Do you dread your workouts?
Are you one of those people who “hate” exercising?
Well, I’m here to tell you that I was once like you. In fact, in high school, I used to ask mum to write notes to get out of PE every week.
When I got a bit older I realised: it wasn’t that I didn’t like exercise, it’s just I didn’t like the kinds of exercise in a school PE program .
Years later, I can hand on my heart say I love working out. It has so many benefits for your body, mind and spirit – human beings were meant to move!
And if you struggle to work out because you don’t enjoy it – don’t worry! There is a way (several, in fact) to make exercise so enjoyable you’ll actually look forward to it every day.
Believe me, if I can, so can you!
Exercise even when you don’t feel like it
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but when you don’t feel like exercise, you should do it anyway. (Unless you need a rest day, or are sick/exhausted.)
Nobody, not even elite athletes, necessarily feels like moving every day, but elite athletes do it anyway.
Why? Well, number one, their results depend on it.
Number two, they know how good they feel afterwards. After a few post-workout endorphin rushes, you’ll be hooked – the key is to get enough of them consistently that you start looking forward to them.
Over the long run, you’ll reap the benefits of delayed gratification, rather than instant satisfaction from skipping a workout (shortly followed by feeling disappointed you missed it).
By the way – if you need some extra help getting over the motivation “hurdle”, yesterday’s blog post talked about precisely this. We go over the top ways to motivate yourself to work out when you don’t feel like it, so make sure to check that one out after this one.
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Schedule it at the same time each day
Your body loves routine. When you schedule a workout the same time every day, you’ll start looking forward to it.
As it becomes ingrained in your daily routine, if you do miss your workout for any reason, it honestly feels like something’s missing.
I personally just prefer to schedule my workouts first thing in the morning, so I can get in, get it done, and enjoy the benefits of a more focused mind and energised body all day long.
That said, everybody’s different! Some people prefer afternoon workouts, and some find evenings best for them.
Carve out a regular time every day that you can commit to working out, put it in your diary, and make it happen.
You’ll be looking forward to workout o’clock in no time!
Create a feel good workout ritual pre- and post-workout
This basically works through the science of neural pathways. Your brain connects any strong emotion you feel to what’s going on without it.
The more you reinforce this connection, the stronger that neural pathway becomes.
In other words, the more you associate working out with other positive things, the more your brain equivocates “exercise” with “reward” or “happy”.
Have a little mini ritual or routine that feels amazing before you start working out. You might:
Listen to your favourite music
Put on some hot activewear that makes you feel like an athlete
Go for a warm up walk in the sunshine
It doesn’t matter! The point is to have a little “prep” ritual that gets you in the zone to work out.
You can also do the same thing afterwards: have a reward waiting for you at the end of your workout, a reward EXCLUSIVELY reserved for this particular activity.
(Pro tip: maybe choose something non-deep-fried-and-covered-in-chocolate.)
Some examples could be:
A delicious protein-rich green smoothie
A super relaxing yoga cool down to chill Brazilian lounge music
A soothing warm bubble bath with candles
Chilling on the couch with a cup of herbal tea and a new Netflix series
Putting $3 in your savings jar
Get a workout partner or work out with a group
Winnie the Pooh once said “It’s ever so much friendlier with two.”
Or three. Or four.
Working out is SO much more fun when you go with a friend, even more so when you are working out in a group.
It’s less like working out and more like hanging out with BFFs on a similar journey to you.
Join a fitness class in your local area, and invite your friends along, or be open to the idea of making new ones.
You’ll be amazed at how much more motivating and fun it is to work out when you get the bonus of catching up with likeminded people.
Work out at the RIGHT intensity for your current fitness level
Don’t make your workouts so easy that they feel like a waste of time and you see no results.
But also? Don’t make them so hard that you’re dry heaving into your water bottle.
Neither of these types of workouts exactly spell fun.
Choose a workout intensity that is challenging – you should definitely be working hard for the last few minutes, or struggling with those last few reps – but it should never feel so easy that it’s not doing anything, or so hard that you run a risk of injuring yourself or being sick.
When you’re working out at the right intensity, you’re seeing results, you’re pushing the envelope with each workout, but you’re not working out so hard that you dread how sick and sore you’ll feel afterwards.
Set a goal with a deadline
I don’t know about you, but fitness, to me, like most things, is all about the chase.
I love to have something tangible that I’m working towards, because every workout feels like a competition with myself, and a step closer to achieving that goal.
For example you could set a goal to:
Run a half marathon
Get your first pull up
Do 10 push ups on your toes
Master an advanced yoga pose
Sprint a certain distance within a time limit
Squat your own bodyweight
... But: here’s the clincher – it has to be timed. Set a deadline for achieving that goal.
Now every workout becomes a game to get one step closer (or three) to reaching your end goal by your deadline.
(It’s helpful to set these goals with a qualified personal trainer so you can make sure your goals are realistic and you won’t injure yourself in the pursuit of them.)
Switch it up
So listen, here’s the thing: you don’t want to be switching a plan up TOO often or you’re unlikely to see results.
You DO need to have a level of consistency with a particular plan for it to be effective.
HOWEVER this doesn’t mean you have to stick with it FOREVER.
If your current workout routine is getting boring – chances are your body’s getting bored too.
I recommend sticking with a plan or program for a minimum of four weeks, optimally 12 weeks.
But after those 12 weeks? It’s helpful to switch it up a bit.
Try cross training, adding in some yoga sessions, or switching out a workout or two for a fun new group class.
Challenging your body every once in a while keeps everything interesting - your muscles guessing, your body working, and your mind engaged.
If you’ve been doing the same workout day in, day out for the past 12 weeks and it’s getting a little stale, it’s time to think outside the box and try something new.
Listen to music you love
We talked about this yesterday. I just feel like every workout is better with a killer playlist.
Create a high energy playlist of your favourite music to listen to while you workout. It’ll feel less like exercise and more like a private dance party in your music bubble. Trust me.
Chart your progress
It can be a little tricky to notice how far you’ve come since you started – but I promise, you HAVE.
Seeing how far you’ve come is the BEST motivation to keep going.
You don’t have to track your weight, either. In fact, I don’t recommend it.
Instead, you can measure things like how heavy you’re lifting, how far you’re running without stopping, or how your clothes fit.
We talk way more about it HERE.
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Create an active lifestyle full of outdoor activities you love
The easiest way to fall in love with working out is to get active in ways that don’t feel like working out at all.
It’s physics: objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.
When you live an active lifestyle, exercise feels like a natural, joyful extension of that lifestyle.
Look for ways to be active throughout your day, not just a way to be active for an hour a day. We explored how to do this in more depth HERE.
Do a type of workout that you actually enjoy
It seems obvious but it needs to be said: the best way to enjoy working out is to choose a workout that you enjoy.
Don’t try to force a square peg in a round hole, just because you hear it’s great for fat burning or great for your core.
The workout that you’ll stick to is the workout you enjoy – so find a way to move that is so fun that doing it daily is a pleasure.
A good workout program comprises the following elements:
Flexibility and balance
However, there are MYRIAD types of exercise that work each of those areas. Don’t feel pigeonholed into just one thing.
You may have to kiss a few frogs before you find the workout that works for you but keep going until you find your prince charming. Find a way to exercise you enjoy and you’ll never have to “work out” a day in your life.
I can hand on my heart, honestly say, that working out has become a highlight and a joy in my day. I look forward to every session.
Years ago, it wasn’t always that way. I used to dread working out, or see it as something I had to do to get results.
However, when you can learn to fall in love with exercise, the whole game changes. Thanks to these tips above, I love exercising more and more every day – and you can too.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments: what’s a type of workout that you always look forward to?
Okay, onto the Captain’s Log for yesterday!
If you’ve just joined us, I’m on a 90 day fitness journey and I’m logging every day of progress, including my meals and workouts, as I journey back to my health.
I’m a certified personal trainer who struggled with yo yo diets and extreme workouts until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore and gave up on my weight altogether ... that is, until a recent health scare that landed me in the hospital (you can read more about my story here).
Now I’m on a mission to finally take charge of my health and fitness, lose weight in a healthy, self loving way and get into the best shape of my life. If you’re on a similar journey, I’d love to stay in touch.
Keep reading to read yesterday’s log, scroll to the bottom to read the previous days, and if you’d like to stay updated on the journey and receive the FREE guide that’s helped me get amazing results so far, click the pic below to be taken to the download page.
Without further ado, here’s yesterday’s log.
Yesterday I just stuck with a humble two Weet Bix with a tiny drizzle of honey. Basic, but it got the job done.
I struggle to motivate to cook something more substantial for breakfast through the week but I don’t feel like it matters. I’m filling up with high fibre wholegrains and protein so I have the energy to get through the day.
Lunch today was my usual turkey and salad sandwich with avocado on multigrain bread. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling my sandwich today – I felt sick in the belly for some reason??
It went away as quickly as it appeared but I’ll tell you, it really put me off my lunch. I threw the last quarter away.
A story goes along with tonight’s dinner.
Many, many moons ago when I was a single lady, I used to have a Thursday night ritual of ordering teriyaki chicken with extra teriyaki sauce from my local Japanese restaurant with a miso soup, tuna salad roll, and vegetable gyoza.
I’d take the night off from study and sit in my little granny flat eating my Japanese feast and watching chick flicks.
It was such a ritual that the owner of the restaurant would expect me. I walked in one Thursday night and he said, “Yes, yes, I know, I’m already cooking, teriyaki chicken with extra teriyaki sauce. Soo much teriyaki sauce.”
Ahh single girl life. When you order takeaway Japanese food so often they know to expect you.
Anyway, this Thursday night was a mini homage to those days – I ordered in a teriyaki chicken bowl from Sushi Train.
Full confession: I was going to go with the karaage chicken rice bowl, but I’m feeling good about my progress this week and didn’t really fancy loading my body with something deep fried and battered.
The teriyaki chicken was just as satisfying (and you better believe I got extra teriyaki sauce to go with it).
With a rose cider on the side, it was the perfect accompaniment to a night in watching Bridgerton. (OMG, is anyone else watching it? Can we please talk about it spoiler free in the comments, because I’m obsessed.)
For dessert tonight I had another Jalna yoghurt. This one was vanilla flavour and wasn’t as great as last night's passionfruit one. It was a little lumpy, but still delicious and filling.
For my workout yesterday, I took it back to basics with Jane Fonda’s New Workout. It’s like required reading for 80s aerobics workouts.
After just 30 minutes my heart was pounding and my whole body was burning, so I definitely felt like I got in a good workout!
Okay, my loves, time to huddle in for today’s motivation message.
There is SO much information about health and fitness out there.
Like, just SO much.
And it feels like no one can agree.
Everyone is telling you to do something different.
It can feel overwhelming.
So know this: it’s great to get information and educate yourself about the science behind health and fitness.
But from there, it’s important you do one thing: listen to your own inner truth.
Ultimately, the nutrition plan and the workout plan that works for you will be the one that feels sustainable.
The one that feels aligned with the person you are and the person you’re becoming.
So tune out from the noise and do what feels right to you.
Do workouts you enjoy. Eat as healthily and sensibly as you can within the limits of your lifestyle.
YOU are the only expert on you there is.
So listen to her.
Trust that deep down you know just what is right for you.
Because you do.
Until tomorrow, keep shining bright.
- Xo Rhi
Save Some for 'Ron
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