Cassidy Merrill is the founder of Train Insane, a group fitness experience that promotes both physical and mental strength. She has been on a journey to shift her mind from thinking all about getting skinnier, to working towards getting stronger. “I would be lying if I told you that trying to be skinny wasn’t part of my journey,” Cassidy admits. However, she recognized that with this mentality she was not seeing any changes in her body, or reaching her fitness goals. Her experience and expertise gained on this journey has inspired others to shift their mentality from becoming skinnier, to becoming stronger. “I have learned to love myself for what my body can accomplish, instead of a number on the scale,” said Cassidy.
About seven years ago, before her mental shift began, Cassidy centered her workouts around burning calories. “As the years went on, I realized this was not making me happy. I was a hamster in a wheel. And I was chasing nothing,” confessed Cassidy. Then she discovered how good it felt to be strong both physically, as well as mentally. She discovered the “why” behind her workouts and that is when everything began to change.
Cassidy is continually building her knowledge on how to make this mental shift. “You won’t just wake up one day with a different mindset,” said Cassidy. “It takes work, just like anything else!” She encourages others to remember that this mental shift takes time and patience. The following steps are what Cassidy has shared to get you started on this journey:
- Find your “why”
Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you wanting to get up and go to the gym? For some, vanity might be enough to get them there. For me (and I know most others), that isn’t enough and usually doesn’t last. An example of this is when my “why” shifted from wanting to be skinny, to wanting to be the best that I could be. I wanted to be healthy and strong for my children. I wanted to be an example to my girls, that women are more than just a prize to be flaunted around. I loved the way it felt and it was my “out” for the day as a stay-at-home mom. It made me feel accomplished and good about myself.
- Set a fitness goal
One area that I believe was a huge factor in shifting my mindset, was changing my goals from a number on a scale or smaller pant size, to a fitness goal. This is what I believe got me hooked on running. I loved the challenge of the different marathon distances, as well as challenging myself on my speed. At first, I set a goal to accomplish a half marathon. I then decided I wanted to get faster and I would try to beat my personal record each race. I later set a goal to accomplish a full marathon and just recently completed my first Boston Marathon. Accomplishing a goal, like running a marathon, gave me a boost of confidence. I felt empowered, like nothing could stop me. I was becoming stronger both mentally and physically.
- Embrace your body type
God created each of us differently. You can exercise and eat exactly like your best friend and you will never have their body. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can look just like them by making a few diet changes and adding 15 extra minutes to your workout routine. We all have flaws and other things we may not like about our bodies. The sooner you embrace those flaws and focus on the positive things about your body, the sooner you will be on track to shifting your mind.
- Build a healthy support system
We have all heard the saying, “You become the average of the five people you hang out with.” Surround yourself with people who are positive, not only about others, but about themselves too. If they are constantly calling themselves fat, when they are a size two, you will start to develop those same thoughts. Build an environment of friends and loved ones that is built upon finding happiness through accomplishments. Don’t let others tear you down. If friends or family members are making you feel less about yourself, then remove them from your circle.
- Get off the scale!
Some people can use the scale in a positive way, but most of us do not. I know that for me, weighing myself can become a very negative thing. I become obsessed with a number that is pretty subjective. Your weight can be influenced by so many factors that you have no control over. Most of the time, our weight isn’t the best way to track progress, or determine the success of your health and fitness level. Find other healthy alternatives, aside from the scale.
Cassidy reminds us that with her listed steps, we should not set crazy expectations. These steps are meant to help you become the healthiest version of yourself. “Taking pride in your appearance and taking care of yourself are things that help build confidence,” Cassidy exclaimed. “I feel this is extremely important!” She hopes to inspire others to remember the importance of loving their bodies for what they can accomplish, not just a number on the scale. This is when you will begin to see a change both physically and mentally.
Follow @train_insane_with_cass on Instagram, for more fitness inspiration and additional information on Train Insane.