No one tells you when you start out in an exercise programme that in order to get fit you’re going to have to feel unfit some of the time.
Wait, don’t stop reading just yet, hear us out. In order to build cardiovascular endurance (your body’s ability to breathe in air better, move blood better, which helps build muscle and burn fat) you have to reach a point where breathing is a an effort and quite likely uncomfortable.
The problem is our mammalian brain doesn’t like this. It thinks something is very wrong. So there’s a tendency to get anxious or panic. Our brain thinks we’re out of breath because our survival is at stake. Are we running from a predator? Are we chasing down dinner? Are we fighting for your life? It evolved in a time before Burpees you know!
The same is true with building muscle. In order to get strong we’ve to feel weak and struggle to lift the weight. To develop endurance we’re going to have to reach the point where we can’t do another pull up or push up.
So if we’re out of breath, or struggling with the weight we’re lifting and movements we’re doing, it can be easy to feel unfit and tell yourself “this is really hard for me.” Especially if we look around and it seems like everyone else is breezing through it.
For a start, no one is strolling through workouts at CrossFit Ireland. Everyone is working at an intensity that’s right for them. This means they’re out of their comfort zone but just enough to get the results we want.
Now, the big thing that will help you going from fearing exercise to embracing it. Every time you start to struggle in a workout instead of saying “I’m so unfit” say “This is getting me fitter.” It’s sounds too good to be true but all the best fixes are the simple ones.
Getting out of breath doesn’t mean you’ve no lungs, it means you’re improving your lungs. Straining to lift doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re stimulating your body to get stronger. And if you can remember that the struggle isn’t punishment, it’s development, it starts to become enjoyment.