Here at New Found Power, fitness is our passion. It drives our business, energizes our day, and prepares us for enjoying life.
However, there can be a point at which sculpting your physique becomes shaming your flaws. A point when you stop hitting the gym because you love your body, and start working out because you hate the skin you’re in.
There are thousands of companies and millions of products that seek to capitalize on your insecurities. Miracle pills, machines that spot-reduce fat, and starvation diet programs promise perfection. At NFP, that is far from our goal. We don’t encourage fitness so we can fill the world with half-starved models striving for unattainable perfection; or the body-obsessed who are more concerned with the mirror than the life going on around them. Fitness should be a tool you use to build confidence and fit more life into your life.
It’s time to wage a war against self-doubt and poor body image, and we’re firing the first shots here.
Love Exercise For the Sake of Exercise
If you don’t yet, it’s time to love working out for reasons other than weight loss and muscle gain. We don’t mean to discredit exercising with hopes of sculpting your body. Achieving a physical goal is a worthwhile pursuit. However, there are more reasons to exercise than to simply look better. For example, working out:
- Makes you happy: According to the University of Bristol, among other studies, exercising in the morning boosts your mood for the rest of the day. During exercise, your body recognizes a stressor (a good one) and releases endorphins to minimize discomfort.
- Renews and protects your brain: As you exercise, your brain thinks you’re in “fight or flight” mode. It then releases something called the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a protein that repairs and protects the neurons responsible for your memory. In effect, when you’re training your body, you’re also training your brain, which is why your head often feels so clear and refreshed after your workout.
- Improves your self-esteem: Even if the number on the scale doesn’t change, working out will help you feel better about yourself. A positive self-esteem will leak into your everyday life.
- Reduces stress: During exercise, your body releases norepinephrine. This chemical helps your brain cope with stress and anxiety more efficiently.
- Makes you more creative and productive: Studies show that for about two hours post workout, you’re at your most creative and productive.
- Prepares you to enjoy life: When you’re fit, you can be active! Maintaining a high level of physical fitness allows you to try new things and stay active outside the gym. You can hike up a mountain during your vacation out west or swim with
Working out to look good is a great motivator, but physical fitness taps into your body’s reserves to make you feel good. Ask yourself, would you rather be the perfect size and shape, yet incredibly unhappy, or flawed and full of joy? We’re all flawed anyway, so we say, choose the latter every time. Get out there and work-in some happy!
Be Appreciative of Your Body — It’s Amazing!
Even if your genetics dealt you big feet, chicken legs, or (gasp!) uneven ab muscles, choose to be thankful. First of all, today’s “flaws” could be tomorrow’s must-haves. Remember when the “thigh gap” came into vogue? Ten years ago, we called that “malnourished.”
The point is, regardless of the minor imperfections of your outward appearance, the inner workings of your body are pretty incredible. Have you ever thought of all the processes your body is completing right now from head to toe? In your brain, your neurons are firing across synapses to help you produce thoughts and recall memories. Your stomach and intestines are drawing nutrients from food you just ate to feed cells, produce energy, and build muscle. Meanwhile you’re breathing in and your lungs are feeding oxygen to your bloodstream while your heart pumps it throughout your body. This amazing body of yours is making it possible for you to think, and move, and feel. Love it for everything it does for you, don’t shame it because there are a few things you deem unworthy.
Ladies who have birthed babies. Yes, you ... That smoking hot mom in the bikini sporting the stretch marks. Your body has performed the most amazing miracle of all. Wear those stretch marks, that bulging belly button or loose skin as badges of honor! You’ve been through one of life’s toughest challenges and came out stronger than ever. You can be especially proud if you’ve had a baby and are regaining your pre-baby strength and fitness level. Starting from scratch postpartum is a task that takes all the dedication a person can muster. You’re doing it and you look amazing!
Reward Your Body for a Job Well Done
Your body works hard for you, make sure you’re giving it what it needs. If your body is signaling that it’s hungry, first make sure it’s actually hungry, then feed it! But remember, the only parts of your body that benefits from those drive-thru fries are your taste buds. Feed your body quality food and it will repay you with quality energy.
If your body is exhausted, give it some rest. You’re not cheating on your workout plan if you add in an extra rest day here and there. If you’re pushing your body to the brink of exhaustion at the gym, make sure you’re allowing it to recover — it’ll give you even more the next time.
Foster Dedication, Don’t Form Obsession
There is a fine line between dedication and obsession. Keep your priorities in check. Don't spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about or trying to fix features you see as flaws. This is especially difficult if you frequent Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. While we love the “likes,” if the onslaught of model photos and workout plans is turning your inner monologue from “I can do that!” into “Why can’t I have that?” it might be time to take a mini-break from social media.
If you’re weighing yourself or breaking out the tape measure daily, give these tools to a friend for a couple weeks and get back to focusing on feeling great rather than looking perfect. You might even find that this drops your stress level, allowing your body to shed a few pounds without breaking a sweat.
Keep in mind that those fashion or fitness models you may be idolizing are far from perfect. We all are — and that’s okay! Every one of us has a couple of flaws that even the strictest of diets or the most dedicated of workout plans can’t fix. Find value in that flaw, embrace it, and you may find yourself loving it despite what the world may think.
Change the Way You Talk to Change the Way You Think
Making a change to our thought patterns is difficult. After all, we think without even thinking! If you find your negative thoughts are making their way into your regular conversations, start by refusing to speak about your body in a negative way. Instead, stand in the mirror and tell yourself, out loud, the parts of your body that are awesome. Better yet, enlist the help of your spouse or best friend and take turns building each other up with complements. While you’re at it, complement and encourage others. It will make both of you feel as good as you look.
Mark your calendars! Love your body day is October 19.
For all it does, your body deserves some love. It's time to give-in! Recognize all your incredible body parts from the nerves, muscles and organs working to keep you alive to the outward features that form your pretty face and rocking bod. Show your body some love and then show us! Take a pic showing some self appreciation and post it to our Pinterest,Facebook, andInstagram and we'll show you some love right back.