Why did you start to exercise?
Was it to improve your performance in sports? Or did you want to feel more confident in your own skin? There are many reasons why you might have started.
Regardless of the reason, you might have felt the urge to look a certain way in the mirror. This is a problem many people are experiencing during the modern times of social media. These digital platforms may negatively affect people’s perception of their body image. It is easy to compare yourself with bodies you see online, which are often altered and manipulated with perfect lighting and angles.
In this article, we want to make sure your health and fitness goals are achieved in a healthy manner and discuss what sometimes happens when trying to achieve a certain look. It is important to feel great about our bodies no matter how they look because they are able to do impressive things.
Here are 4 ways you are able to enact a body-positive perspective.
- Focus on performance – Focusing on performance in the gym is a great way to track your progress. When you feel good during your training sessions and are able to improve performance, it is a great indicator you are making progress. This is healthier than constantly looking in the mirror every time you pass by one to see if your body has been changing. If you feel strong and not stressing over calorie intake, is it worth losing five pounds to see your abdominal muscles? Sometimes individuals compare themselves to what they see online, and It is really important to understand this because social media may “exacerbate eating disorders, trigger or worsen psychological predispositions. It is important to feel healthy and strong to live a balanced lifestyle.
- Don’t compare yourself – It is easy to compare your current physique to other people. However, it is healthy to understand the person you might be comparing yourself has been exercising for 10 or more years than you. If it is your first year playing basketball it is impossible to compare yourself to a professional athlete. The professional athlete has been doing it much longer, and has much more experience. If you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else in the gym, it is much healthier if you compare yourself to your former self. Not to mention, it is helpful to understand it is easy to compare yourself with what you see on social networks and the media. It is found body comparison tendency correlated with body esteem and positively correlated with the motivation to use social media for body comparisons. Therefore, be aware of the bad habit of comparing your body to others and enjoy the process of improving your own health and only compete against yourself.
- Shift your mindset- Instead of thinking about quick results, think about exercise as part of your life-long fitness journey, and as something that promotes longevity. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “..being fit [is] associated with living longer”. Health and fitness is supposed to help you for all ages of your life. Once you realize your healthy habit of exercise will benefit you for the rest of your life, it is easier to be patient with yourself. If you go from thinking a 2-3 month diet will help you completely change your physique, to adding exercise as a lifelong habit, you will truly reep the benefits.
- Be patient- It is important to understand true progress does not come in three months, but rather from being consistent for a long period of time. When you flex your consistency muscle, you will increase the likelihood of achieving your physical fitness goals, and improve your discipline. Not to mention, this consistency will continue to benefit your overall health. It is proven exercise lowers rates of heart attacks, diabetes, cancer and helps the brain. Be patient and realize true progress comes to the individuals who stay consistent.
If you want to improve the likeness of achieving your ideal physique, staying consistent, training effectively, and eating nutritious foods is crucial. It is easy to fall into bad habits of only thinking about physical changes when it comes to exercising. It is crucial to stay mentally healthy and promote a body positive perspective. Remembering the various benefits of exercise and thinking longevity makes your health and fitness journey more enjoyable.
Edwin Ramirez is a Certified Personal Trainer located in Chicago, IL. He specializes in Strength and Conditioning and you are able to follow him at @macrosolutionschicago on Instagram and Facebook. You can also reach him on his website at Macrosolutionschicago.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
 Puglia, Deanna. Social Media Use and Its Impact On Body Image: The Effects of Body Comparison Tendency, Motivation for Social Media Use, and Social Media Platform On Body Esteem In Young Women. 2017. https://doi.org/10.17615/f0zw-xf26