For some people exercise and movement have become synonymous with something that you do not want to do or something that will make up for other things in your life. Instead of viewing exercise as something that is embedded into your self worth or fear of getting bigger, I invited you to examine how this mentality has become engrained into your mindset.
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Shift Your Mindset Around Movement
You don’t have to exercise excessively in order to have good health and an improved mental state. If you want to come to a place where you feel better about your body, I invite you to try shifting your mindset around movement to find joy and the excitement in play instead of counting calories and viewing exercise as a transactional relationship.
Instead of being scared of what will happen if you do not go intense, be willing to stop and take where you are in your life and your health journey into consideration. If you can broaden your view from exercise to movement, bring in the nourishing aspect of life and take into account the entirety of your wellbeing, you can let your innate knowledge be the guide to helping you enjoy movement and all of its benefits.
Do you use intuition to guide your movement practice? Let me know in the comments below.
On Today’s Episode
- Tips for those who can’t handle a lack of structure when it comes to fitness (11:16)
- Understanding how our feelings drive our behaviors and how to change that (16:10)
- Why you should adopt a new vocabulary of movement without the baggage (17:35)
- Viewing food and movement as joy and play instead of calories or fuel (19:12)
- How to broaden and expand your view of movement to find true wellbeing (25:40)
Resources Mentioned In This Show
“I was afraid to stop doing any type of intense exercise because my fear was always getting bigger. And that fear of getting bigger, or not getting smaller, which is the flip side to that coin, really drove a lot of my behaviors.” (8:36)
“If you are the kind of person who has a trip planned and you are already freaking out about ‘where are you going to go, is it going to be open, what is the schedule going to be like, can you stick to your normal routines, what’s going to happen if you can’t do your usual workout, are you going to gain weight’, I think this is a chance for you to look at that.” (10:38)
“My role here with this podcast is to point out some of the obvious truths that maybe aren’t so obvious to you because you haven’t looked in it in that way.” (16:58)
“Movement doesn’t always have to be structured and for time and pushing yourself to the max. So see if you can broaden this as a mindset of caring for your body and your mind instead of micromanaging what you see on the scale or punishing yourself for what you ate. Look at it as an opportunity to nourish yourself.” (26:51)
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244: How to Hate Exercise Less FULL TRANSCRIPT
Steph: Hey there, welcome to Episode 244 of Harder to Kill Radio. I’m Steph Gaudreau, your host. This is the Fierce Love Friday edition of this show where I get on the mic solo. It is the compliment to my Tuesday show. If you haven’t listened to that yet, you’re a new listener. Welcome and make sure you go back and jump in on some of those Tuesday episodes where I bring on an expert guest and we talk all about what they do and why they love doing it. I love this podcast so much. We are four plus years into it, almost 250 episodes, over 2 million downloads and it’s just been such an incredible joy. I don’t know why I felt like sharing that with you, but I did so thanks so much for being here. Today’s episode is going to be about the delineation between exercise and movement. And this show came out of a, an Instagram post that I did when I was back East and that was sort of in the beginning of September.
Steph: I went back East to attend a couple of events in New York. I was able to head up a little bit North to the woods, I’ll call it to hang out with my friend and coach, Allegra Stein. And you can go back one episode and hear that candid in person discussion that we had about strengths and fears. And I think you’ll like that episode. It was a little bit different from my usual Fierce Love Friday. It’s a, I think one of the only shows where I’ve had one of the only Friday shows where I’ve had another person on. So I broke with, I broke with cannon a little bit there, but it was, it was a great show. So go back to 242 and catch up on that. So today I’m going to talk about the difference, at least in my mind to between exercise and movement.
Steph: And how you can start working through this stuff in your mind. And I think this is going to be a powerful show, especially if you’re somebody like me who for many, many years viewed exercise as a way to make up for other behaviors in your life. So we’ll get to that in a minute. Of course, if you have not grabbed yourself a copy of The Core 4, that’s my newest book yet. The book’s been out for about two months. Please head over and get yourself a copy. I would love to invite you to do that. This is really about the four pillars and taking a look at what it’s going to take to embrace your body and own your power. It’s really the what, the practical things that you can do every single day to move yourself a little bit forward to take action because we can talk about it all we want and you can listen to this show all you want, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’re actually going to experience some kind of change or transformation in your life that’s really gonna come down to you and putting stuff into action.
Steph: So you can find out more and grab yourself a copy anywhere books are sold. It is in physical bookstores, it is online and you can also go to core4thebook.com and there if you enter your details, I’ll send you a bonus gift for purchasing the books, so head over and do that after the show is over. I know you’re going to love it and I super appreciate all of your incredible support. Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association. In 2018 I had the really good pleasure of being certified as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant through the NTA and they also train and certify Nutritional Therapy Practitioners. What I really learned was the bio individuality and range of nutrition strategies that can really support individual wellbeing. The NTA really does such a great job with providing students with a range of different educational tools, different techniques to really work with people one on one in such a powerful way to uncover nutritional imbalances and what to do about those things as well as different things regarding lifestyle in their clients and of course they also provide training on how to launch a successful career holistic nutrition.
Steph: You can learn more about the Nutritional Therapy Association at nutritionaltherapy.com. They also have a free seven day course. I would really encourage you if you’re curious to check it out and you can find that at nutritionaltherapy.com/nutritional-therapy-101. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and jump into today’s episode.
Steph: Let’s set the stage for this episode. There have been times in my life where traveling and I recently, as I said earlier, went back to the East coast or about 10 days, but there’ve been times in my life where traveling was, it was something where I would have to figure out preplan worry about, strategize how I was going to exercise like normal when I was away. And I remember very clearly, this was probably in maybe 2010 or so. I went to Montana with my, then husband went to Montana and I brought, I flew with a 16 kilogram kettlebell in my backpack. So that’s over 30 pounds of weight. I brought in this backpack and carried it around and did workouts in the park and all of this stuff. And look, I’m not saying that doing a workout or staying physically active when you’re on vacation is a bad thing per se or across the board. And I get it. We move for different reasons. Different people have different routines. But when I looked at the rationale behind that, like why was, and this was an active vacation, there was hiking and walking and all sorts of other stuff. Why did I feel the need to travel with a kettlebell
Steph: when it was a relatively short trip and we’re not talking about it. I was going for weeks and weeks and weeks and what it came down to for me was I was afraid to stop doing my, I was afraid to stop doing any kind of intense exercise because my fear was always getting bigger. And that fear of getting bigger or not getting smaller, which is the flip side to that coin, really drove a lot of my behaviors where I was afraid to not exercise intensely. I was afraid to not move in my normal ways.
Steph: So my, when I travel now, things usually look quite different. I try to stick to my, I’m a creature of habit. I tried to stick to my routine while I’m home and have a bit of a homebody, but I have my routine. I like to do it. I like to have a schedule. It keeps me structured in an otherwise business cause I work from home and in a business where I could have unlimited sort of freedoms to do what I want. But I know I’m kind of an upholder and I kind of liked that structure. So long story short, when I’m home and I’m in my normal routine, I have my stuff that I do, I stay pretty active. And what that correlates to is that when I go away now, if I’m taking a weekend trip or like I just did with this trip back East, I don’t stress out anymore about not, you know, finding the clue, the closest gym and finding their hours and having to go every day and worrying about what’s going to happen and worrying I’m going to lose all my gains and all of this stuff.
Steph: And so I just want to frame this discussion and say, if you’re the type of person who is very, you’re kind of relaxed and you can go with the flow and you’re like, Hey, you know what would feel good today? Yeah. Doing that workout or checking out that gym that I drove by or taken a walk or whatever it is. Great. But if you’re the kind of person who is all, you know you have a trip plan and you’re already freaking out about where are you going to go, is it going to be open? What does the schedule going to be like? Can you stick to your normal routines? What’s gonna happen if you can’t do your usual workout? Are you going to gain weight? I mean I think this is a chance for you to look at that. And so this comes up a lot in my community, especially when I talk about things like intuitive eating where people say, yeah, but I have PR guidelines and structure and it doesn’t cause me any problems.
Steph: If I break those guidelines, if I break that structure, if I step outside of that structure for a short period of time, I just let it roll off my back and I am able to be flexible and I go with the flow and I get back to it when I can. So if you’re, that type of person and lack of structure is something you can just handle and kind of get back to your routine when you get home, that’s great. But if you’re the kind of person who lack of structure or breaking your own rules or breaking your own guidelines, really fucks with your head, causes you stress, stress, anxiety, causes increases of social isolation or other disordered behaviors. I think that that’s a really valid thing to look at. And so yeah, I’m talking to you, my listener, but I’m also talking to over there like thousands of people who all have different ways of seeing rules and restrictions who have past experiences and who have different goals.
Steph: And so I just want to put that out there. And you know, I always caveat what I’m saying because when I don’t, I, then I get, “Oh, but what about this? Oh, but what about that?” And so I usually end up caveating everything because I just want you to know that I will aware of the fact that we all have different points of view, different experiences, different reactions to guidelines. And what happens when we break our own rules and guidelines, but I think it’s valid to examine and to see what happens when things get really fucked because just saying, Oh well, you know, I, you know, there are some people who are fine with it so nobody should talk about these things. I don’t think that that’s valid either. So part of what I do as a coach and as somebody who works with a wide variety of people is I’m trying to really help folks with different access points.
Steph: All of that to be said, when I was back East, I one day decided I felt like a running on purpose outside and I just, you know, woke up and I just thought, you know, if I feel like going for a run, and I haven’t said that in years, I do some running at jujitsu, we run around the academy and you know, inside to warm up. And that’s about the extent of the running that I’ve done in the last few years. I used to run half marathons. I’ve run a marathon before. I’ve done triathlons. I am no stranger to running. But at some point I just said, running is not something that feels good to me. It’s not something I need to do to prove things to myself. Even though it used to be, you used to be like, Oh well I’m going to do a half marathon to prove to myself that I can do it or I’m going to do a marathon.
Steph: Cause the half marathon wasn’t long enough. So no, I had to prove that I can go longer and I can prove that I’m a worthy person. That was my internal dialogue. And so at some point I just said, I’m fucking tired of running and I don’t enjoy it. I really don’t. Trail running kind of a different story. Um, zero reminded me that a few years ago we were on Vancouver Island visiting his uncle and aunt and we did do a little bit of a trail run kinda. And it was great. It was outside in the woods. It was, you know, the ground was soft, it was beautiful and we just were enjoying ourselves. It just felt right. So anyway, I decided when I was back East I was going to go running and I only, you know, it wasn’t perfect. I only had my chucks and uh, my mom lives kind of out in the sticks a little bit and there was no sidewalks.
Steph: So I was running on the S on the road. You gotta be switched on and make sure you’re paying attention for cars and all that stuff. But I did, I think I ran a mile and a half, almost two miles. And when I came back I, or as I was, as I was out, I eventually decided I was going to walk a little bit and I recorded this Instagram stories, but I was sort of thinking about this and my whole thing is that when, when I was growing up and then in my early twenties into my early thirties exercise, the word exercise and how I viewed exercise was something that had to be exercise as some synonymous with not enjoyable. So you can’t ever enjoy exercise. It’s just, that’s a given. Exercise is something you ha like you’ll hate, but you gotta do it. It’s something you you do to make up for what you have eaten or a way to earn your food in the future.
Steph: And that’s how I saw exercise. And I, I know that there will be folks perhaps who listen to this and say, Oh, this is just words. This is just semantics. We’re putting too much into this. But I want to say that the connotation of what the words we use and the words we tell ourselves and what those words mean to us have real impacts on our feelings. And then our feelings drive behaviors. So there are people who are like, Oh, I just have to do this exercise routine and I hate it, but I’m just going to try to make myself do it. And then yeah, you get over the, the sort of awkwardness stage, which is the first maybe five or 10 times you do something, but you still hate every single moment of it. It’s so boring. You’re not getting any enjoyment out of it whatsoever.
Steph: And my role here with this podcast is to point out to point out some of the obvious truths that maybe aren’t so obvious to you because you haven’t looked at it in this way, but point out some of the obvious things, which is like, what if we just changed? And I say just like this is easy. It’s not. It’s simple but not easy. What if we just changed the words that we use because the words then create a different feeling in the feeling prompts, different actions. So instead of being like, ah, exercise, I hate this. This is the worst. What about viewing this as movement movement for the sake of, yeah, getting out there, enjoying all the benefits of movement and fitness and all of that stuff. Mental and physical benefits, but without the baggage, without the baggage. Because I have to tell you that seeing that, seeing exercise, like seeing physical movement as a way to earn your food or make up for what you ate.
Steph: In other words, you ate more than you thought you should because some external number was told to you like, you need to eat X many number of calories as if our appetites punch a time clock. That’s a whole other episode in the making, but this way of looking at movement is so disordered. It really is, and again, if you’re somebody listening to this and you’re like, no, I don’t have a problem with exercise, it doesn’t mean anything negative to me. Great. Go on with your bad self. We’re just going to be over here talking about this anyway because there will be some people for sure do not have this experience, but movement is not.
Steph: Here’s the thing. Moving is not a transact like we see movement or exercise as a transactional relationship between what we have eaten and what we’re supposed to burn off. It’s like it becomes a math equation and I think that that simplifies the situation a little bit too much because there are many different reasons we can move. There are many different ways that we can enjoy movement. Just like food is not just calories. It is food has energy. Yes, it, but it’s not just that. And I, I know that there are lots of people who are like, food is fuel and I see it just as fuel and I get that. And I think if you’re at that point or that construct of looking at food is very helpful, great. But it’s not just fuel, it’s, that’s really simplifying the what food means and it, it makes it easier to talk about.
Steph: It makes it perhaps more neutral, but it also simplifies it to the point where we start to lose a lot of the context. So movement I think is the same way where we see it as a, you know, I did one thing about being back East. It was so quiet. Here’s, there’s crazy neighbor, dog is barking. I’m totally braced my concentration. So we can see exercise as I did X number of minutes on the treadmill and that burned X number of calories. So therefore I can eat those number of calories later or I had to burn that many calories in order to like be under my caloric intake because some external number was given to me that says this is the amount that you should eat every day. Even though we know our appetites do not punch a clock and are variable, but no, we’re going to force ourselves to eat exactly the same caloric intake everyday as if we were a robot.
Steph: That is super simplifying the idea of movement for play, movement for the joy of moving movement for mental health movement for maybe even, it’s a cultural experience. It’s a community experience. There are so many different layers to it, but when we say, you know, it’s only an exercise thing and it’s, it’s energy out. So we can balance that with energy going in. We’re really taking away the nuance and the richness of movement and we make it much more one dimensional into something like exercise. So my point with all of this today is to try to get you to expand your view of movement. You, I know this is going to be hard for some people to accept, but you don’t have to exercise excessively in order to have good health and an improved mental state and come to a place where you feel better in your body because that’s not reinforced by our society.
Steph: And it’s the same thing that happens with food, right? We’re told, okay, we need to waive this amount because this amount means I’m going to be healthy definitively, which we know is complete bullshit. And you can go back and listen to my episode on BMI to hear more about that. So if we’re saying, okay, we need to exercise excessively in order to be healthy, it’s what we see a lot, right? And it’s certainly praised in our society. Oh my gosh, that’s the thing. I think disordered eating patterns are noticeable far, IE, they’re far more noticeable and people are a bit more wary where they’re, they may see somebody, for example, who drops a lot of body weight very fast and they’re like, wow, I’m concerned what’s going on? But we see people, and I’ve seen this and this has happened to me where I’m like, you know what, the amount that I’m exercising is probably excessive.
Steph: It’s not, I don’t need to exercise this much. Or you notice somebody is out there and they’re like, you’re like, wow, you’re so dedicated and what’s behind that and the actual amount that that person is moving and exercising or participating in fitness may not be healthy for that person. They may be coming at it from a place of, you know, fear of gaining weight or fear of what it means about them as a person if they stop. I mean there’s so much that goes into it and I think we simplify it way too much by saying, Oh yay, you’re exercising. That’s wonderful. Well, our job is not to police other people, but at the same time it’s worth looking at because sometimes we see Joe Schmoe and we’re like, wow, Joe Schmoe, he’s so dedicated. He is at the gym at 4:00 AM and he probably goes to sleep at 11.
Steph: You know, he was at the gym at 4:00 AM and he is, then he’s going back to another fitness class in the evening. Oh gosh, he’s so dedicated. So then you think, okay, well I’ve got to be like Joe Schmoe, I’m not doing enough. And the comparison trap really kicks in. And what you don’t realize is what that person is doing is not healthy for, for him perhaps or her or they or whoever it is. And it could be self-destructive too. And we don’t see that because we praise in our society, eat less, move more. So these conversations are not the norm. I still feel like questioning this stuff. A lot of people get really angry, especially fitness professionals because they sometimes are so, they’re so ingrained in that mentality. Not everybody, but I think, you know, if you’re in that position where you are the professional and you’re not, you know, you see your client and they’re coming in like when they’re exhausted and they’re just uncoordinated and they haven’t slept and you know, they’re under a ton of stress and they just want to bash themselves over the head with intense exercise and like doing way too much.
Steph: Are you going to say something? And that’s hard, right? Because they may be paying you for that experience, but like what is your duty to that person? And are you taking into account the entirety of their health and wellbeing? Not just their physical, you know, you, they, they’re getting stronger. They can squat more. But everything that goes into that, that wellness and health per se. And if you’re not a trainer, you’re not a coach. Like, think about this for yourself. So yes, movement, wonderful. Do we need to bash ourselves over the head with this just crazy amount of intense exercise and like putting it on a pedestal and Oh well, you know, that person has abs and they’re super lean. So I need to be like that too. I think it’s worth some self reflection and I, and it’s not a bad thing to question those sorts of things.
Steph: So let’s broaden our, our view of movement. Maybe that’s going for a run, maybe that’s lifting some weights, maybe that’s doing yoga and Pilates. Maybe that’s walking. Oh my gosh. Walking. Totally fine. Great movement. Why are we just, Oh man, that’s a whole other episode. People are like, Oh, walking doesn’t count. Walking was not good enough. What? Oh, wow. And it just shows you the depth of which we’ve been conditioned to believe that that stuff is not good enough. And by default, that person’s not good enough. They’re not trying hard enough. They’re not pushing themselves hard enough. It’s really messed up play. I mean, movement doesn’t always have to be structured and for time and pushing yourself to the max. So see if you can broaden this as a, a mindset of caring for your body and mind. And instead of micromanaging what’s on what you see on this scale, punishing for what you ate, and look at it as an opportunity to nourish yourself.
Steph: Nourishment and care because when you see it from that point of view, you start to think, what would be the most nourishing for me now? What would, what would really help me care for my body now? And sometimes that is going to be getting off the couch and saying, you know what? I have been using, letting a lot of things in my life get in the way. And part of me doing self care is to move my body. And sometimes it’s like, you know what? I’m freaking exhausted. I got five hours of sleep again and I’m got a little bit of a low key infection or a cold going on. Do I need to get up and go to orange theory or CrossFit or go run 10 miles or whatever it is that’s going to like really push you because you’re afraid of what’s going to happen if you don’t go intense or you stop or you take the day off where you give yourself an extra moment of rest. So it’s very situational. It’s very contextual and dependent upon you in your life right now. But are you willing to stop and take that into consideration. And I think this comes down to outsourcing our own self knowledge to other people
Steph: and there has to be, there has to be both. Right? And when you’re starting to learn a new fitness program for example, you might, you do probably need to gather that knowledge. You may need coaching and that’s wonderful. You may need to have those structured experiences that can help you then go a little bit more on your own and kind of riff with things a little bit more and that’s great. But there comes a point at which sticking to the program, and I’m using this in an air quotes, whatever fitness program, whatever gym it is, whatever classes you go to, whatever training you’re getting, sticking just to that and ignoring what your body is saying, ignoring what’s going on in your life, ignoring your energy levels, ignoring all this stuff is just straight up damaging and it’s not, you’re not bringing in your own innate knowledge of yourself. You’re, you are not letting that be a guide, at least part of the conversation.
Steph: and that’s I think where people really get into trouble, right? They really start to just like chase the calories in, calories out. They really just start to chase the, you know, if I take a day off, I’m gonna lose all my gains. And it sounds so silly when do you say it out loud? But that’s, that’s literally the internal discussion that happens sometimes. So I’d love to know and feel free to send me a direct message on Instagram or an email, you know, do you ever use any kind of intuition to guide your movement practice? I’d really love to know is there any, do you factor her yourself into this at all your own feelings, your own thoughts, your own innate wisdom or is it all external rules at this point? I would love to know. So feel free to send me that. And that is just about does it for today’s episode. So can you start to change or broaden your view from exercise to movement and really bring in that nourishing aspect to your life? All right, I’ll catch you on next week’s show. Remember to tune in Tuesday for another expert guests interview of Harder to Kill Radio and until then be well.