If intuitive eating is an increasingly well-known approach, centered on the idea of recreating a healthy relationship with food by listening to one’s sensations, it is “intuitive training” or intuitive physical activity. who has been talking about him lately on social networks. As the name suggests, it’s a benevolent approach that puts performance goals aside. A way to approach exercise by paying attention to our body’s signals, energy level and preferences, without judgement. Concretely, this way of seeing physical activity invites us to rethink our motivations for moving, here it will be for pleasure, and therefore to rule out any “punitive” relationship with physical exercise, which therefore goes against the famous “no pain no gain”. This very popular concept in the world of fitness indeed refers to the idea that there is progress and performance only if there is pain, suffering and surpassing oneself. The objective will be quite different, since intuitive physical activity involves adapting one’s session according to the signals of one’s body on a given day, whether in terms of movements, frequency, type of exercise, duration and of intensity.
With more than 11.4 million views on TikTok and an 82% increase in Google searches over the past month, the intuitive movement is definitely gaining popularity, a sign that many people want to build a healthier relationship. with their bodies and stop “punishing” themselves with extreme workouts. As the gym chain PureGym explains about it, “ many people believe that workouts are only worth doing if they are extremely difficult, and that staying in shape involves daily and prolonged workouts. This mentality can cause them to jump headfirst into an intensive training program that is too difficult to follow, then give up a few weeks later, or even not try to start because it seems too difficult. The result is a sedentary lifestyle and the belief that exercise is not for them. Also, intuitive movement encourages all forms of movement, whether it’s dancing in the kitchen, going for a walk, doing light stretches instead of going to the gym, or going for a walk. a day off if you really don’t feel like moving.
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By approaching movement with this mindset, it would be much easier to stick to your overall training “plan” over the long term, while promoting your general well-being as you become more in tune with the signals of his body. The “blue zones” (regions of the world known for the longevity of their inhabitants, to date five of them have been identified) are the perfect example of the benefits of this approach since their inhabitants make most of their trips according to of the environment in which they live rather than “training” as such, for example, by gardening at home and without equipment or by walking to go to the other end of the village. But it is not necessarily easy to put this objective of “no pain, no gain” aside, especially if it has accompanied us from an early age in the gyms. Fortunately, there are tips for gradually adopting more “intuitive” movements in everyday life, at home and elsewhere, as Laura Melia, Managing Director of PureGym Manchester and TikTok fitness influencer Ella Mintram (@elmint) ), who made it a personal motto.
Go at your own pace and avoid comparisons
The fact of “following others” and comparing your sporting journey to those around you is a surefire way to no longer experience pleasure during training and reduce your motivation. Laura Melia explains why this bad habit is so dangerous: “ each person is at a different stage of their fitness journey, with different levels of strength and mobility, and what works for one person may be too much or too little for another. Don’t feel like you have to match someone’s workouts and avoid comparing your progress with other people’s. Instead, focus on how you feel. »
Same observation for Ella Mintram: “ focus on yourself and your own journey, there is nothing more harmful than this feeling of “not doing enough”! Just because you see other people working out five times a week doesn’t mean you should. We all have different lives, different schedules and different obligations. Some weeks it can be harder to stick to your entire workout plan and that’s absolutely okay. »
Learn to rest well
Ella Mintram explains that listening to your body and learning to spot when you feel the need for rest is essential to adopting intuitive training. “ Rest should be viewed as the time your body uses to recover. If you don’t recover, you will constantly try to exercise with an empty tank and your workouts will become completely unproductive. Conversely, learning to rest will help your workouts become much more interesting, because you’ll actually have the energy to do them. Another benefit of allowing adequate rest is also reducing one’s risk of injury.
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Find a form of movement that you like
There is not just one type of training, in a gym, it can range from HIIT to Crossfit, Spinning to weightlifting. Laura Melia suggests trying all types of workouts, different fitness classes, and other types of movement to help find what you like and dislike to create an exercise routine that you will actually enjoy. The coach also recalls that the fact of ” spending an hour in the gym isn’t the only form of movement we can do. Going for a nice long walk, playing sports with the kids or dancing is also a great way to keep your body moving. »
Put “pep” in your workouts
Added to this objective of finding the types of physical activity that suit everyone is the importance of making them enjoyable as well. For example, a person who likes weightlifting may prefer to do “circuit training” rather than a session based on sets and repetitions. Likewise, you might enjoy walking in nature, but not along a busy sidewalk.
Ella Mintram explains for her part that “ Choosing workouts you like is the best way to plan your exercise routine: if you don’t like doing your workouts, you just won’t do them! It is far better to have a training plan that you will be consistent with rather than an “optimal” plan that you will not do. I plan out all of my workouts, and by only including the exercises that I love, I know I’ll enjoy it that much more and can’t wait to get started. »
Ask yourself your “why”
If you train only because you feel you have to, it will be difficult for you to always feel motivated. That’s why it’s worth taking some time to explore why you want to train and what goals you want to achieve.
Ella Mintram saw a huge shift in her mindset and attitude towards exercise once she understood her ‘why’: why am I going to the gym? Why am I training? Once you really understand your purpose for being there, you can start to view your time at the gym as time for yourself. This is your time of day to focus on yourself, focus on your goals. There’s something really special about having a place to go that’s all about striving to become the best version of yourself. »
Start slowly and while progressing
While it can be tempting to jump into a whole new workout routine, gradually adapting to that routine is a much more sustainable approach to take. How to proceed ? It is recommended to examine your current sporting level before determining your limits, then gradually increase the intensity or duration: it is better to do two training sessions per week for a whole year, than five training sessions per week for a month before to give up.
Laura Melia indicates on this subject that he ” It may be tempting to go all out straight away, but this is more likely to lead to exhaustion, or even an injury that will cause you to retire. Apps can help you familiarize yourself with the sport of your choice in a pleasant way. Gym classes with a trainer are also beneficial because you can slowly increase your weight week after week. »
Realize that exercise is there to improve your life, not to take over
For some people, workout routines are very rigid and the thought of skipping a session can cause stress or anxiety about ‘losing progress’. However, an essential part of intuitive movement is realizing that a few missed workouts won’t have a long-term negative effect, and that exercise is something that should be enjoyed rather than causing stress.
This is now Ella Mintram’s motto: “ I used to turn down social events and holidays just so I wouldn’t be “out of the plan”. I thought if I missed a session I would lose all my progress, which is just not true. Exercise should be there to improve your life, improve you as a person and achieve your goals, it should never stop you from doing the things you love and make you feel alive. »