Workout Tips if Exercising Isn’t Your Thing

I hate working out with a burning passion, so I totally understand you when you say you made it your New Year’s goal to start exercising more and yet you haven’t made it to the gym once since the start of January. 

But exercise is important to your health and wellbeing, especially in the primarily sedentary lives we, as Americans. Even if you think you would rather have your foot rolled over by a car, it’s a necessity. Here are my tips for how to motivate yourself to hit the gym from one exercise hater to another. Hopefully they’ll help you see exercise doesn’t have to be the dreadful thing we’ve created in our minds.

1. Stop coming up with bogus excuses

I'm guilty of this one. I tell myself I don’t have time to work out throughout the week, but then I spend several hours sitting on the couch watching TV and scrolling through social media. Guess what: if you have time to do these activities, you have time to fit in a workout! If you can’t bear to miss your favorite show, stream it as you run on the elliptical, scroll through your Instagram while riding the bike or blast some music and actually concentrate on the workout itself.

If getting up, dressed and out the door to your gym is your problem, there are so many workouts that you can do in your living room while watching Netflix or waiting for your load of laundry. It’s as simple as just getting up and moving.

2. Be consistent

Add your workouts to your calendar. I’m not saying you have to go to the gym every day at 7 a.m. because I think that’s a recipe for getting burned out. But if you sign up for a class you like that’s held every Wednesday at 4 p.m. you’ll hold yourself accountable to making that class, especially if your gym is one of those that charges you when you miss a class. That’s a sure-fire way of motivating yourself! Just like any other routine, you’ll start to just automatically do it without thinking twice about it and even find yourself looking forward to it. Maybe…

3. Set realistic goals

So often when we decide we want to lose weight, go to the gym more or just generally be healthier. We jump in with both feet first, setting goals like I want to lose 100 pounds by the summer or I want to go to the gym at least twice a day. While I applaud you, sometimes those are just not realistic goals and you’re going to get burned out pretty quickly. You can’t go from not working out to going hard every day and expect a good outcome. Be realistic and know yourself. Know that if you never went to the gym before, it would probably be best to start with a free month trial rather than to get the most expensive membership with the highest amount of amenities. Rather than making it your goal to go every single day, start out with once a week then increase it gradually from there.

And be kind to yourself. Realize that every now and then you may just not feel up to going to the gym, and that’s okay! Rather than beating yourself up about it, decided that the next day, you’re going to increase your weights or workout for a little more time than usual to make up for missing.

4. Do it for yourself

We probably should have started with this one, but I’m throwing it in here. If you’re doing this for anyone else but yourself, then it’s just not going to work. People would always rag on me for not working out and so I’d do it to prove to them that I can, I just choose not to. But that’s not how this works. You have to be able to motivate yourself and not let anyone else’s opinion of you, your weight or your workout frequency to have any effect on you. I just want to throw in here that a big part of why I don’t work out very often is because I’m pretty happy with my body the way it is. But even if that’s you too and you’re not specifically trying to lose weight, it’s important for your health to get your heart rate up every few days.

5. Switch up your workouts

There’s no reason that you need to go ham every time you step into the gym. Sure, high intensity training is great and beneficial to your body, but if you continue to do that too long or too often, you’ll tire of it and lose your motivation to even go to the gym. Instead do one or two days of exhausting workouts and the next day, take a yoga class to increase your flexibility while still getting in a workout. Then the next day take a spin class and offset that by doing Pilates the day after that. Don’t forget to rest every few days to avoid burning out and dropping the gym cold turkey. Even God had to rest at the end of all his work!

6. Don’t set a time

I can drive myself crazy by watching the clock when I’m working out. It seems like I’ve put in so much work, I check the stopwatch and only four minutes have gone by. Don’t put yourself in that frustrating situation and instead try to just ignore the clock. Go until you’ve pushed as hard as you can, give yourself a rest and then move onto the next thing. I always tell myself that I’ll go on the treadmill for 30 minutes then bike for 15 then do free weights when I know that I can do so much better and go so much longer than that. Don’t restrain yourself, but also don’t strain yourself. Find a good balance!

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