My goal as a fitness instructor is to provide a positive yet challenging atmosphere where all my participants feel comfortable and confident to achieve their fitness goals and aspirations. I always do my best to shift the focus on how you feel, rather than how you look. In my own experience, when we feel confident and happy with our lifestyles on the inside, it more than likely translates into a body on the outside we can be proud of. When I stumbled across this video and article about a month ago, I couldn’t help sharing with everyone else and expressing my own opinions on this idea. If you’ve got the time, take a look at the short video for yourselves. If not, the idea behind this initiative was to remind people to workout and maintain healthy lifestyles for what is on the inside, not necessarily what is on the outside and what we see in the mirror at the gym. A gym covered up their mirrors for Monday to promote the idea.
On one hand, I am a HUGE advocate for mirrors in the gym. It helps create body awareness that a lot of people lack when it comes to proper movement patterns in the gym. From my own experiences with clients, when they can see what good form looks like, they will also be able to learn what good form feels like. The use of mirrors helps prevent injuries and allows people to receive immediate feedback, especially if they are not surrounded by a trainer or workout partner to provide them with that feedback. I am the first person to scope out a spot in the gym where I can see myself and ensure I perform each exercise with proper form.
On the other hand, while working or working out in the gym, I see so many people getting caught up in what they see in the mirror that I often question how much training actually takes place. With the selfie obsession in workout clothes (or minimal amounts of workout clothes i.e. sports bras and spandex), I see people waste time to get the best angle to make themselves look great for that instant gratification on a social media post, rather than long term gratification for themselves that would be the result of proper training and a healthy lifestyle. Often times when we focus on the way we look, we may end up targeting certain areas of the body or performing specific types of exercises to see the physical results. Regardless of it being in a fitness situation or not, if we don’t take the time to appreciate ourselves from within onan emotional and mental plane, it won’t matter what we look like on the outside and we will be left searching for more.
There has been controversy with the #MondaysWithoutMirrors initiative, but I think it serves as a great reminder as to why we work out. Take a moment now to reflect on that question. Why do I work out? I work out because it makes me happy, it alleviates my stress, takes my mind off of stressors, allows me to set physical goals to accomplish, it’s fun, it boosts my mood and I am confident with how I look when I work out. Of course, we all want to see those physical results but off the top of my head, that was the last reason I could come up with as to why I work out. Working out allows us to take pride in the way we look because we have set goals and have worked hard and remained determined to achieve them. However, how we feel on the inside will truly help long term development of positive feelings about ourselves on the outside.
I am by no means saying get rid of mirrors, but take time during the next workout you have and reflect on what you are doing and why. Reflection allows us to live with gratitude in whatever we set our sights on to accomplish.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.