How have you got yourself framed?

Posted on September 17, 2009



  If you watch HGTV enough, you’ll know that interior designers encourage us to re-decorate & update the rooms in our house every 7 years or so. If you’re a woman, you totally understand that – that Tuscan inspired living room does not go with your new idea of having clean, modern lines! If you’re a guy, you really don’t care and probably won’t notice a difference. Either way, the idea of re-decorating every 7 years makes sense; as a person or family, your tastes and needs are changing & over time, it is easy to get bored and uninspired by your surroundings if they do not match who you currently are. 

Carry that same line of thought over to your exercise and fitness regime. The frame through which we saw our bodies, our workouts, and envisioned our results when we first started is not the same as wherever we are at on the road to optimal health now. You need to re-frame your outlook regularly in order to see the most optimal life, person, results, and health that you desire. Failure to do so will ensure negative self-talk, a shift of focus from “doing this for results” to “doing this because I have to,” “it hurts,” and “I’m bored.” In addition, viewing yourself through your old frame will keep you from seeing so many new parts of your health, body, capabilities and life that can work as motivators to continue on with your healthy lifestyle!

RE-FRAME: Your life, your self, your workouts

 We have all heard for some time now, if you do the same workouts day in and out, your body will adapt and will not give you the best results. So change your workouts regularly. But beyond that…the difference between truly motivated people and your average joe, when it comes to fitness, lies in three areas: how they view life, how they view themselves/their results, and how they view their workouts. Feel free to find the section that applies most to you, or read all of them to assess your own fitness framing! 

1) Workouts are meant to be uncomfortable. We have evolved into a highly convenient society. Since we are so comfortable in the rest of our lives, in order for our bodies to grow into the strong, healthy, fit ones we are aiming for, we have to use the workouts to be as uncomfortable as we can be to create a physical change in the body. How you view that uncomfortable-ness will determine your success in your program, whether your body will give you results or whether you’ll stop just shy of seeing that stronger, healthier body. 

Fit people see the workout as a challenge they need to overcome. Not want. NEED. Need to overcome the challenge for the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it, and knowing what results that challenge-completion will bring. They will mentally shift their focus during the most uncomfortable part of their workout while the average joe will say either aloud or in their head, “I can’t” and will be screaming in their own head that they want to stop, shifting their body around trying to find any other position that doesn’t feel so uncomfortable. The truly motivated individual, who intends to change their body and health for the better, will learn to manage their self-talk into thoughts of focus and determination, and will keep their spirit lifted to the intention of completing this endeavor. This does not mean that, at all costs, they keep working and create an injury, it simply means their self-talk is there, keeping the physical self motivated to finish. 

There is a proven scientific connection between mental focus and completion of tasks. If neural transmitters to the muscles are receiving signals from the brain that are positive and focused, the neural connection will be stronger than if the signals are negative or self-defeating. If you want more muscle fibers to contract, you’ve got to mentally think about them contracting & focus on what results they are bringing you. The good news is, the more you mentally focus on the task at hand, the better you get at it which means you are able to contract those muscles harder, faster, and for longer amounts of time, all of which lead you to the healthier, more fit body you’re going for! 


2) If you only see a ‘muffin-top’ you’ll always see a ‘muffin-top.’  When you stand in front of the mirror, do your eyes go immediately to the area that you dislike the most? Does most of your self-talk around your body image or capabilities go to the part that is too big or too small? If you’re like most people, this thought process will happen from time to time. It’s good for us to see what can be improved- that is evolution in the 21st century for you! It is not good, however, to always and only see what you hate about yourself. 


Quantum physics (as simply as can be stated here) uses the theory that an observation is only valid in the context of the experiment in which it was performed, that is, things will change based on the environment in which you perceive them in. If you only see the negative things in your body, you will produce an environment that is negative. If you see things you do not like in your body, but use them as a motivator for change, you will invoke a series of positive thought processes that will lead to a positive result. In a real life scenario: you may see body part “x” that you dislike. Feel free to dislike it, but use it as a motivator to change it to a part that you like rather than wallow in the negativity. This could mean seeking out information about how to change that part, working with a professional to learn how to change it, setting regular time to exercise and work on that body part, remember that body part when choosing a healthy meal option, and so on. 

We are very good at expecting our bodies to do a multitude of things, but we forget just how much they can do when we start analyzing all the stuff we hate. Start checking in with yourself regularly to note things that you’re pretty impressed with yourself for being able to do. A pull-up, a push-up, being able to lug in all the grocery bags at once, being able to climb a few flights of stairs without getting ‘breathy’…find your good things and use them to remind yourself that your body is capable and can become capable of doing even more if you would just focus on the good stuff and stop being a Debbie Downer about your own body. 

3) Life will have challenges. Move on with it.  How you frame your world matters more than we can give it due credit in this post, but in short, if you have a predominant view of life being tiresome, stressful, full of worry and anxiety, or wrought with negative focus, you will get more of the same in your life moving forward. The Secret is a great book that teaches that our daily lives are the fruition of thoughts we have had i.e. if everything is going wrong and you start thinking about how everything is going wrong, things will continue going wrong. If, you choose to change your mental processing right then and there, you have the chance to change your future. 

Truly healthy, fit individuals assess each situation with a positive & focused outlook, take in stride what can’t be changed, and set a course to ensure they are going to achieve what they set out to achieve. If you see life as a series of challenges and struggle, how hard will it become to be positive about getting a workout in? It will become just another thing, just another “gotta do” rather than the time in which you get to re-charge your spirit, push yourself to new heights, rejuvenate your energy levels, and build the healthier body that will make it so much easier to get through those challenging parts of life. The frame through which healthy, fit people see life is continually being managed to ensure they are putting everything in the best possible life, even the stuff that truly is painful, stressful, tiring because they know that creating more stress serves no real purpose, so the best alternative is to focus in on what can be done and then move forward, making it happen. 

How you view your life is your choice entirely, and when you begin the response to, “How are you doing?” with “Ugh….stressed/tired/beat/worn out/etc,” you are starting yourself a few steps back from where you could be starting from. Make it easy on yourself, see your life has great, tell others that you’re doing great, and great things can happen!

Re-framing should be checked and done regularly. You may be surprised at what comes into focus the next time you re-frame!