you can find something that will serve you. Treating a workout as a way to give back to yourself and your body can help us to make choices that support our overall well being. If you’re exhausted, rest. Had a busy work day and can’t stand the thought of a crowded gym? Get outside for a walk or run, or get on your mat and do some yoga. When you start opting for the workout you’ll enjoy over the one you think you should be doing I can almost guarantee you’ll be up for it more often.

It’s about time we started treating our bodies as allies rather than an adversaries. Would you force your best friend to do 50 burpees in two minutes when she was really in the mood for a brisk walk? If she was feeling under the weather would you push her into a power Bikram class and tell her to work, bitch? Your body deserves all of the kindness and compassion you show to the other people in your life. The key it to remember: if you wouldn’t force it on your gal pals, don’t do it to your body. And always think twice before cutting your own fringe. 

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