When you’re at the gym, it’s tempting to work on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. Tempting, but not smart, if you really want to improve your health and fitness. Heidi Johnson is living proof of that fact. After all, she didn’t lose more than 150 pounds in less than two years by skipping the hard stuff.
“The first time I tried the ropes, I was incredibly aware of every single person in the gym,” Heidi recalls. “What were they thinking? Were they laughing at me? It took me a while to realize that I was the only one in the gym who was hyper-focused on me. As soon as I let that go, learning new exercises became fun—not something to be embarrassed about.”
These days, Heidi (a junior high school teacher) views overcoming her own weaknesses as a natural part of a learning process.
“Every single person in this world has weaknesses,” Heidi says. “I believe that, if someone is willing to admit their weaknesses and make a conscious effort to work on them (notice, I didn’t say fix them), that’s an incredibly attractive quality in a human. It’s courageous—and courage, in any form, should always be admired.”
Clarinda Haglin, Heidi’s personal trainer at the Anytime Fitness gym in Plymouth, MN, believes the best way to build upon your strengths is to first address your weaknesses.
“You’ll see results a lot quicker if you start by building a solid foundation,” Clarinda says. “It can be frustrating to focus on weaknesses, because they aren’t always fun to work on. But once you do, and your overall strength improves, everything else will get easier, and your hard work will be well worth the effort.
Here are Heidi’s six tips for dealing with weaknesses:
1. Accept weakness as a part of being human.
I tried to be perfect for years. Trust me, it’s a fast-track to disappointment and discouragement. NOBODY is perfect. Once I admitted that I’m not perfect, I found I had more friends, I was more outgoing, more willing to try new exercises at the gym, and I looked at everyone in my life with an incredibly open mind.
2. Listen to your body when you need to back off.
As an INCREDIBLY competitive person, I ignored warning signs from my body for years. Our bodies are really good at telling us what we need. That’s why it’s so important that I’m honest with my personal trainer, Clarinda. I need to be honest with her when I am struggling to protect my body. Sometimes, our workouts aren’t going to be the best. THAT’S OKAY! At least you are trying.
3. Let go of control.
We all want to be in control. However, using the gym as a release allows you to let go of other stressors in your life! When you walk into Anytime Fitness, pretend you’re dropping all of your problems at the door. Clench your fist, and before entering the gym, open your hand to let the stress release. The only thing we can control is ourselves, and by walking into that gym, you are doing an amazing thing for yourself!
4. No comparing! Accept that everyone can’t do everything.
So, there is this man at the gym who has been incredibly kind to me, who frequently does some kick-ass workouts at the same time I’m doing mine. I often feel completely inadequate when working out near him. But that’s just silly—and I need to remind myself to get over it. We are both working hard to become the best people we can be, regardless of fitness level.
5. Make YOURSELF a priority.
I’ve always struggled with taking care of myself first. And, so, in the past, I never did. When you are on a fitness journey, whatever it may be, it’s all about you. Let it be. You deserve it. When you feel good about yourself, you can spread the love to others.
6. Be vulnerable enough to say, “This is hard and I’m scared!”
Vulnerability is SCARY. But vulnerability is also attractive. It makes others around you feel comfortable, like they are okay being “imperfect.” If we could all just embrace our imperfections, we would all be a lot happier. Please know that you, as a person who accepts your weaknesses as well as your strengths, motivate others to accept themselves as they are. That’s powerful!
Please join us as we continue to follow Heidi on her fitness journey this year via the Anytime Fitness blog. In future posts Heidi will share her new healthy eating secrets, advice on making connections, and more.