Not long ago, a friend asked me, “How do you get someone to exercise if they hate it?” As a fitness instructor and long time gym junkie, it always takes me by surprise when someone says they hate exercise—how can I love it so much while someone else hates it? If you find yourself in my friend’s camp, try one or more of these suggestions to get on track and stay there.
1) Don’t do something you hate.
How many times have you gone to a fitness class or ran on the treadmill and watched the minutes slowly tick by on the clock? If you find yourself in this I’d-rather-die-than-do-this-again position, maybe the kind of workout you’re doing isn’t for you. Check the group fitness schedule, talk to a trainer or a friend about what they recommend and don’t be afraid to try something new. Find your thing and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
2) Find a fitness pal.
We’ve all heard the saying “there’s safety in numbers,” and that’s true for some people when it comes to regularly hitting the gym. For example, there are many mother-daughter, friend-friend, and couple fitness “teams” at the Monon Community Center (MCC). Oftentimes, when we rely on each other we get the job done.
3) Schedule it.
Make fitness part of your regular schedule—jot it down in your planner or schedule it on your phone—and treat it like any other hair, doctor, or car appointment. Keep a gym bag with fresh clothes in your car, give extra time to leave work when the weather is bad and know when you’re not really too tired, but lazy. Of course, there are legitimately days when you physically and mentally can’t work out—learn to listen and know your body and understand the difference between a sick day and an excuse.
4) Stop with the negative thoughts and comparisons.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a strong body and mind. Many times people think less of themselves if they can’t perform one day at the gym or in a fitness class the way they did the day before, or even at the same level as someone else. Try to think the way yogis do—you are where you are today—and accept that your body’s abilities may change one day to the next.
5) Listen to music that motivates you.
If you find yourself uninspired, put a playlist together that makes you want to move. If you’ve never integrated music into your gym routine, give it a try.
6) Follow the 3-day rule.
It’s as simple as this: the farther you get away from working out, the less you want to do it. As a rule of thumb, most fitness regulars will tell you not to go more than 3 days without working out.
7) Drop the burrito.
There seems to be a mindset that we can eat whatever we want as long as we work out. Wrong! We’ve come to a point in society where most of us are eating more calories than we could ever burn off at the gym. While everyone should seek the opinion of a physician before beginning exercise, physicians and registered dieticians also can provide valuable insight into your diet and how it affects your body and fitness regimen.