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how to build confidence
This is a post by PumpUp member Claire Kane (@voltafitness), qualified fitness instructor, sports nutritionist, and the brains behind VoltaFitness.
“She Loves Herself” usually has negative connotations; arrogance, a judgmental nature, vain, attention seeking. I think it’s time we changed that, don’t you?
My Fitness Journey, particularly the last 6 or 7 months, has taught me that loving yourself is a positive thing; it makes life more enjoyable, makes it easier to get on with other people and it makes it easier to make decisions that will improve your life.
1. It taught me how phenomenal my body is
Fitness is a great way to get to know your body. When I say phenomenal I don’t mean “bodacious”. I mean it is an extraordinary and interesting thing that is capable of a lot of movements and reactions, and so is everyone else’s body.
Learning that my body can deadlift a load I would never have thought of attempting to move has made me appreciate it so much more. Learning that feeding it the right foods and training it in the right ways will get to respond the way I want it to has rendered me awestricken. When you think something is awesome or even intriguing you realise how outstanding it is and learn to love it. I can now look in the mirror without dread and shame and trust me, this has been the biggest part of the battle.
2. It taught me to appreciate the idea of “rest”
Any of my friends, family or colleagues will tell you that I am a worrier; perpetually anxious and almost afraid to not work or do something to keep myself busy. I would socialise, work and write myself into the ground to the point where I could hardly produce the energy to meet friends for coffee.
Learning the importance of “rest and recovery” in training made me realise how important it is in the rest of my life. That’s why we have annual leave in work, it’s why we take vacations; we need to slow down and take a break from the daily grind regularly to ensure that we are really benefiting from what we are doing. I now make time to read non-fitness and work related books and blogs every night before bed, I pick days when I will promise myself a pamper session or a lazy day and I consciously make more time for the little enjoyable things like watching a TV show or going out with friends and I am so much better for it.
3. It taught me to be mindful
Fitness is a form of mindfulness, especially strength training. If allows you focus on one thing; getting through your sets and completing each rep. It is the one time in a lot of dedicated trainers’ days when they put their worries behind them and that is honestly the best thing you can do.
Being Mindful is to be consciously aware of how you feel, what you are doing and your surroundings and it is important to practice so you don’t get caught in a whirlwind of negative emotions and anxieties. It is, essentially, one of the most important things you can do to look after yourself.
4. It taught me to put myself first
Whether as a result of being focused on my goals, the advice of my trainer or the people I have come across on social media I have learned that it is not a bad thing to put yourself first.
I am a firm believer that an inherently good person will always be available to help and to listen when someone needs them. I have learned, however, through fitness in one way or another, that putting yourself first does not make you a bad person either.
It’s ok to say “no” to plans, it’s ok to say you can’t go because you want to train and it is ok to decide you are no longer going to put up with someone or something if it will benefit you.
5. It made me more aware of my mental health
Ok. Time to get heavy. There was a time when I was only happy during and after a training session. For a while this felt normal, it was a very welcome release, but when I became more aware of the contrast between how I felt when I was training and how I felt the rest of the day I realised there was something else wrong. As well as helping me realise that there was an issue, Fitness kept me going while I tried to figure out what was going on and how I could fix it.
Because I was more aware of my mental health and triggers in my life that made me feel bad, to put it gently, I eventually developed the tools and the wherewithal practice a little self-love, take care of my mind as well as my body and start creating a more positive life for more self.
Has training taught you to appreciate and take care of yourself more?
You can follow my journey, lap up my advice and consider my motivation over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as on my blog www.voltafitness.co and on PumpUp. I’d love to hear from you.
Love yourself by being your own motivation. Act in a way that maximizes your potential. Focus on non-scale victories and instead shift your attention towards how your actions make you feel. It will make a world of difference.
Here’s pumpupapp member annenhie’s gorgeous transformation: “I was looking for some motivation to work out and eat healthy. I figured that I’ve come such a long way, I should be my own motivation.” Keep her pumped and congratulate her on the PumpUp app! http://bit.ly/trypumpup
6 body positive cards that are as beautiful as you are
If Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people you love, why shouldn’t Valentine’s Day celebrate you? Be your own cupid and send a relevant, hilarious love letter to yourself from the bottom of your heart. These pumpupapp cards are an amazing way to start.
You deserve all of the cute doodles and positive affirmations in the world. You’re hot stuff, flaws and all (think Sriracha hot, and multiply that by 100). You’re absolutely amazing, at any and every size. Love your imperfections before you love your perfections. Love yourself.
If you lack self-confidence, you aren’t alone. An estimated 80% of the entire planet’s population grapples with some degree of low self-esteem. It doesn’t come easily nor naturally, and there isn’t a magical elixir that will do it for you (we know what you’re thinking, but coffee is not the answer). It takes time to become self-confident, much like it took Ryan Gosling a bit of time to build his washboard abs.
Surround yourself with positivity
Dissatisfaction can stem from the simple act of forgetting to appreciate what you do like about yourself and what you are grateful for. Love yourself and immerse yourself in an environment where other people won’t bring you down (like PumpUp!) and return the favour.
Identify the sources of your insecurities and eliminate what you can
You don’t have to be a hopeless wanderer shrouded in a mist of insecurities. Pin-point the cause of your personal misgivings and write them down. It may be overwhelming, but this exercise will help you to heighten your awareness about your insecurities and make an actionable plan to address them.
Compare yourself to nobody except yourself
In the wise words of Bernard M. Baruch, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Spend more time working towards your next personal record, running your next race, and making your dreams a reality. The more time wasted worrying about how you compare to other people, the less time you have to help yourself.
Perform the best exercise that you can do: smile
There’s a reason why so many songs are written about smiles. The simple act of turning your frown upside down (even for one minute) will stimulate your body to release serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy (and thus more confident). So don’t worry, be happy. Smile at yourself every day whether you like it our not. It’s one step closer to becoming a more confident and positive you.
Repost or reblog a photo of your favourite transformation from somebody else, be they a PumpUp member or a friend/family member! You will spread positivity and have a chance to win some sweet PumpUp swag! Here’s one of our faves from long-time member Katie Evitts, who transformed her body over the past year! “On the LEFT I weigh 128 lbs, on the RIGHT I weighed 120 lbs. Weight is truly just a number! Focus on loving your body, and not so much on a silly number on a scale”
She’s studying for her Personal Trainer exam, keep her pumped!
Let’s think one less bad thought about ourselves. Let’s say one less negative sentence about ourselves. Let’s start within.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” - Proverbs 23:7 King James Version (KJV)
Spreading Positivity starts within. We must think positive thoughts. You control your emotions and a positive mind will bring about a positive attitude. Once we start to think positive, we will speak positive words of affirmation to ourselves – “I can do this!”; “I will complete every set in this workout routine”. There may be times when we realize that we are not where we want to be – in our workout progress or in life. In those times, we must think positive and speak positive words to ourselves and over our situation.
When we start to speak positive words to ourselves, our aura will exude positivity which will allow us to spread positivity to others.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” – Buddha
There are days when we spread positivity and still receive negative reactions from people. Do NOT let that stop you. There are also days when we may not feel perky or happy. Remain positive.
If it should be measured, our blessings outweigh all the bad things that have happened to us in our lives. We may never know the extent to which we touch the lives of others in a positive way, and therefore we must continue to spread positivity. There is always ONE person, young or old, who actually looks up to you. They value your words of encouragement, your smile; your positive aura. By spreading positivity, we brighten someone’s day and they in turn will spread positivity - ripple effect!
“If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.” - E. Joseph Cossman
When we continuously spread positivity, we tend to have a positive outlook on life. Therefore when we look at our past, we rarely remember the negative things that have happened to us and if we do, we look at the negative things as lessons. Use these lessons to encourage others.
Let’s start each day with positive thoughts. Let’s turn our positive thoughts into positive words. Let’s exude positivity, through words and actions, and watch it impact the lives of everyone we come in contact with.
Over time we will realize that one less bad thought will allow us to live positive lives so we can…#SpreadPositivity.
- Abigail Brady
"For the past three months, I committed to become healthy. I wanted to prove to myself that it was achievable and to somehow, someday inspire those close to my heart to do the same." This message does nothing but #SpreadPositivity!