How exercise changes my opinion of my body

I have been noticing this recently. When I go to the gym to do classes, they take place in a studio with mirrors along the main wall, so you can always see yourself in the mirror.

Now I know exercise gear is not the most flattering, but I do not always like catching a glimpse of myself, especially at the beginning. (I used to wear baggy tshirts and baggy tracksuit bottoms, but then I realised that I would rather wear comfy sweat-wicking clothes and not care what I look like so much).

But what I have noticed recently is when I get to the class and I see myself in the mirror, I hone in on the parts I do not like. I see little bumps and bulges (really shown up by the fairly tight clothes I suppose) and I feel a little unhappy about my body. But then, something amazing happens. I start the class- either aerobics or body pump. When I am exercising and I glance at myself, I feel good about my body. During aerobics when we are leaping about, I feel proud that I can keep up with the high intensity cardio, and think about my strong heart and lungs. During body pump I catch sight of my arms or legs, and think about how strong they are getting. But the lumps and bumps also seem toย disappear.

I have the opposite of this (almost) when I run. I leave the house looking presentable; hair tied back neatly, feeling good in my vest and capris. Then when I get home and catch sight of myself- hair all coming out, red face,ย dishevelledย clothes, and think “I don’t look like that in my head”.

Do your perceptions of your body change when you exercise?

Now for some random pictures!

After my run (5 miles in the drizzle!) yesterday I cracked open a bar of Conscious chocolate which I won in Rachel’s giveaway– soooo yummy I have not had conscious chocolate in ages.

And before aerobics on Tuesday I tried a bounce bar! Also from Rachel ๐Ÿ™‚

I was a little worried as it contained spirulina (remember when I tried it in a smoothie? Anyway it did not go well!)- well this was yummy! The almond taste came through and it tasted a lot like marzipan, but with crunchy nuts on the outside too! It gave me loads of energy for aerobics too- hooray! I wish I had tried one sooner!
Anything you wish you had tried sooner?

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15 thoughts on “How exercise changes my opinion of my body”

  1. Most of the stuff I eat now I wish I had tried sooner, I was such a fussy kid and it has only been the last few years that I’ve started eating a wider range of foods. I think its wonderful that you feel that way through exercise. I wouldn’t say my views change while I’m exercising, but more as a result of it. I’m not as hung up on looking a certain way and more interested in being physically strong and fit, I guess you could say I’m not as hung up on my looks generally as I used to be ๐Ÿ™‚ which is quite a freeing thing really!

    1. I was fussy too and like much more now too ๐Ÿ™‚
      I think you are right it is more about being strong and fit instead of worrying about looks and stuff.

  2. Eh, I wish I could emulate your positivity!

    I hate looking in the mirrors when I’m doing Body Pump, but I have to because my technique is so sloppy a lot of the time, particularly for the back track. I also wear what’s most comfortable, and because I get so hot that tends to be very little. I like the feeling of seeing the bar go over my head, the strength it takes to do that, but my body itself repulses me in every way. I can literally find a flaw with every single part of it, and if someone asked me, at gunpoint, to say something I liked, I could not answer them.

    Running, I try to forget about how I look…even finishing the marathon I felt quite good until I saw the photos and just about died. I still get them (my parents insist…gah) and post them because there’s no point denying how I’ve let myself go. I just wish they were sufficient enough motivation to change.

    See, told you the spirulina in the Bounce Balls wasn’t that bad ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Ah Jess I was basically taught that if I tell people the things I don’t like then they will notice them too- so I never say what I don’t like specifically, as I think (hope ) it is only me that sees them. You have so many positive things about you- you need some kind of positive chant or something. I know what you mean about the feeling of getting the bar above your head though- very empowering and satisfying!
      And yeah that spirulina was much better, although I think it was about 1% or something! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I really don’t care what I look like when I exercise – I’m just proud to get out there and get a bit sweaty. I do look at myself when I get back from a run and think “what a state”, but I realise it’s totally natural.
    When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror I always try to focus on the good bits and it’s amazing how the lumps and bumps just melt away.

  4. I know what you mean about running! I try not to dwell on how I look afterwards. Especially when I’ve been trail running and I’m up to my knees in mud ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Much like Laura, I wish I’d tried just about all the foods I eat now much earlier in life. It makes me cringe to think of some the rubbish I used to eat as a student and when I just left uni… lots of frozen meals and things from packets. Now I’ve discovered so many delicious fresh foods that I used to think I disliked, there’ll be no going back! Beetroot (obsessed!), goats cheese, quinoa, leafy green veg are a few that spring to mind but there’s loads really.

    I also think what you’ve noticed about your body when you exercise is really positive. Being beautiful IS being strong and fit in my opinion, any extra ‘lumps and bumps’ are irrelevant.

  6. This really strikes a chord with me. I find if I’m purposefully looking then I don’t mind what I see but if I catch an unexpected glimpse that is when I notice the bits I don’t like!

    However, when I look at race finish pictures etc I might not like everything about them but what I always love is that they are pictures of ME, former couch potato and fattie FINISHING A RACE!!!! That has got to be much more amazing than anything else.

    Love that you have lots of new foods to try.


  7. Such a great and positive post. I think I feel much better about myself when I’m exercising, but I have gained so much more from it than that. it has made me change the way I think about diet and exercise. Rather than believing that it is something that I must do to be super skinny it is now something that I do to be strong and healthy.

  8. YES, exactly. I have missed exercising these last few months because I just feel so much stronger and confident with a regular exercise routine.

  9. Glad you all know where I am coming from ๐Ÿ™‚ I think although most of us are “healthy living” bloggers etc, and I think we need to be healthy on the inside, there is still a focus on looks too so it is hard ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. What a brilliant post… I agree in that I don’t usually like what I see in the mirror but it’s useful in Body Pump to check if I’m doing something right – and it’s good to see I’m getting stronger too. I think you’re right; that changes what you see ๐Ÿ™‚

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