How to Workout When You Hate Exercise


Ugh!  I have to workout again.  Maybe I will skip it today.

Keeping a regular exercise routine is exceedingly difficult when you do not want to workout and are always finding excuses to skip your next session.  The truth is many people fail at maintaining a regular exercise routine because they are forcing themselves to do things that they do not love.

In order to regularly want to do something, no matter what it is, you must love what you are doing.  Exercise is not any different.

Many people dread exercise simply because they do not love it.

I’m not saying you will always want to exercise if you find an activity that you enjoy, but the chances are you will be more willing to get started on and finish the exercise session if you do.

Not only do you want to enjoy your exercise, but you want to feel comfortable doing it.  If you are forcing yourself too far out of your comfort zone, it is going to be extremely difficult to keep up the routine.

How do you find the exercises that you enjoy, and you are comfortable doing?

There is not an easy, fix everything overnight solution to this.

It is going to take time and effort, because the most effective way to find an exercise you enjoy enough to do every day is going to use the trial and error method.  You will need to put forth the effort, but you can do it.

The first thing you need to do is make a list.  Yes, I love my lists.  Lists help you find out many things about yourself that you never knew before.

Make a list of all the activities that you enjoy.  All the activities that take physical exertion.  It can be running, walking, baseball, football, skating, tennis, biking, mountain climbing, etc.

Now add to that list all the activities you would like to try.  Write everything you think of on the list, do not let it go just because you think it is something, you will never be able to do.  If you would like to try it, it goes on your list.

Next, you need to look at that list and decide which one you want to try first.  Put it in your schedule.  Whatever it is that you want to try, you need to schedule it and do it.  If it does not go into your schedule, chances are you will not do it.

When I say try, I mean give it a good chance.  Schedule it for at least 7 exercise sessions.  I am not going to say 7 days because some exercises you do not want to do back to back, but instead schedule it for 7 days over the next several weeks.

If it is way too dangerous, or you are absolutely unable to complete the exercise you may want to rethink doing it again.  However, most things you will be able to continue doing.

Each time you complete the activity think about how it made you feel. 

     Do you think it is something that you may like to do again? 

     Are you able to physically participate in the activity?

After the seventh attempt, you should have a good idea about whether it is an activity that you can continue on a regular schedule.

It does not have to be something you can do every day, or even want to do every day, but it needs to be something you can do on a regular schedule.  You may end up with 2-3 things that interest you.

These are the activities that are going to keep you interested in completing your workout.

What do you do after you have found your perfect workout?

Finding your perfect workout is only the first part in making exercise more enjoyable and comfortable.

Here are other things you can do to make your workout more enjoyable:

  • Find an exercise partner.  This can be a friend, coworker, or someone else at the gym with similar goals.  Working out with a partner will keep you accountable. It will also provide you with the support and motivation you need to get out there and complete your workout.  After all, you would not want to let someone down.  When you make a promise to them that you will be there with them, you are more likely to show up.  Plus, you will have someone to talk to and share stories with before, during, and after your workout.
  • Change the environment where you are exercising.  Most exercises can be done indoors or outdoors; they can also be done almost anywhere.  If you are doing strength exercises in your living room, do them out on your porch.  If you are running on a treadmill, go to a track.  You may find that one location is more enjoyable than the other.
  • Make it go somewhere.  Just as changing your environment can help, so can changing how you do the activity.  If you are walking on a treadmill or a cycling on a stationary bike, take them to a trail outside.  Walking and cycling on a trail will give you a different and new experience than in the gym and not going anywhere.

Here are a few things you can do to feel more comfortable during your workout:

  • Buy yourself a new piece of exercise gear – a shirt, shoes, etc.  Make sure they are comfortable.  When your shirt is too tight, too big, too scratchy, or anything else, it can be uncomfortable to exercise and you will not want to do it anymore.  Same with shoes, when they are worn and hurt your feet or back you will not want to exercise anymore.
  • Find exercise equipment that feels good to you.  Buy weights that are the right size for you, do not try to lift 10-pound weights if that is not right for you, yet.  Use exercise bands that are comfortable in your hands (personally, there are some that hurt my hands more than others).  Do not buy that at home gym just because everyone else says you should.
  • Exercise in a location that is comfortable to you.  Some locations, such as gyms, may make you feel like everyone is staring at you or that you are failing because everyone is doing better.  Either exercise somewhere else, or at another time when there are few people so that you will be willing to continue with your exercise routine.  Working out at home, at the gym, at the park, in your yard, at the local hiking trail are all options available to you.  There are others as well, but you need to find the one that makes you the most comfortable.

Being able to enjoy your exercise is key to being more consistent in your routine so that you can live a healthier life.  Do not assume because your friends have never heard of it that it is not right for you.  Do not assume that because it makes you a little scared that it is not right for you.  Do not assume that because an exercise looks too easy that it is not right for you either.

You will find the right exercise, the one that is perfect for you.  You may have to try out several before you find the ones that you like best, but that is okay.  You will still be getting healthier as you find the one that makes you say, “I can’t wait to workout.”

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