Can you teach your body to love working out?

 

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!

 

Here’s how.

 

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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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Read This Next:

Why You Just Really Need That Rest Day

How to Get Motivated to Work Out (When You Really Don’t Feel Like It)

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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”.

 

It’s a Pavlov’s dog kind of thing.

 

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 and highly desirable 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 progressed.

 

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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Read This Next:

How to Measure Your Fitness Progress Without Weighing Yourself

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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.

 

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Related Posts:

On Finding the Joy in Movement

Free and Easy Ways to Work Out Without Working Out

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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:

 

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.

 

Conclusion

 

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?

love working out

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