If you’ve been sticking to a certain exercise regimen for some time, you’ll know that it’s far from easy. For many people, no matter how badly they want to hit those overarching health and fitness goals, a session at the gym or a run around the block can feel like it takes forever. Though there’s nothing that can make someone passionate about exercise overnight, there are a number of things you can try to make exercise in general much more enjoyable. Here’s a list of some of the most effective tactics to make your exercises more fun. Find the one that works for you, and soon enough your workouts will start to fly by!
Get a Buddy
Life is brimming with great solo activities, but exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be one of them. Getting an exercise buddy to work out with regularly is not only a great way to spend more quality time with your friends. It has another cool benefit that can actually help motivate you towards your long-term goals: accountability. Letting ourselves down feels pretty terrible, but you’ll agree that the feeling of letting down a close friend can be so much worse. If you don’t have an active friend who you can rely on, then try checking out some local running clubs, or networking with some people on a local Facebook group for fitness enthusiasts. This brings us onto the next tip…
Find a Class
There’s really never been a better time to get dedicated to your healthy living goals. More and more people have started to take an active role in their health and fitness in recent years, and this has led to an explosion in clubs, classes and groups all over the world. These days, there’s really something for everyone, from gentle jogging routes to martial arts to dance classes to pop-up boot camps at the local park. As with having a single buddy, exercising with others will help you forge friendships and give you something to look forward to. You’ll also feel more accountable to the people you see regularly, and more motivated to hit your personal goals. With all of these combined, even the hardest of workouts will feel like they go by in a flash!
Try Something Different
Even if you’ve got no issue with getting to the gym at a certain time and not making excuses, arriving to your workouts may still feel like you’re dragging yourself into a job that you hate! Though you may feel great by the end of it, you’ll get much more from a workout that you’re genuinely happy to get stuck into. For most people, the issue is the repetition and sheer monotony of their exercises. If you have ambitious goals for gaining muscle, and you’re not ready to let them slide, then you may be a little stuck. However, most people can certainly afford to substitute one part of their fitness regimen for something different, that will break up the same old rhythm. If you’ve got a friend who’s crazy about squash, and ask to tag along on their next session so they can show you the ropes. If you have a pretty varied exercise regimen already, and you’re still finding it pretty boring, then try something more “outside the box”. Go to an introductory fencing class, or take a spin on a three wheel bike. No one can stick to the same old routine for too long, and keep coming back to it with the same passion and determination. Make a point to change things up once in a while!
Have a Plan
Unfortunately, there’s no established time frame that we should follow for a good exercise session. Obviously, someone who’s taking it as easy as possible is going to gain more from a long session than from a short one. However, the benefits you’ll get from your exercise regimen is more to do with the quality of your exercise, rather than the quantity. Like many people, you might go to the gym with no real plan in mind, and keep your eye on the clock through your whole session, waiting for the time when you can finally leave and do something you really want to do. This can cause time to feel like it’s going at a snail’s pace, and in turn, wean you gradually onto less intense workouts. Instead of setting yourself a time frame in which you’re going to stay at the gym, plan out a routine before going to the gym, then get in there and get it done! This way, you’ll naturally focus on completing your exercises, rather than dragging yourself to a certain time.
Create a Playlist
Save silence for meditation. Workouts are meant to be energetic, so try combining it with some music that gets you in the mood! Create your ideal workout playlist, and then blare those tunes through headphones during your next workout. This will be one more way to bolster your motivation, gaining you better results, and enabling you to have more fun while you’re at it. As long as it’s not bothering the people around you at the gym, giving your workout regimen a soundtrack is always a good idea. Not everyone likes traditional Mongolian folk ballads as much as you!
Cut it Down, But Start Pushing Yourself
What’s the most effective way to make a session of exercise feel like it’s going by faster? Make it shorter, of course! Exercises that are intense, yet short, can be extremely efficient for building both strength and endurance. As we mentioned before, you should still come in with a certain number of reps or miles to cover. However, you should still adjust this to your shortened time frame, and avoid stretching yourself too far. When you swap out your low-intensity one hour session for two high-intensity, half-hour sessions, you’ll find your exercise much more enjoyable, and easier to fit into a busy schedule.
Mitigate the Dread
Many people will tell you that it’s always better to start a session off with your most dreaded exercise, getting it out of the way so that the rest of your session feels nice and downhill. This rule can work well for some people, but it’s certainly not something that you should follow if it clashes with your attitude to exercise. By the same token, putting off the exercise you really hate until the end of your session isn’t exactly great motivation to keep going, and make it to the end. For most people, it’s generally best to keep the tough exercises in the middle of your overall session, and cushion it with more enjoyable ones. This will make your entire workout feel much more pleasant and manageable.
Keep Tabs On your Progress
There are few things that can make exercise more enjoyable than seeing tangible results, and knowing that all that hard work you put in was ultimately worth it. Seeing those exciting results can do wonders for your self-discipline, so start tracking your progress as you carry on with your exercise regimen. Measuring your exercise progress, and recording it in a journal or (whatever format you like) as you go along, will render all your gains much more tangible, and will provide a tool that you can glance at from time to time in order to stay motivated. Your typical exercise organizer will include a checklist of exercises in a given routine. This will make all those sessions far less daunting, compared to tackling them with no real end in sight.
Get a Personal Trainer
Okay, this can go one of two ways. However, personal trainers have been the deciding factor for a lot of people who went a long time following an exercise regimen, without really enjoying it. Yes, getting a personal trainer is much more pricey than hitting the gym independently. However, for many people, it offers a powerful dose of motivation and intensity, ultimately making for all-round more effective workouts than you’d get by yourself. Again, this adds accountability to the whole situation, and your trainer will be the one keeping an eye on the clock, rather than you.
Give Yourself a Reward
Buying yourself some new clothes that you’ve wanted all year, going home and pulling out a nice cold beer, or simply planning a day where you won’t do much of anything, can all be exceedingly satisfying rewards that you can look forward to during the week. When you’re in the peak of an extremely intense workout, looking forward to some indulgent reward, and imagining how great it will feel to get it, can be a very powerful motivator. You’ll not only feel more satisfied with yourself when you hit your targets, but the motivation will keep your workouts intense and efficient. The key here is choosing a reward that’s really desirable to you, and a little frivolous; something that truly feels like a treat. This may mean depriving yourself of something unhealthy for a while, which is never a bad thing!