Finding the joy in fitness can be such a foreign thing for some. It’s not always a pleasure to exercise. It’s not always fun and happy and interesting. Sometimes it’s a little boring. Sometimes it’s mundane and repetitive and even a little messy.
I know many gym-haters and they say the same thing all the time: “I hate working out, I hate sweating, I hate everything about it!” When asked, “Well, why do you keep doing it?”
They always answer the same too: “Just because I hate it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be doing it. I know I HAVE to workout. But I don’t HAVE to like it!”
As someone who actually loves to lift and do some cardio, I can’t quite relate to these non-fitness enthusiasts. But it made me think of how we form the habits of even just getting up and going to the gym. How that is a challenge in itself for many people. So how do we keep things interesting?
Forget staying motivated, how do we find the excitement in fitness?
Because motivation to GET to the gym is a whole other post. How do we keep ourselves in the honeymoon phase of working out? Here are some ways I think we can keep it going:
So Fresh and So Clean:
Ahhh, nothing like a new workout outfit to make you giddy with excitement as you start up the elliptical….right?
Okay perhaps not THAT exciting. But you gotta admit, (men would too, I think) that newly purchased workout apparel has it’s appeal. Maybe you just want to show it off (a size smaller perhaps?) maybe you want to see if you look better in those new pants after you take a selfie and post it on Instagram. (admit it, you do it).
Or it could just be a new pair of shoes that get you jazzed. You gotta break them in! Any reason to get you into the gym or out on the asphalt for some cardio is not a bad way to keep it interesting.
It’s our Anniversary
If you belong to a gym you probably get a notification when you hit your anniversary mark. Or maybe you just know when you first joined and started taking a class or hired a PT.
Either way, you should mark it on the calendar and see if you notice a significant change. The best is when you do the same workout or class that you did 6 months or a year prior and now you can tell just how different you are! Maybe you did a push-up test and could only do 2 or 3 push ups in 30 seconds. NOW? You can do 30!
Maybe a year ago you took a cardio or HIIT class and could barely get through it. Today? The teacher calls YOU out to demonstrate perfect form or to LEAD the class or a new person on how to do the workouts because you are the expert. That’s cause for celebration.
Those small victories are actually huge accomplishments!
Tune In and Tone Up
Most people I know cannot lift or run or do anything without their music. I know if I forget my ear buds at home, I’m going to have a BAD workout because I rely on my music to push me through it.
If you’re looking to get some better lifts, try downloading some new tunes. I use Spotify but Pandora and of course iTunes have great suggestions based on what you are already listening to. Browse by Genre or even look up “Workout Music” to get some new and interesting recommendations.
You could discover a new artist or group that you hadn’t heard of previously while working up a sweat.
Wear it on your Wrist
These days, people LOVE to track and share their workout results. Heart Rate Monitors, FitBit’s, Jawbone’s, BodPod’s. You name it, it’s out there.
Tracking your caloric burn (although never 100% accurate) is a great way to hold yourself accountable so you don’t go overboard with the food. But it’s also a great way to track your running pace, your swim time, your recovery time, pretty much anything you can think of to determine if you’re improving your performance.
There are always some links to share your progress on social media, as well. So if you want to tell people how far you ran or how many calories you burned on the stairmaster, shout it to the world with a tracker.
Building your Dream Gym
Could your home gym use an upgrade?
Time to hit the sporting goods store or the closest fitness equipment center and stock up on some new tools! Before you spend half your paycheck on things you might not even need or use, be sure to do your homework and see what you can get either gently used or borrowed first, especially weights. Most companies charge you for weights by the POUND = Not Cheap.
Take an inventory of what you have versus what you NEED. Just like with any purchase, read reviews and do the research. The worst thing is to be stuck with something that just gathers dust in the basement instead of getting used. My favorite must-haves include: foam roller, 15-25lb kettlebell, stability ball, and a heavy anti-bounce ball.
Got more money to spare? Add a sandbag, a pull up bar, and a set of 5-15lb dumbbell set. The next time you find yourself dreading your next workout, remember a few things. Remember why you started, remember your goals, but also remember to have fun!