We live in a culture obsessed with appearance. Picture-perfect models and bronzed celebrities are all around us. We’re constantly being bombarded with magazines telling us how to dress, how to look, how to act, and that goes for both women and men.
We say: Enough of feeling insecure about the way we look. Instead, let’s focus on feeling good about the way our body feels. As bikers, we know that having strong endurance and stamina is far more important than having a high-class tan when you’re on the trail, and frankly, why shouldn’t we embrace the natural way our bodies work? In this article we talk about ways to embrace your body and use mountain biking to achieve body postivity.
1. Focus on how you feel, not how you look
Ignore the mirror and get in touch with how your body feels instead. Whether it’s straining at the end of a long day or feeling a bit like you’ve indulged too much and need to stretch out your muscles with some riding, you need to learn to get in touch with your body. It’s easy to lose ourselves in our heads with our phones and computers and forget how to really appreciate our bodies.
2. Work hard, but not too hard
After a long ride, do you feel that good post-workout muscle burn? Learn when to tell when you’ve slacked, or when you’ve gone overboard and are going to be feeling sore for days. Figure out how to balance pushing yourself past your comfort zone with listening to what your body’s telling you.
Don’t forget to factor in that all-important recovery time after a hard workout, so you can hit the ground running on your next one. For more info on exercise recovery, take a look at what our very own Nicholas Lambert says in “Rocks n Roost’s Recovery Exercise Tips” here.
3. Enjoy your workouts
This is easy to do when you’re out riding compared to being holed up in a gym staring at the same blank wall for hours. Make sure you enjoy your exercise and look forward to it – you’re not punishing yourself, you’re enjoying yourself! Pick different trails so you always keep things fresh and interesting, and reward yourself for achieving your goals.
4. Focus on building strength, not losing weight
According to the NHS exercise reduces your risk for many different chronic diseases, plus boosts self-esteem, sleep quality, and energy levels. It’s not just about losing weight, in fact, that shouldn’t even be a big part of why you exercise. Instead, remember its other benefits, and how its helping you build strength and improve your body’s stamina.
5. Enhance your endurance
Read up on ways to improve your endurance when you’re out riding, instead of focusing on how much weight you’ll lose. This is especially important when you’re out e-bike touring, as you could be riding for hours on end and need to make sure you won’t flag by the two or three-hour point. Make your focus improving and refining your body’s intake and output, and you’ll soon take enjoyment in figuring out what kind of food to eat for the best results.
Check out this article by BikeRadar for a more in-depth look on how to improve cycling endurance.
6. Finally, take it easy with yourself
Nobody’s perfect, and you will fail sometimes. Whether it’s flagging earlier than you wanted on a particularly tough trail, or not seeing the endurance gains you’d like, or even falling back into bad body-negativity habits – it’ll happen. The most important thing is to take it easy with yourself. Be gentle and remember that it isn’t about never falling, but about getting up again after you fall.
Hopefully this article has started you on your way to a more body-positive life. For more tips on how to stay body-positive in your workouts, you can check out this article by Refinery29, “8 Ways to Keep Your Workouts Body-Positive”. Good luck, and remember: Work with your body, not against it.