Does just thinking about working out exhaust you?
If devoting an hour or more to getting yourself undressed, dressed, driving to the gym, and figuring out what machine to use or what class to take while surrounded by a bunch of sweaty strangers does not sound desirable to you, that’s okay.
I, too, have felt envious of these so called “gym rats” that seem to be at home on the treadmill or pumping iron. However, this is not the only way to get exercise. I believe that if you are not enjoying your sweat sessions, or finding pleasure in movement, then you won’t stick to it and create a healthy habit.
Our bodies are DESIGNED to move and they want and NEED to be challenged and sweat. But this doesn’t have to be another line on your to-do list. I am convinced that you can create a life where you look forward to working out and maybe even crave that hour you carve out for your health.
When I work out, I like to set the stage for success. Here are some things I like to do to make exercising a (addictive) guilty pleasure.
1.) Create a playlist that gets you in the mood and that you look forward to listening to. I love Spotify for finding new music and remixes of old favorites that keep me pumped up. They key is to not listen to it until you get to the gym so you have an incentive to go.
2.) Think you might be more of a group fitness person, but no sure where to start? Sample different kinds of classes in your area. Try yoga, barre, spin, Crossfit, and/or Zumba until you find one you enjoy. A lot of studios give you your first class for free or new student discounts. Shop around and take advantage of these great deals.
3.) Try something totally unconventional. Dancing in your underwear or favorite outfit in front of the mirror for 20 minutes counts as exercise. Pick up the hula hoop in your garage that’s been sitting there for years and give it a spin. Practice cartwheels at a park.
4.) Recruit a friend. Working out is a lot more fun and time goes much faster when doing it with someone you love. Start by committing one day a week to meeting up with a pal for a walk, jog, or yoga class. You could even go out to your favorite organic restaurant for a healthy meal afterwards.
5.) Create incentives. If you work out 5 days a week for a month, you have permission to buy that vegan leather coat you’ve been longing for. Maybe a vacation is more motivating to you. Find something that will push you to get moving on those lazy days.
6.) Sign up for a private lesson. Sometimes working with an experienced trainer one-on-one can help you figure out your fitness goals and achieve results much faster. These folks (like myself) are skilled in creating routines that target your “problem areas” and can find exercises that feel good in your body.
7.) Buy flattering workout clothes. You don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars at Lululemon to find quality yoga pants unless you think splurging would motivate you to hit the gym. Places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx often have last season’s pieces at high discounts. Exercising is more fun when you show up feeling confident and put together when you look in the mirror.
8.) Break your workout up into tiny sweat sessions. Three ten-minute periods can add up to hundreds of calories burned. You could run a mile in the morning, walk in the afternoon, and close out the day with core work.
9.) Get moving for a cause. Perhaps contributing to organizations you believe in or issues that you hold near to your heart like Breast Cancer Awareness would drive you to put in your time at the gym. The key here is to map out the walks/runs/triathlons you want to participate in throughout the year so you avoid taking too much time off.
10.) Pick up a new (or old) talent. Ballroom dancing? Karate? Ice Hockey? Sign up for a 6-8 week session to learn a new activity that appeals to you or revisit your high school sport. Look for local teams in your area and join the league. This approach will help you get out of your comfort zone, build confidence, and meet new people.
My desire for you is to try out these techniques until you find one that works. You deserve to enjoy getting fit and feel good doing it. Leave a comment on how YOU enjoy working out or feedback on any of the suggestions you try.
Leave a comment below and tell me how you make exercise unfairly fun!