One of the main complaints I hear from people who can’t stick with an exercise program is they just don’t like it. For many, exercise is not naturally an enjoyable expenditure. And it makes sense – in a world where we have so many non-negotiable obligations, it can be daunting to add yet another thing to an already packed schedule- especially if it’s not something truly enjoyed! I firmly believe there is a form of exercise out there for every type of person. Not everyone has to run a marathon. Not everyone is coordinated enough to find a dance class enjoyable. But everyone can do and succeed at something physical. Below are my tips to finding a workout that will become the best part of your day:
So many people get into a negative mindset with exercise and view it as a punishment rather than a reward. Instead of spending the whole day dreading the time you “have” to go to the gym, think of it like you would grabbing a drink with a friend or getting a manicure after work. An hour long work out is a luxury and the ultimate “me” time. It’s the perfect excuse to disconnect from your cell phone and let your mind just focus on moving your body. Trust me – it’s hard to remember that annoying comment your boss made earlier when you are sprinting uphill on a treadmill or doing jump squats!
Revisit your childhood.
Did you play a sport when you were younger? Or was there one you always wished you played? Even if the sport doesn’t translate perfectly into a daily exercise activity, remember the elements of the sport you liked and look for a work out that encompasses those. For example, if you played volleyball in high school, you were quick on your feet and used to short bursts of intense energy. A Tabata style work out would be fun for you because it is structured as short stacks of exercises done at a high intensity for 20-30 seconds at a time. Still interested in a team sport? Most cities have several adult leagues that are always looking for new members. If your workplace is large enough, you could always start your own after work softball league as a fun way to meet new people.
Make it convenient.
If you have to drive 40 minutes in traffic to get to a gym after work, haggle for a parking spot, and then fight for a decent spot in an overcrowded class, it’s no wonder you hate your workout! Make everything as easy as possible on yourself so that you can fully relax and enjoy the workout experience. If that means switching it up and going before work, it may be worth trading that extra hour of sleep not to have to fight the after work crowd. Look for options on your route to or from work. Maybe there isn’t a fully functional gym nearby but there may be a great spin or yoga studio within walking distance to your office. This is especially helpful if you work in a big city or commute by public transportation. The less time you spend traveling from your desk to the class the more efficient you can be!
Try everything (3) times!
If you really have no idea where to start with finding an activity that works for you, my best advice is to just try everything! Class Pass is an awesome company offering members a “pass” to try fitness classes in their area for a low monthly subscription fee. There are varying levels of memberships available, and the highest allows you to visit any studio up to three times per month. Class Pass is available in most major US regions and has expanded to Australia and Canada. Even if you don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription plan at a certain studio, give every work out type at least three tries before writing it off. The first class is always confusing, especially if the technique is totally foreign to you. The second class, you will have an idea of the structure and level of difficulty of the exercise and by the third, you will know – love it or hate it.