You may have heard of quiet quitting at work, but writer Helen Beevers-Wilson argues the philosophy is best applied to your fitness regime. Here’s why.
Unless you’ve spent the entire summer sunning yourself on a beach, you’ll have heard of quiet quitting – the hot ‘new’ working trend that many of us have been subscribing to. The premise is simple: put in no more effort at work than is necessary (or you are paid for). It may not win you a promotion, but it’s being seen as a way of reassessing priorities and implementing self-care boundaries.
Look beyond the world of work, however, and applying the tenets of quiet quitting to your fitness regime might just help to reignite your interest in exercising.
It’s no secret that maintaining motivation can be one of the trickiest parts of working out. Whether we’re stuck in a fitness rut, can’t find the energy to move or are struggling with injuries, even the slightest knock can send our routine out of the window.
And it’s in those moments when doing the bare minimum without dropping our fitness plan altogether comes into play. If we’re falling out of love with exercise or struggling to complete a specific workout, pushing ourselves to go heavier or faster is only going to push us quicker towards quitting for good.
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Quiet quitting exercise: what are the benefits?
Doing less can make you feel more in control
Dr Josephine Perry, sport psychologist and author of The Ten Pillars Of Success, tells Stylist that to stay motivated, it’s important to have three key pillars in place:
- Mastery (feeling like we are good at it)
- Autonomy (having a choice and a voice over how we do it)
- Belonging (feeling like we are part of something bigger)
Regardless of other factors, Dr Perry says there’s a risk that “if we add in extra reps to a session we might start to fail at them and we could lose our feeling of mastery”. She also warns that “if we divert from our plan and do extra exercise, we start to feel we have lost some autonomy. So doing what we had planned to do but no more puts us in a sweet spot for maintaining motivation.”
It’s all about breaking fitness goals into small, achievable chunks to reap rewards without us reaching burnout.
It makes us more likely to turn up to training
We’ve all had times where we’re tempted to skip training. “If we are feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed then knowing we have a big workout ahead of us can often feel too much and so we back out of going at all,” Dr Perry says.
To get around that, she suggests “promising yourself that you will just do the basics so that you feel it’s much more doable. That makes us more likely to turn up.”
You might be tempted to try something new
Hollie Grant, founder of Pilates PT, says quiet quitting could be a powerful way of encouraging women to try a different type of exercise too. If a person favours HIIT training, for example, she’s found “asking someone to slow things down and try something that’s more muscular building than cardiovascular building can be really tricky unless they’re injured”.
But, “the concept of quiet quitting might be a good way of people consciously thinking about moving into something that’s lower impact or less intense like pilates or yoga”. And a switch to a slightly less intense activity could then help reframe exercise goals by taking the immediate pressure of a fixed routine away.
It can help us avoid injuries
Injuries are the last thing anyone wants to encounter, with frustrating aches, inflammation and sprains potentially causing serious problems in the long run.
Dr Perry says: “If we are someone who tends to get really into our exercise and keeps adding more and more then we risk injury or overtraining. Sticking with an amount we know works well for us and staying within the boundaries of that can help us build our fitness consistency without interruption.”
Ultimately, Grant agrees that it’s important to scale back when we need to: “By doing the bare minimum, you’re still doing something.”
While it may sound like an unusual approach at first, quiet quitting exercise could mean the difference between continuing with the bare bones of certain workout routines and stopping them altogether.
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