Mindfulness is more than just living in the present. Did you know mindfulness is also changing the way we think about fitness? It’s known as Mind-Body Fitness or integrative fitness. It’s a new holistic outlook that proves that being healthy is to improve your whole self– physical, mental, and emotional. In this day and age, most people are so consumed and obsessed with fitness. Don’t get me wrong, thanks to classpass I work out several times a week, but there’s a missing link to reaching our healthiest self that most of us overlook: The Mind!
We research the latest diet fads, fitness trends, and healthy recipes, yet we rarely do the research and due diligence to grow and ‘exercise’ our mind. If you think about it, the mind is our most powerful muscle, yet we take the least amount of time and effort to develop it. Our mind is the real hero behind conquering your latest juice cleanse, hitting your next PR, or nailing that impossible yoga pose. Once we start to realize the potential of our minds and the impact on all facets of our life, the sooner we can start achieving all our goals. But let’s get back to Mind-Body Fitness for now; I could talk about the importance of our minds all day long!
The key to Mind-Body fitness is to be conscious and aware of the ‘what’ and ‘why’. Instead of working out because we want to shed some lbs., think about what you want to accomplish- not in the long run but what do you want to accomplish right here, right now. This paradigm shift makes it easier to toss the concept of rock hard abs out the window, and your left with what works best for you and your body to create a healthier you.
Check in with your body
Newsflash: you don’t have to go HAM every time you tackle a workout. Some days I just don’t have the energy to go in on a workout. I’m too tired from the weekend festivities, feeling under the weather, or I’m just not feeling it. Guess what; that’s OK!
Before you decide on your day’s workout routine, check in with your body. Depending on the answer, listen carefully and tailor your workout accordingly. That way, you will feel more accomplished by setting realistic goals. If you pick a HIIT class when you feel like crap, you’ll probably still feel like crap afterward because you set yourself up to fail!
Don’t push your body to its breaking point. Instead, try a low impact class like Yoga or Barre. You can get in a great workout without going overboard.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes it feels good to work off stress with some intensity. Perhaps going for a run, or a boot camp-esq class might do the trick. Maximize those workouts that enable you to combat stress.
You’ll always have days when you just don’t feel like doing anything. You’re allowed to have those days, heck you’re only human! Instead of forcing yourself to do something your heart, body, and mind aren’t feeling take a day off! If you still have slight pangs of workout guilt (like me), go for a walk or do some stretching. Although it might not seem like much, walking and stretching have more benefits than you think!
Set your workout intentions
After you check in with your body, it’s also important to set your workout intentions. Setting your intentions in general is life changing but again I digress. Before you begin your workout, think about what you want to accomplish. Try not to develop goals like ‘get a 6-pack’ but instead:
~Treat my last song in spin like it’s the first song
~Run at least 1 mile quicker than my last run
~Opting for the challenging scale given by the instructor at least once during class
If those goals still feel daunting, set big picture goals like:
~Feel less stressed
~Forget about my crappy day
~Be my inner cheerleader
Once you start to set your workout intentions, I promise your workouts will change for the better. Don’t believe me? The other day I was BEYOND stressed with my to-do list, I literally felt the knots in my neck, #nobueno. So I booked a spin class and set my intention on the drive over- I will push aside my stress for 1 hr while I kick some RPM ass and sweat my butt off. I did just that, and when I left class, I left my stress on the floor along with my sweat.
Take time to chill
As I mentioned earlier stretching is very important, and so is relaxing after a workout. Don’t get too excited; I’m not suggesting being a couch potato and binge watching Netflix after class! All you Yogis know that class ends with Savasana when you basically lie down like a corpse face up. It might not look like your doing anything, but quite the contrary- you’re accomplishing more than you’d think.
Relaxing and breathing after a workout, allows your body the time to recover and store memory. Your body needs time to recalibrate and remember the workout. According to a great article in Women’s Health Magazine about Mind-Body Fitness , “The body makes its biggest physical gains when it’s at rest, not when it’s active.” I don’t know about you, but my mind was blown after reading that! So all this time I’ve been concerned about going hard during my workouts that I’ve been neglecting the most important part- relaxing after my workouts!
So, next time you’re clocking out of your workout don’t rush home to catch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Take a few minutes to lie down and practice some deep breathing. The key to getting the most out of this is to place your pelvis higher than your head. If you can, grab a block and place it under your hips. Take time to chill!
As you continue to crush this month’s #lifegoal #mindfulness, put these tips into practice. Our minds are an underworked muscle, and it’s empowering to know that we have so much control over all aspects of our lives including our bodies. Be mindful of your workouts by checking in with your body, setting your workout intentions, and the take time to chill after a workout. Stop treating your workout routines haphazardly without much thought and start taking control of becoming a healthier you! Test out these three tips for Mind-Body fitness and let me know how your workouts transform!