It’s common to associate fitness and workouts with weight loss. And it’s also normal to dismiss weight loss is not being body positive. So how do you actually do a body positive workout?
You’ve probably heard the “motivational” quote before – “the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”.
My unpopular opinion is that that is a toxic, narrow-minded way of looking at fitness and workouts.
What about the workouts which you force yourself to do even though your body is absolutely screaming for a rest?
Or the ones you are doing out of self-loathing because you feel guilty about something you ate?
Let’s also think about the ones which you hate doing to the extent that they might well end up putting you off exercise in the long term.
And of course the ones which you can’t do safely – for any number of possible reasons – which can do some major damage, but you force yourself anyway.
So the first part of building a body positive workout surely has to be finding something which:
- you enjoy doing,
- will leave you feeling empowered and energised,
- you will look forward to doing or at least see a purpose in doing,
- moves you towards your main goal,
- you can do safely, and
- gives you appropriate rest and recovery in between.
As long as the workout can tick those boxes first, then I can agree there is no such as a bad workout.
How Do You Make It Body Positive?
There are a few things you can do.
First of all remind yourself that you don’t have to work out. You get to work out.
The opportunity for physical exercise isn’t something that everyone gets. It might be because of other health conditions or other responsibilities. But if you have the opportunity to dedicate some time to do something that can challenge and empower you, then see it as that.
And make the most of it.
Next, and this ties in with the above, is to treat working out as an act of self care.
If you let it, it can be something which will allow you to leave all your stress and troubles alone for a while and dedicate some time to giving your body the physical nourishment that it needs and deserves.
Don’t focus on how many calories you think you burned or how much you sweat. When you focus purely on calorie burn, in most cases, you’re tying it back directly with feeling like you should be aiming for a certain weight goal.
And sweat isn’t a direct bearing on how hard your work. It is purely a measure of how your body is coping with heat.
You can go for a run in winter and stay dry, and you can sunbathe in summer and break out into a sweat. You probably already know which one you will have worked harder in.
Have a purpose for your workouts. If they fit into the plan for your bigger goal, then great! If not, then figure out your goal. Otherwise, if you end up winging it every time you turn up for a workout, you might not see progress, you might not see results, and you might put yourself off.
FYI, working out purely because you find it fun… still counts as having a purpose to it.
Make Your Next Workout A Body Positive Workout
I’ve said before about body positivity being about accepting and loving your body for what it is.
When you workout, treat it as an act of self-care or appreciation for what your body can be capable of.
It’s not just about calories or sweat or telling yourself you need to be a certain size.
It is an act of care, nourishment, and empowerment.