I’m a Personal Trainer, so by definition I should really love the gym. And some days, I definitely do! Yesterday was not one of those days.
Let me paint a little picture for you – I’d just spend a long weekend soaking up the love with my wonderful family at our reunion on the NSW North Coast.
We’d spent the past three days surfing, walking on the beach, laughing and eating together, while brainstorming all the fun things we were planning to do in business and in life this year.
After a long drive home (seven hours plus!), we’d unpacked and fallen into bed, completely exhausted but happy. Then, the alarm!
Our plan was to sit down over a cup of green tea and plan the week in detail, before strapping on a pair of joggers and heading to the gym for a 60-minute strength session with all the trimmings, to get us in the mood for smashing through the work ahead.
All went according to plan until we hit the gym floor and started planning out our session. As we went back-and-forth, trying to decide what kind of workout to do, it became clear that our hearts weren’t really in it. We were stressing about all the things we had to do back at the office, feeling the weight of reality setting in after our glorious weekend away and generally feeling very claustrophobic in that heaving, sweaty gym space!
We pushed through regardless, setting up our circuit and filling up our water bottles before getting stuck into a warm-up.
Lying on the floor, we began performing a set of hip raises to activate the butt muscles we’d spent too many hours sitting on during the car ride home the previous night, when all of a sudden, big fat tears appeared out of nowhere and started rolling down my cheeks.
Embarrassed (I mean really, I had no reason to be upset!), I hurriedly tried to wipe the tears away but it was too late, my hubby had already spotted them. To my surprise, he just smiled, said he felt exactly the same way and suggested we get outta there!
So we put all our equipment away again and stepped straight out the front door of that gym. This didn’t mean the end of our workout though, because as soon as we were out in open space, our moods lifted and we decided to set off on a run.
Many kilometres, some seriously tough stair climbs and hill sprints later, we stumbled in the door feeling invigorated and smiling ear-to-ear! What followed was a super happy, productive day.
So! What can we learn from this?
For me, it was that when it comes to exercise, you really do have to listen to your instincts and do whatever supports your mind state at that moment. Ready to take on the world? Smash through a tough weights session. Need a release? Sign up to a boxing class. A little stressed? Rope in a friend and take your workout into the great outdoors, because nothing beats a little greenery and open space to clear your head – and it’s more fun with someone by your side!
Most importantly? Don’t use your blue moods as an excuse to take the easy option and head home, or press the snooze button on your alarm. You’re absolutely guaranteed to feel better and be more focused after doing something active, even if it’s just taking a nice long walk, performing a few sun salutations by the water, or going for a leisurely swim.
In our case, a good cardio hit in the sunshine did the trick! Strike up a point for Green Exercise and its mood-boosting properties (see www.greenexercise.org for more details and benefits).
Watch this space next week for our green exercise workout and video, which we put together in partnership with Lifestyle You.
Until then, enjoy those open spaces people!