It sounds kinda counterintuitive if working out makes you hate yourself.
I mean, exercise is supposed to release certain endorphins and “feel good” hormones.
So realistically, working out should make you feel ecstatic.
However, there are definitely many people who feel emotional after exercise and suffer from self-loathing.
Hey, I’ve even heard of people who straight-out cry after their training session.
So, let’s look at the various reasons behind this apparent hatred for yourself after a workout.
Here’s Why Working Out Makes You Hate Yourself
When working out you tend to look at your body more closely and spot previously”unseen” flaws. You’re probably also comparing yourself to others, their physiques or workouts. You could be overdoing it in the gym, not eating or sleeping enough, all of which can spike cortisol levels and leave you feeling depressed.
Working Out & Hating Yourself Infographic
You’re Hating on Your Body
Allow me to let you into a secret – the vast majority of people have body issues.
Oh yes, even that person you spot in the gym with the perfect physique will have a problem with at least one area of their body.
Well all do it, no matter what we look like, there will always be something about ourselves that we don’t like, and that we wish to improve.
The difference being is that some people let this negative self-image affect them, whereas others are aware, but don’t let it bother them.
I will also say that some people have unrealistic expectations, and this is doing even more harm to their self-worth.
Plus, this can actually lead to you self-sabotaging, and then you start to hate yourself even more.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
You’ve started a new training regime, although you’ve done this many times before.
But, this time you’re really going to see it through, no matter what.
You go to the gym for at least a couple of weeks, 4 times a week.
But, after each and every training session you look at your body with disgust.
In truth, you’re now more aware of your own body, as you’re studying it closer.
You notice the rolls of fat, the unshapely and unsightly areas of your body, and you immediately start to feel depressed.
And you do this over-and-over to yourself.
Eventually, you’re sick and tired of looking at your awful body, so you turn to something that will provide some form of relief.
Oh yes, you gorge yourself on fried foods, sweets, desserts, etc.
And then the self-hating cycle, and the need to go to the gym start all over again.
Realistically, by actually going to the gym in the first place, you’ve taken a step in the right direction.
However, you can’t expect immediate results, so hating yourself really isn’t going to do you any favours.
So, stop it now!
I know it’s easier said than done, but imagine how you’ll look and feel if you keep up your exercise routine for a month, two months, and even longer.
We all have to start somewhere, so give yourself a break.
Don’t Like Your Body? This Video Will Change That!
You’re Comparing Yourself to Others
Something else that most of us do in the gym is to compare ourselves to others.
Actually, this is something that most of us do in everyday life.
Here’s the problem with this, the more you compare yourself to someone with the perfect physique, the more you’re going to hate the way your own body looks.
Then again, it could be that you spot someone who appears to be in similar shape to you.
However, they seem to be able to run on the treadmill for 15 minutes longer than you.
Perhaps they’re able to bench press an additional 100lbs.
Maybe, they’re doing a similar workout, but seem to have much more energy than you, and require shorter rest periods.
There’s so many ways in which we can compare ourselves to others in the gym.
But, once more, this type of thinking isn’t doing you any good.
Plus, remember what I said earlier, we are all living our lives imperfectly.
So, there will be things that every person dislikes about themselves.
Essentially, you could be making yourself depressed by comparing yourself to someone else, but they also happen to be beating themselves up below the surface.
We’re all trying to make our way through life, so stop comparing and concentrate on being YOU.
You’re Overdoing it
Something that often happens, especially when we’re hating our body, is that we put our heart and soul into getting into shape.
Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with training really hard, but you also have to understand your own limits.
Once more, this could be a comparison thing.
Just because someone else is capable of doing something doesn’t mean you are.
Then again, you could be training every single day, really pushing yourself, simply because you think your body is disgusting, and you want to get into shape.
Look, I’m not going to specifically mention overtraining, as most people would actually be hard-pushed to get into the realms of overtraining.
That said, you can definitely overdo it, which in turn can affect you mentally.
Training for too long at a high-intensity can spike cortisol levels, otherwise known as the “stress hormone”.
This in itself should tell you that this will affect your mind and the way that you think.
Furthermore, when you are overdoing it in the gym, and your cortisol levels have increased, you may find it difficult to sleep at night.
Now, this can actually impact you in a number of ways.
Firstly, muscles are “damaged” when we train, but they will “repair” themselves when we sleep.
Essentially, you’re not actually getting into shape in the gym, but rather while you’re at rest.
However, your high cortisol levels may make it extremely difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
This in turn could mean that your muscles aren’t repairing themselves as they should.
Therefore, even though you’re training exceptionally hard, it isn’t actually making any difference to your body.
This will undoubtedly make you feel unhappy, emotional, and depressed.
Finally, if you’re not sleeping well, this can also impact your workouts, as you simply don’t have the energy to perform to the desired levels.
The result of which is that your physique isn’t progressing as you hoped it would, so yet another reason to hate yourself.
You’re Not Eating Correctly
I will say that food and your eating habits are very similar to what I’ve just mentioned about sleep.
Basically, food is what fuels the body for your workouts, and also helps to repair those “damaged” muscles afterwards.
The foods that we eat actually have a huge impact on us mentally.
Think back to a time when you ate a really heavy meal.
I can guarantee that afterwards you felt bloated, lazy, and perhaps even slightly unhappy.
Then again, if you’re training hard in the gym, but not eating enough, both your body and mind will soon know about it.
From a physical perspective, you may not be eating enough to fuel your workouts and help recovery.
Maybe, you’re overeating, which is affecting your energy levels throughout the day, and even though you;re training hard it isn’t making any difference.
Once again, both of these things can raise your cortisol levels.
So realistically, your lack of food or your penchant for overeating is making you depressed.
This is then simply compounding as you spend hours in the gym trying to get into shape.
Basically, this is all a vicious circle, and one you need to get out of.
What to Eat Before & After Every Workout
So, as you can see, it’s actually quite easy to hate yourself after working out.
However, this mainly comes down to what you’re allowing your mind to tell you.
Plus, it could be that you’re not properly fuelling or recovering from your workouts.
Firstly, you’re going to be much more aware of your body when you exercise regularly.
So, you notice all those imperfections and constantly beating yourself up.
Then again, it’s also likely that you’re comparing your body and your workouts to others.
Plus, there is a chance that you’re overdoing it in the hope that you’ll produce that “perfect body” sooner.
However, if you’re not eating, resting, and sleeping enough your body isn’t going to change in the way you’d hope.
Easier said than done I know, but try being a bit easier on yourself, and you may find that you actually start to enjoy your workouts.
Next, on a fairly similar subject, I have discussed why working out potentially makes you feel angry.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.