Emotional Intelligence And Empathy in Training
When you start a fitness routine, you prepare yourself in a few different ways: buying workout clothes, sneakers, boxing gloves, and anything else that is necessary. You study pre and post-workout nutrition, learning what your body needs to perform at its best, and you make sure to drink enough water.
You might not think about developing your emotional intelligence and empathy when getting ready for the gym, but it’s an integral part of your success in becoming unstoppable and reaching your goals. This is because you’ll learn more about yourself, become more comfortable with your inner voice and dialogue during workouts, and will feel more confident.
What You Need To Know About Emotional Intelligence
The first trait that you need to know about is emotional intelligence. Let’s take a look at what this means.
Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions as others.”
There are two parts to emotional intelligence. The first part is that you can assist your friends, family, and partner when they’re going through something. The second part is that you can also handle the feelings that come up in your own life.
As the name suggests, emotional intelligence is essentially about becoming more in tune with your feelings and becoming smart about them.
What Is Empathy?
Empathy is the second trait that helps you become successful when you’re training at the gym. According to Very Well Mind, “empathy involves the ability to emotionally understand what another person is experiencing.”
How do you know that you feel empathy?
If a friend or relative comes to you to talk about something and you brush them off and don’t want to talk, that’s not the greatest reaction. If you have empathy for them and their situation, that’s different, and you can be there for them.
How You Can Develop Both Of These Traits
Here’s an exercise that can help you develop emotional intelligence: Think about a few different situations that you experienced in the past week. Think about one that was positive and one that was a negative experience. Then, do the following:
- Make a list of the emotions that came up during these two different times.
- Ask yourself if you were able to recognize your feelings and cope and move on or if you felt incredibly stressed out and overwhelmed.
- You can do the same thing with a situation when a friend or your partner told you about something difficult going on in their lives -- where you able to listen, be there for them, and help them feel better?
To develop emotional intelligence, you can be aware of how you feel and know that it’s totally okay-- and that it’s okay for another person in your life to feel sad or worried about something. And then, of course, you can be there for them.
How can you develop empathy, which is an important trait both in and out of the gym? Let’s take a look:
- Be compassionate toward yourself. Only then can you truly feel that way about others.
- You can work on feeling more confident, which will allow you to care about others and not feel insecure. You can do this by thinking about your most positive personality traits.
- Talk to yourself and your friends, family, and partner the same way you would want to be spoken to (with compassion).
Developing empathy and emotional intelligence is a work in progress. It can feel strange and uncomfortable to feel your feelings instead of ignoring them. It’s normal to have a bad day and want to get into the studio so you can leave feeling better and leave those negative feelings behind.
If you can work on your emotional intelligence, you can become not only physically strong but mentally strong, too. This can help you feel like you can get through anything, from a tough workout to a tough time in your personal life.
How These Two Traits Can Help You Become Unstoppable In Training
Empathy can help you become unstoppable during training by helping you think about your workouts as a form of self-care. While people talk about self-care as a Sunday night bubble bath or manicures, exercise also counts. This is how you look after yourself and take care of your body and mind.
Emotional intelligence can help you understand the feelings that come up while training. Have you ever felt on the verge of tears during a super tough workout and thought, “This is weird, why is this happening”? Or wondered why you couldn’t stop thinking about the frustrating day at work that you just had, even though you try to zone out and focus on the task at hand? By becoming more emotionally intelligent, you’re becoming aware of the cause of your emotions.
Every time you step into the ring to crush another workout, you want to feel the same way after: awesome, proud, and like you accomplished something. Maybe you did a few more reps than last time or lifted a heavier weight.
Aside from those positive feelings, some not-so-great ones that might come up as well. This is how developing your empathy and emotional intelligence can help you find success with your workouts. You can recognize the feelings that are coming up for you and then figure out how to handle them, without sacrificing your training.
Here are some feelings that might arise during training:
- Tiredness - you might feel tired during the training session, experience muscle soreness, or feel drained from your busy day.
- Envy - you might feel envious of others who are working out beside you. With strong emotional intelligence, you can be aware of this so you can remind yourself that it’s not a competition.
- Pride/Joy - this is what you want to feel since you’re working hard and doing a great job.
When you have empathy and emotional intelligence, you can recognize your feelings, acknowledge them, and then move on with your workout. Your feelings won’t be so overpowering or distracting. You’ll simply say, “Okay, this is how I feel, and that’s fine.”
Why You Need to Find a Coach with These Traits to be Successful
Your coach needs to be both empathetic and emotionally intelligent. For one, your coach needs to feel empathy for where you’re coming from. For example, did you just have a baby and you’re working out for the first few times? Are you recovering from an injury? An empathetic coach will meet you where you are.
Your coach also needs to motivate you in a compassionate way. If your coach talks about how strong you are and how you can find that last little bit of effort to Become Unstoppable, that’s inspiring. If you feel like your coach is empathetic for whatever life you’re living outside of the studio, you’ll want to come back. You want to feel seen, heard, and understood by your coach.
Ultimately, you will become more comfortable with listening to your thoughts and feeling your feelings the longer that you work out and the more invested you become in your fitness routine and living a healthy lifestyle.