If you’re dragging yourself to the gym with the classic thought, “I don’t wanna,” then you’re probably not being consistent with your routine. So if you dread your workouts and are counting down the minutes until you can leave; don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many “exercisers,” especially new ones, can relate.
The truth is that the majority haven’t found a way to make it fun. Exercise shouldn’t be a hassle or a punishment. It should be a release. Your workouts should be the best part of your day.
Try any of the 10 tips below to add some fun to your sweat sessions and release those endorphins.
1. Take dance breaks. People think that needing rest means they’re weak or failing the workout, but that’s not true! Listen to your body and use your rest breaks as a time to pump yourself up again. Get lost in your music and dance around a little while your heart rate calms down. Most fitness professionals call this active recovery. So keep moving and then, when you’re ready, hop right back into your workout.
2. Race yourself. The next time you do a rep or distance-based workout, time yourself. When you go back to do it again, try to beat your last time by at least a few seconds. Make it a game so that every time you do that workout, you’re competing against yourself.
3. Pump up the jams. Honestly, without music, I’d hate working out as well. Invest in a pair of ear-buds that won’t fall out during your workouts or some wireless headphones. I think this is why most splurge for the trendy Beats by Dre, because this purchase will make your workouts that much more enjoyable. Then make a playlist of energetic music and get hyped up.
4. Try a different kind of exercise each workout. To keep workouts fun, I’m always shaking up the moves. There are a ton of resources out there to learn a new strength-training exercise, attend a boot camp or a class that you’ve never been to before, ask more experienced friends on what type of lifts they do, or visit sites like Tommy Destefano Fitness or BodyBuilding.com to look up new workouts with reviews and videos. Keep mixing it up, because we are creatures of habit and our bodies get used to the same exercises as well.
5. Shift your focus. Instead of repeating “I hate working out” over and over in your head, embrace the fact that you’re at the gym, on the track, in your living room, bettering your mind and body. Talk yourself into your workout, not out of it. You could have given up, but you didn’t. Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk.
6. Plan it out. Nothing kills a vibe like getting to the gym and having no idea what you’re going to do. Instead, map out your plan before you go, and make sure it’s easily accessible by printing it out or saving it as a picture/note on your phone.
7. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Have you ever been to a boot camp or yoga class or a cycling class? Trying new things keeps us on our toes and breaks down the limits we set for ourselves. While most of us don’t like being the worst person in class, it can be humbling. Go on Groupon or sign up for ClassPass and do some experimenting.
8. Find your why. I work out for many reasons. It fights depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, tons of other chronic diseases, and more importantly, it makes me feel strong and alive. Reminding myself of this when all I want to do is watch Netflix serves as a quick motivator. Whenever you feel like skipping your workout, remind yourself of your “why.”
9. Don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between letting out stress through your workout and creating more of it. Over-training can drain you physically and emotionally. Make sure you’re getting at least one full day off from working out every week. Start with a sustainable workout schedule that leaves you looking forward to the next one.
Whatever you do, don’t be your own worst enemy and let your mind convince you that you hate working out. Moving your body on a daily basis is the only way to get fit and healthy. Plus, there are TONS of ways to make it fun! So pump up the jams and celebrate what your body can do!