I like to work out. Most of the time I forget that I do, but it’s true.
However, when I was at the gym yesterday I started thinking about why I work out.
I usually do yoga because it makes me feel great after a class because I’m centered and I had my ‘savasana’ (yoga term for nap time essentially). In yoga, I forget about my what’s bothering me and dedicate an hour to my body. After yoga I always feel confident in the strength of my body and what it can accomplish. I can see which poses I’ve come far in and which ones I’m still working to achieve – like crow, dammit.
When I’m at the gym my thoughts and feelings are incredibly different. I’m concerned about looking like I’m ‘working’ out. I look at all the other girls clad in their neon Nike attire who have been on the treadmill for two hours and have no intention of stopping. I check out the cute guy sprinting around the track. I go down to the weight room and immediately realize that I’m the only girl and therefore the only one using the 15 pound weights for my wimpy arm exercises.
Despite all the incredibly distressing thoughts I have, I still have a great work out. I work my ass off (literally) and I feel great afterwards.
When I was working out, I was listening to rap music and thinking about how I needed to run faster, do more crunches, do that extra set because I wanted to look good in my jeans or in my new tight dress. While this is great motivation for working out, I started wondering if this was negative reinforcement. Last summer I lost 30 pounds – while I was still in a relationship with someone who loved me regardless if I ate a cookie. I worked out and dieted because I wanted to improve myself. Now, I do yoga for myself, but sometimes I feel like when I work out at the gym I’m doing it to impress other people now that I’m single.
Why do you work out? Is it for other people or yourself? Which is better motivation?