When I go to the gym, it’s not always easy to stay genuinely positive. Like many people, I’ve experienced the personal hell that is comparing myself to others, judging myself for not working hard enough, looking a certain way, or even feeling bad about my workout clothes not looking cute enough. Since working out at a gym can so often be loaded with these little emotional and mental hurdles, I find that maintaining positive thoughts engenders a much more nurturing and balanced exercise experience. When it comes down to it, engaging in positive self-talk at the gym (or at dance class, or on your yoga mat, or while recovering from an injury) is just as important as the way you’re moving and strengthening your body.
It’s easy to froget that, when you’re exercising, you’re doing something nice for yourself. You’re taking care of your body and mind, and incorporating a habit that supports a healthy lifestyle. And hopefully, you’re also having a freaking blast while doing so.
Elite Daily had a chance to speak with several experts, who helped compile a seriously feel-good list of encouraging things to remind yourself of during a workout at the gym.
1. “I Better”
Janis Isaman, trainer/movement specialist, nutrition coach, and owner of My Body Couture, tells Elite Daily that focusing on what moving your body feels like — as opposed to what you or your exercise like — is the most important thing.
A lot of people quit their workouts because they don’t like them, or they beat themselves up because they aren’t achieving what they want. Positive self-talk can help encourage regularity and consistency in your fitness routine. Simply telling yourself things like “I feel better” or “I have more energy” will cultivate the positive mindset you need to meet your goals.
2. “I’m Awesome Just For Doing This”
Therapist Erin Wiley, MA, LPCC and owner of The Willow Center, tells Elite Daily that focusing on the positive aspects of what you’re doing can help you build confidence, and that positive self-talk is the number one way to support your emotional well-being.
She also highlights the fact that this kind of self-talk can help you shift a negative perspective that may already be in motion.
Dr. Wiley explains,
The best self-talk not only praises and encourages oneself, but also can be used to self-soothe.
Being able to use self-talk to turn around negative thoughts or put us back on the path of positivity may be the most powerful application of the tool that there is.
3. Remind Yourself To Celebrate The ‘Can’
The thoughts you have are like seeds, and whatever you feed (negative or positive) will grow.
This is what Nancy Gerstein, yoga teacher, workshop presenter, and author of , tells her students. She encourages them to focus on inner motivation before anything else. Gerstein says, since the mind needs something it can attach to, it usually gravitates toward the lowest common denominator like worry, guilt, or anxiety — or, of course, what you’re doing wrong.
“Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do and all the reasons behind it,” Gerstein tells Elite Daily. “Celebrate the ‘can.’ Think, ‘I move my legs with ease and they used to feel tight,’ or ‘I can do a push-up,’ or ‘I am totally with my breath right now.’”
4. “Come On, You Got This!”
An oldie, but still a goody. Diana Mitrea, trainer and group fitness instructor and the co-founder of Stronger With Time, says this to herself when she’s in the midst of doing something she doesn’t like, or something she finds particularly challenging.
She shares with Elite Daily,
There aren’t many workouts in which I don’t have a mini pep talk with myself at some point.
I’m not talking to myself out loud; these are just things I repeat in my head mentally. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d get weird looks.
(Personally, I’ve been known to encourage myself out loud; screw the weird looks.)
5. “This Is Just For Me”
Ramsey Bergeron, a personal trainer and life coach, encourages people to “find mantras that work for you.”
The more you can remind yourself that your workout is not part of a competition, the better. Don’t let your own idea of a successful workout be focused on someone else’s goals or ideals.
6. “This Is The Best Part Of My Day”
Whether you believe it or not at first, tell yourself you absolutely can enjoy exercise, and that it very well might be one of the best and most supportive things you’ve done for yourself that day.
“If you can look forward to your workout, that’s the best!” Laura Arndt, DC area personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and Pilates instructor, tells Elite Daily. She stresses the notion that people need more time for themselves, and exercise is a great way to take that time (as is reminding yourself that you are getting stronger in the process).
Since Arndt has a company (Matriarc) that focuses in particular on post-partum wellness, she points out that exercise is a part of the healing process for mothers to work on strength, inside and out, after such a huge experience.
7. “What You Are Is Beautiful”
This one is just from me, because it’s true!