When we think of fitness results, gratitude is typically not the first thing that comes to mind. It’s burning more calories, eating fewer calories, and Sweatin’ to the Oldies like Richard Simmons back in the late 80s.
But when it comes to being healthy and a life well lived, gratitude and fitness go together like sugar and spice (and everything nice).
Since opening AMP, we quickly found out how stressful running a small business can be and before long it started taking a toll on us and our relationships, especially our own. We were making progress bit by bit but often didn’t stop to recognize the small wins or take a step back to se the bigger picture. Things were never perfect and even though we were constantly taking two steps forward, that occasional step back seemed to linger. Existential angst began to set in.
It wasn’t until we sat down and decided to make gratitude an important part of our culture at AMP, both for us and our Members. We made it one of our core values, inject it into our team meetings, express it regularly each day, and create prompts in our operating system to reflect on it. That’s when the dreary fog of stress begin to lift and we were able to start helping more humans and finding more happiness during the hard parts.
It takes work, but you can implement your own gratitude practice to improve your fitness journey and your life. Here’s how…
Gratitude and Fitness
The benefits of fitness are clear and well documented at this point. You’re able to do more things, feel more confident, get sick less, have more energy, help people you care about, have better sexy time (and more), improve the overall quality of life, and just live longer. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to sell you on that one.
But what about gratitude and what does it have to do with fitness?
GRATITUDE IS ‘HAPPINESS FUEL’ FOR YOUR LOVE TANK.
And when it comes to results, it’s like a performance enhancing drug. But legal… and the only side effect is strengthening your spirit and sense of self.
Just the act of practicing gratitude in your daily life can positively transform your attitude, enhance human connection, and generally make us happy AF. Not only that but recent research has proven that daily gratitude practice can also:
lower blood pressure and improve other biomarkers
improve our immune system and help us fight illness
lower risk of depression and other mental health illnesses significantly
The best part?
That shit is FREE dollars!
When it comes to our fitness, gratitude will not only help us continue to show up, it will help us show up BETTER. And if you’re doing it right, just the act of working out is a way of expressing love and gratitude for our bodies.
Here are two ways gratitude will enhance your fitness journey:
1. ENJOY THE PROCESS.
Psychologists believe that humans who take greater pleasure in process based goals rather than outcome based goals generally have higher success rates and stick to it longer. When it comes to fitness, we believe that enjoying what you do is EVERYTHING.
Just like we found out when starting a business, success isn’t linear. It’s actually far from it and we weren’t prepared for all of the dips going into it. What we also failed to see from close up in the moment was the fact that even though it wasn’t constant, we were always trending up.
The simple practice daily gratitude and reflecting on progress gave us was the ability to not only identify the small wins but to celebrate them!
That also applies when it comes to nailing your fitness and nutrition goals. Take some time to identify things like..
Learning a new exercise
Going up in weight on your deadlift
Have an easier time going up stairs
Being consistent over a long period of time
Drinking more water
Consistently making better food choices
Showing gratitude for those little milestones are essential when it comes to enjoying the process.
2. SHOW UP… EVEN WHEN IT SUCKS.
What can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s Law.
Whether it’s fitness or business or just life, you’re likely to experience periods where things just suck. It’s inevitable. But how you respond is what matters most.
We’ve been open at AMP for four years now and one thing I can tell you is that things rarely go as planned. Unexpected costs, equipment breaking, facility upkeep, failed marketing, and working through weekends and holidays has made owning a business less appealing than when we started.
And even though there are parts of running a business that suck, we wouldn’t be doing it if there weren’t far more benefits. And those benefits are what keep us showing up for Members, our team, and ourselves.
Practicing gratitude is like a lighthouse that not only shines on the good things but allows you to see the jagged rocks in the process, outlining a clearer path to move forward.
We won’t always have control over the stuff that happens to us, we do have full control over how we respond. Gratitude is a powerful force will help us keep showing up… even when it sucks.
How to Express Gratitude
Some of us do this naturally but the vast majority have to make it a deliberate practice, both to ourselves and to others. I mean, we all have an incredible number of things to be grateful for if we just take a second to look.
START WITH YOUR OWN PRACTICE
Being happy starts with being able to express gratitude towards yourself taking stock in the fact that you’ve made it this far in life and you’re still kicking.
1. Take a Gratitude Time Out
When life gets stressful and things don’t seem to be adding up sometimes it helps to take a step back, zoom out, and refocus the lens on what really matters.
When you haven’t hit your initial goal weight, missed a bench press PR, or twisted your ankle walking down the street this can be a powerful tool to find joy in what you’ve been nailing.
The best part?
It can take less than 60 seconds.
2. Have a Gratitude Journal
For some of us, a physical reminder or representation is necessary and keeping a gratitude journal in your desk or by your bed can be super helpful.
When I (Steve) was just getting started on my own gratitude practice, I kept a section in my planner to create a daily practice of reflecting. This helped me get through some of the toughest parts of getting a business started and the daily act is what helped me create the habit.
SHARING IS CARING
It is a little trickier but sharing gratitude with other humans can be infinitely more rewarding. It can both empower them to be better themselves but also unify the tribe. That means everyone can share in the glory of success!
1. Tell Them
In the fast-paced day to day we can easily forget that others don’t know when we’re grateful for their actions. So the best thing we can do to help them know is to tell them!
One thing we do at AMP Fitness in our Team meetings is start off by an activity we call ‘Weekly Touchie Feelies” and it goes like this: “Thank you for… and I’m grateful for…”. It’s prompted but everyone feels more unified to succeed.
2. Be Specific
When showing gratitude for yourself and others the more specific you can be the better. If you want to thank someone for covering your shift at work you could say:
“Thanks for covering my shift”
“I’m grateful that you covered my shift. You’re always are so responsive when I ask for coverage”. Bonus points if you offer up a $3 coffee or a $2 seltzer water as well, if their love language is gifts. (see next tip)
Being specific can make the gestures of gratitude impactful, which is the whole point of showing gratitude anyway. To make an impact.
3. Use the Right Love Language
Love language is the way we like to receive love. It can be in words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, or touch. When expressing gratitude we tend to use the love language that we like the most.
For example if I love words of affirmation, I will most likely choose words of affirmation to express gratitude to others. However, not everyone has the same love language as I do and therefor it might not be the best way to show my gratitude.
Now we aren’t Cupid and can’t easily figure out the love language of others. Therefore to make the best impact with showing gratitude, learn about the different types of love language and practice showing gratitude through the various languages. It will be fun and creative for you and will make a larger impact on others.
If you haven’t figured out your love language you read about it HERE.
Things to Remember
Gestures of gratitude don’t have to be grand to make an impact. In-fact they might even leave a longer lasting mark on our hearts than large ones.
When I (Lindsay) would take a long runs, it was hard to get out the door and take the first step. After it was done I would show gratitude towards myself and my accomplishment of completely the run by buying new running leggings or sneakers. It was to express gratitude as well as provide motivation. 🙂
I quickly learned that this large gesture was expensive and clearly didn’t leave a lasting impact since I would repeat it the next day. Now, after a run or workout I choose to spend 2-5 min after in a rest position to soak in the endorphins and sit in the good feeling of completely a hard task. A moment of silence is my new gratitude for my body. Small, impactful and FREE.
Steve & Lindsay
P.S. Looking for a place to nail your fitness goals and put your gratitude practice into play? Sign up here for our 2-week in-person trail to kickstart your fitness journey. CLICK HERE