How Language Can Influence Our Body, Health And Fitness

"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny." Mahatma Gandhi

Compare the following two sentences:

I have to exercise today versus I get to exercise today

Both sentences convey the same message, an intention to exercise, but from opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. One is a chore, one is a choice. Which do you think will lead to long-term exercise success?

Words are powerful beyond their diminutive stature. They have the ability to lift us up and the ability to drag us down. Everyday we are bombarded with words from many different sources. The stronger our connection to the source, the more impact the words will have. Few will be more influential than those arising from within.

"If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative." Betty Eadie

Our language influences our mindset (for better or worse) which in turn ripples into our behaviour, actions and choices. Better habits become the building blocks of better fitness.

I don’t know how to cook versus I can learn how to cook

One sentence leaves a feeling of helplessness, the other a feeling of empowerment. Positive, action-orientated language leads to a positive, action-orientated mindset.


Furthermore language allows us to become the fit version of ourselves right now.

I want to eat healthy food versus I eat healthy food

I want to workout twice per week versus I workout twice per week

I want to walk everyday versus I walk everyday

The former reconfirms what we are not and pushes change further into the future. The latter creates proactive states of mind and personal values to uphold. It’s not hard to guess which set of words is more likely to trigger the habits we need to become fitter and stronger.

Whilst thinking about this blog post I’ve been looking for instances in my own life where I’ve been guilty of negative fitness talk. Each time I've caught myself I've tried to reframe the scenario through a more positive lens.

  • Really? Raining again  ----) I’ll have the outdoor gym to myself
  • Washing the dishes sucks ----) Yes, but its thirty minutes of easy movement
  • I can't do another sprint ----) Only one sprint to go
  • I'm too tired to train ----) I'll do one exercise then see how I feel

This mini-trial highlighted two things. 1) Using positive language really can change your mindset. 2) Using positive language is not always easy. Like anything it takes practice. Catch yourself, correct yourself, repeat. But over time its power and influence should not be underestimated.

“Good words are worth much, and cost little." George Herbert

For a fitter body... choose your words wisely!