Many of us have wild imaginations. Thinking big is often what motivates us to pursue that startup idea, buy the nice house, book the exotic vacation, and work hard for six-pack abs. All of these dreams may seem challenging, stress-inducing, and even out of reach for a while, but not fitness. Everyone deserves, and can have, a healthy body sooner rather than later. If you reframe your goals, even the slightest, you can see attainable results right away.
How do you do this? We asked Pete Egoscue, Sonima’s pain and anatomy advisor and co-founder of Elev8d Fitness, the new home workout program brought to you by the experts of Sonima, to share his top advice for overcoming fitness obstacles and achieving your goals. Here’s what he says.
1. Change Your Perspective on Exercise
“If you view fitness as an obstacle to overcome, then you’re producing stress and getting less and less in return,” says Egoscue, who holds that the best workouts are the ones that are measured in joy, not in the number of abs visible in a bikini. When your instincts tell you something is stressful, painful or unpleasant, that’s when people stop going to the gym.
Instead of thinking about fitness as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to do something you enjoy. This may involve changing your routine or your go-to workout method. Celebrate playground-esque moves, like bear crawls and jumping up onto benches, because they’re fun. They allow you to be in the moment, rather than worrying about your to-do list or what you need to work on to alter your body. An exciting workout keeps people coming back, so make fun your focus.
2. Realize That You Know Your Body Best
According to Egoscue, the only obstacle you really need to overcome is buying into the “perception that somebody else knows more about our body’s health than we do.” We are constantly measuring ourselves up—against often unfair benchmarks—and then we get down on ourselves for not overcoming the obstacle we identify as holding us back. “The fitness world says, ‘You have to work hard and be dedicated. In other words, you have to suffer, and we apologize, but these results will be worth it. So buckle down, grunt it out, get dedicated,’ it demands,” says Egoscue. The truth is, physical activity doesn’t have to be an unpleasant feat. You don’t need to slug through a workout counting down the seconds until it’s over. Instead, find the exercises and the routines that work for you and make you happy, even if that goes against what other people tell you to do.
3. Shift How You Measure Success
Instead of worrying about how you’re stacking up against that guy doing 8-minute miles without breaking a sweat, ask yourself a few other questions. “Are you living a life of compelling presence? When you take away everyone else’s judgment, are you doing those things that provide you joy? Are you having fun? How’s your energy level throughout the day? Are you experiencing a life well lived? That’s up to you to define, not up to you to let the experts tell you what that looks like and how to achieve it.”
Fitness is a feeling, not an objective measurement, and it differs from person to person and from day to day even. Stop all the banter about excuses, and just listen to your body, suggests Egoscue. “I don’t believe there are obstacles to overcome. I believe there’s a life to be well lived,” he says. And the key to doing that is finding the things, people and purpose that you love. When something is fun, it’s easy and pleasurable to do. Even better, it allows you to live in the moment, not stressing about a long list of must-dos, but actually loving and enjoying your life—sweat and all.