While Bulking has its benefits for gaining muscle and reaching your desired goals, you’ve no doubt experienced the blues that kick in as the number on the scales increases. While you know the strategy is effective and relatively short-term, sometimes deliberately gaining weight can bring down your body image.
We’re all about health and that includes mental health, so how do you tackle your body image blues before you reach your ideal goal? We asked around for some hot tips and put together a shortlist of some of our favourites.
1. START A COUNTDOWN
Like any activity or goal, having a visual representation of a deadline can help you quantify the phase in question. UQ Sport Personal Trainer, Jack, introduces a countdown whenever he preps for a comp as he finds having a deadline laid out visually, especially during a bulking phase, keeps his mind in check.
While you could use an app to do this, grab a pen and paper to give yourself something to physically mark off each day. By introducing a physical countdown, you’re inviting a satisfying action into your life that can represent both an accomplishment (for keeping at it) but also a mental reminder that you’re working towards a goal – one that gets closer every day!
2. TREAT EVERY NIGHT LIKE A SCHOOL NIGHT
Everything seems better when you get a good night sleep. And yes, we’re sure you’ve heard that piece of advice a million times, but it’s true. Even our PT and front counter main-stay Michael admits the benefits of a good sleep are undeniable to his mental health and mood throughout the day. He believes, where possible, a good sleep routine should be introduced as it can help with your body image. Namely, “not being so hard on yourself”.
Starting each day with a fresh and clear mind is essential to feeling better about yourself, and as Michael described it, “getting a good night sleep is really just a natural chill pill, which helps you see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Including yourself”.
3. SLOW IT DOWN
Personal Trainer and Physio, Marina is a big believer in meditation and holistic workouts. She suggests anyone taking on a bulking phase, or any fitness goal for that matter, should tap into meditation resources around them.
As a Group Fitness Instructor taking BODYBALANCE® at UQ Sport, she praises the meditation component at the end of each session. Marina suggests that having even 5-10 mins in a workout to ignore the mirrors and instead tap into your mind can shift your perspective on negative thoughts well into the day. Plus, adding in a holistic workout can make for a great active rest day, soothing the muscles as well at the mind.
4. TREAT YO’SELF
It’s no secret that we’re often too hard on ourselves – with fitness, health, work, study, friends, family, and anything else in between! So why not ease off the pedal and treat yo’self?
Among the team here, common ideas like retail therapy, date nights with the gang, and of course eating badly were all thrown around as ultimate #treats, but one that caught our eye was grabbing a massage. Marina suggests that not only is it incredibly relaxing but like meditation, massage can expose an added layer of awareness to your body by leaving your muscles feeling strong and healthy and your mind refreshed and clear. Plus, it’s great for sleep – seeing a pattern here?
5. CHANGE LOCATION
Last but certainly not least, step outside! Body Building Queen, Tyarra, is a huge fan of stepping outside to clear the mind, especially during her bulking phase. Tyarra admits that while it might seem silly to simply evoke the “out of sight, out of mind” rule, moving her workout outside and stepping and away from a wall of mirrors often works wonders in boosting self-esteem. Not only is breathing the fresh air calming, but it reminds us that at the end of the day it’s how we feel that’s most important.
Plus, if you suss out your local hotspot for outdoor exercise you’ll find you’re a part of a much larger community of active individuals. Seeing others working towards their own goals can not only inspire you in your own workout, but often you’ll get to see some happy dogs – a solid reminder to never take life too seriously and to stop being so hard on yourself!
Now that you know our fave hot tips to stay in-check, go out and chase those gains!