“This is two minutes and 30 seconds of your life! That’s it!”
I looked to my left and saw two teen girls doing an ab circuit together. I was resting between sets of my own ab exercises when I overheard this. The one girl was encouraging her friend, who seemed to have a tougher time keeping up. “Think about the abs you’re gonna have!” she continued. “We’ve got this, you can do it!”
When I came to the gym that day, I realized I had forgotten to charge my Bluetooth headphones. I was so mad. I always work out to music; it helps me keep a consistent pace and stay entertained. But I wasn’t gonna quit or walk all the way home to get them. So I had to find another way to stay motivated and keep going. You want to know what I did?
When I wanted to quit, I alternated between focusing on two things: good form and what my body was actually doing.
My sister, who’s a physical therapist, taught me that number of reps mean nothing when you have poor form. It can be tempting to crank out reps just to get them over with, but if you aren’t doing the exercise with proper form, you’re setting yourself up for potential pain, injury and/or lack of results. So how do you nail it the right way? Check out a YouTube video or trainer on Instagram (my favorite accounts include the12movement, gymalpha, and kayla_itsines). If you can work out in front of a mirror, that helps too! To put it in perspective, I know I’m not doing crunches properly when my neck starts to hurt—this shows that my abs aren’t doing the work they should be. It’s annoying to think critically with each rep, but it’s worth it (and will hopefully become second nature).
The other thing is focusing on what my body is actually doing. I know, it sounds silly. Just hear me out though! I mean, when was the last time you took a moment to feel your muscles working? Whether it’s bicep curls, planks or squats, concentrate on contracting and relaxing the muscle(s) on each rep. With each contraction, you’re tearing muscle fibers that will rebuild to be thicker than before. Yes, in this moment YOU are becoming stronger. Repeat after Britney Spears: I’m stronger than yesterday.
And when you really hate pushing through an exercise? Remind yourself that it’s only two minutes and 30 seconds (or whatever time period you choose) of your life. And that’s x amount of time you’re not spending sitting, eating junk food, a.k.a. doing anything but working out. Getting started is half the battle, so go out there, kick a** and declare victory!
~Remember to follow Fit by the Fork on Instagram~