Who says workouts have to make you miserable? Gutting your way through an unpleasant workout might be worth it if you’re training for a specific goal, but there’s no reason to suffer for everyday fitness. If you’re not feeling the workout love, try these six tricks to put the fun back into fitness.
Misery might love company, but company is fun when you’re getting fit. Having at least one good friend in the gym with you can really boost your mood, even if you’re not both doing the same workout. Take things up a notch by finding a friend or group of friends with a similar fitness goal so you can egg each other on. Your collective goal could be anything from hitting the gym at least three times a week to training for a marathon to upping your climbing skills.
Even if you don’t physically train together all the time, checking in with each other and chatting about how things are going can add a dimension of excitement to every workout.
Try Group Fitness
There’s a reason group fitness classes are so popular: The mere act of walking into class gets you a whole room of new workout buddies for the next hour. There’s also a type of class for everyone, from hot hula to Zumba to martial arts to high-intensity intervals, set to pumping music and taught by someone with a big smile on his or her face.
Listen to Your Favourite Music
According to a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, listening to your favourite upbeat music while you work out doesn’t just make you happy – it also makes it easier for you to work out harder. The gym is usually a safe place to plug into your favourite tunes, but be careful about cranking the music up too high if you’re exercising outside. Keep the volume low or leave one ear bud out so that you are aware of vehicles, bicyclists and any other obstacles in your way.
Losing enthusiasm for your workouts can be one of many signals that you’re overtraining — pushing your body so hard that you’re wearing it down instead of building it up. Don’t be afraid to leave a little something in the tank every once in a while; a moderate workout that leaves you happy is much better than a gruelling workout that drives you off your fitness plan.
Try Something New
There’s no shame in ditching one workout regimen for another. In fact, cross-training is a great way to avoid injury and ensure balanced muscle development. If you’re not feeling your runs anymore, try cycling; if you’re just not thrilled with free weights anymore, hit the weight machines for a spell or try converting your favourite dumbbell workouts into body weight exercises. Sometimes just mixing one or two different workouts into your weekly routine is enough to restore the gusto you’ve been missing.
Make It Social
Dance classes, social hiking clubs or classes offered by your local department of Parks & Recreation are all great ways to stay active, even if fitness isn’t their primary goal. Sometimes it’s nice to set aside stress about how many calories you’re burning or how high your heart rate is and just enjoy what your body can do for you now. Face it: You’re already amazing!
What’s your favorite way to make exercise fun?