We are not therapists at the gym but it is really important for us to connect with our members, develop repoir and trust, celebrate proud victories, have empathy for the bad days and seasons and generally just be there for our clients. All within the scope of our practice. And sometimes training sessions start out with sifting through what’s going on within a clients headspace during the warm up before being mentally ready (or not) to put forth a strong effort in the remainder of the session. All that being said, what will make you feel better in the end, what you will remember, will be the non-human part. The data. Because the data helps us recognize valid changes in ourselves. Good or bad.
Separating feelings from facts requires you to be in the right space emotionally. If we have a member going through a tough time in their personal life you won’t find us encouraging them to bury those feelings down inside and get a focused workout in. More often than not it’s enough just to be outside the house doing something for yourself. And likely before that can happen you need space to process and feel. Timing is everything. And there will come a time after the emotion has run it’s course to be capable of being focused on something outside of your emotions.
Do or Do Not
Those emotions can have two major effects over our lives.
Emotion spurring us to take action or emotion paralyzing us to avoid action.
Consider emotional eating. We have all had those days when we get home and all we want to do is eat our feelings with some comfort food. You feel bad so you search for an endorphin rush in the refigerator to try and make your day a little bit better or create a distraction from the pain. This allows your emotions to make decisions for you that logically you know won’t have an impact on the origin of your feelings or create an outcome to avoid those feelings again.
Another common fault of emotion spurring you to take action is when someone is feeling bad about how they ate and allowing those emotions to convince themselves to workout to make themself feel better emoitonally. Chasing the emotion or sense of a balanced lifestlye not nessecarily health.
I often talk with prospective members that are paralyzed by their emotions during consultations, sometimes even before we get a chance to talk. The fear of being in a gym and not being fit. That fear affects alot of people and keeps them from making the change they know they need in their life. Because what ultimately allows someone to get fit and have that fitness create a positive impact on their health is showing up consistently. If you get butterflies in your stomach and sweaty palms every time you park your car in the gym parking lots it is going to be so difficult to establish the most crucial habit of showing up.
For those that do make it through the door, those action stifling emotions don’t go away. They show up before you attempt a max effort lift, just a little bit of doubt…. They are there with you during a conditioning workout when you know you can and should push your pace harder but you know how much it will hurt and it scares you.
Break the Cycle
So how can you fight the feels?
Start developing the awareness of when your emotions drive you to make ilogical decisions. From there note where you are. Who are you with? etc.. Start creating a full sense of the situation that leads to the mental state that get’s you emotionally charged or unplugged. Then (in a more nuetral state of mind) work to make decisions on how to improve the situation before the emotions show.
This could be as simple as repeating a montra before or during a workout or having a calming or high energy song on as you drive to the gym to something as difficult as addressing your own self talk or negative attitiudes within your social circles.
How do your emotions sabotage your efforts to living a better life?