Guest contribution by Sasha Tymkiw
It is not uncommon to lack excitement about your next workout; after all, we are about to ask our bodies to exert energy. There is a large difference, however, between pre-workout hesitation and plain dread. It’s important that we reflect on feelings surrounding our fitness to ensure we are being fulfilled, beyond the obvious physical benefits that exercise affords us.
Somewhere along the line, most of us began to think of exercise as a sentence or term we must serve, so it’s no surprise that one of the largest reasons people stop exercising is because it isn’t contributing to their happiness. This simple idea, that feelings can determine program adherence, prompted Sports Psychologists to invent the Exercise Induced Feelings Inventory (EIFI). The EIFI is used to determine what variants of exercise create the positive experiences that keep participants committed, and the negative ones that lead them to drop out. Borrowing from the idea of the EIFI, you can ask ourselves a simple set of questions to help tune you in to your fitness feelings, letting you shape an experience that you we will be happy with–and more likely to stick to.
Questions Set #1- Complete if you are about to begin a new activity:
*Answers to these questions should provide you with idea as to if you are on track towards a rewarding experience.
- Do you like the activity (or the idea) itself? Why?
- Do you like the environment in which this activity takes place?
- Does the timing or structure seem like something you could participate in, even during busy times in your life?
- How do you want to feel afterwards (i.e. Reinvigorated? Relaxed?)
- Is this the type of activity that can fulfill those expectations?
Question Set #2– Complete if you are evaluating your current fitness experience (or 4 weeks after beginning)
*See instructions based on the answers to these questions below set
- How do you feel while exercising? (i.e. glad you are there? Irritated at environmental factors?)
- How do you feel after exercising? (i.e. Happy with the experience? Or happy it’s over? Tired or reinvigorated?)
- Does recovery involve a little stiffness for 24-48 hours (a reminder that you worked hard)
- Does recovery from your it interfere with your daily life in the form of extreme hunger, physical or mental fatigue or muscle soreness that lasts more than 48 hours?
- How much time and mental energy goes into deciding if you are going to participate that day? (Are you naturally apprehensive, or is it a guilty battle in your brain?)
If your answers are positive: then keep on doing things as you are.
If your answers are negative: Look over the first set of questions, replacing #1 with “What activity do you believe you would enjoy?” Proceed to answer the following questions in Set #1 one to get a better idea of where to go next.
The valuable time you spend exercising can contribute more to your life than just a better body and bodily aesthetics and health benefits, it can also give you a chance to form a better relationship with yourself by learning what works for you. So let’s consider what we really want to not only help us get on track, but to stay there for the long haul.
Sasha Tymkiw is a certified Personal Trainer and has been involved in sports (competitive swimming, snowboarding, horseback riding) since childhood, making the natural progression to personal training in her early twenties. With a bachelor of psychology, numerous fitness certifications and years of experience, Sasha views pushing one’s body as an integral part of the human experience. Sasha works both independently as a trainer and teaches around Vancouver, becoming one of the first instructors who offered boot-camp style workouts in East Vancouver. Sasha is sponsored by Garden of Life Protein Powder and will be competing in her second figure competition in March 2015, promoting a long-term, balanced approach to the sport.