The mirror: friend or foe?

Good morning! It's another really cold and snowy day here. Forget that it was 83 degrees last week...spring cannot get here soon enough.


Because of the snow, we had late arrival at school today. And I worried I wouldn't get to my Pilates class at 10am. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was about to make a change in my fitness routine. I am happy to report that I have been to 2-3 Pilates classes a week, and am lifting weights with a friend twice a week. On the other days, it's a nice walk or, as it gets warmer, some solid days working in the yard. And it feels good. Like really good. It's as if the universe is saying to me "Tracey, it was definitely time for a change." Things are good.


Today we did a mat class. I have done mat classes before, but not in a long time. In the room where class is held, there is a wall of mirrors. Mirrors are either loved by my clients, or they are hated. In my home gym, I have a small mirrored wall and many times I tell clients that I want them to look at themselves in the mirror and some fight me on it. Not literally, but I can tell that they are very uncomfortable looking at themselves while exercising. And I get it - kindof. This morning I was being a little "judgey" of myself...depending on what exercise we were doing, there were moments that I worried that my stomach wouldn't look good, or I would notice my boobs (which, by the way, I would SOOOO pay to get smaller, but I digress). Point is, I understand that looking in a mirror can evoke some of our more judgmental opinions we have of ourselves. But if we can get PAST that, there are so many benefits:


1. You can see your form and correct it if needed. By looking at yourself and observing your movements, you can reset your posture if needed and see firsthand any mistakes you might be making and adjust them. I cant tell you how many times I hear "relax your shoulders," "get your shoulders away from your ears," "pull your belly into your back." And every time I hear it, I can look at myself and SEE my form improve.


2. You may work harder. Seeing yourself while working out can be a huge motivational boost. Just what you need, especially if you are guilty of being a little hard on yourself and your physical appearance. By focusing on the exercises at hand and seeing yourself DO them, you may feel inclined to push a little more, lift a little heavier, try a little harder. And that's never a bad thing.


3. If you are in a group setting, mirrors help with spatial awareness. It's easier to engage in any exercise when you know what space you have available to you in which to do it. Knowing your surroundings and seeing how close you are to others in a class enables you to enjoy full range of motion and not bump into others.


So next time you are working out, don't avoid making eye contact with the mirror in your space. Use the mirrors to pay attention to your body, to focus more on what you're doing, and to improve your performance over time. You won't regret it.

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